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Currency Exchange

You can order your currency in advance and pick it up at the airport before you depart. Benefits include:

 

 

Travelling abroad? How to exchange currency!

When it comes to navigating exchange rates, it pays to know all your options. From buying money online to grabbing it on the go at the airport, here are assembled a handy guide to the most common methods for foreign exchange.

Withdraw Cash from an ATM

You can use your credit card just as you would at home; card issuers typically tack on currency-conversion fees for international transactions.

Depending on your bank, your debit card can be used in international ATMs to withdraw local currency. Most banks tack on fees that can, but a few have international branches or partners that allow you to use your debit card fee-free in most cases. Check with your specific bank about its policies, and here's a tip: If you do have to pay international transaction fees, minimize them by withdrawing larger amounts less often.

Best for: The majority of your purchases, hotel bills, restaurant tabs etc.

Exception! If you use an ATM outside your bank's global membership, you run the risk of incurring outrageous fees.

Exchange Cash at Your Bank

Most large banks sell foreign currency, and if you have a bank account, you can order cash over the phone or online; with a few days' notice, it can be delivered to your local branch for pickup or straight to your home.

One thing to keep in mind is that exchange rates for banks tend to be slightly better than exchange rates elsewhere, as banks receive wholesale rates that aren't available to the general public.

Best for: Those who want cash on hand before a trip.

Exception! If you have a premium bank account with a high balance, you'll get a better exchange rate, making this deal more attractive.

Buy Traveller’s Cheques

Travellers' cheques function just like cash, except they can be replaced if they're lost or stolen. Once you get to your destination, you still have to find a place that will exchange the checks for local currency, and you'll pay any associated fees.

Best for: Those who don't want to use credit or ATM cards or carry large amounts of cash. Also, if you're worried about theft and loss, this option comes with peace of mind — the funds can be replaced anywhere in the world and usually within 24 hours.

Exception! If you're going to China, traveller’s cheques are an excellent value. Fees are low, and the exchange rate is regulated by the Chinese government, making this one of the safest and most inexpensive ways to exchange cash for Yuan (especially in more rural locations, which is less likely to have ATMs).

Foreign Exchange Desk (Airports, City Centres, Hotels)

Most international airports have at least one foreign-exchange desk where you can change for the local currency.

You can also exchange cash for local currency at your hotel; commissions and rates there will vary widely. Some currency-exchange desks located in city centres offer better rates than the ones at airports, but proceed with caution: Even those that advertise 0 percent commissions probably have hidden fees.

Best for: At this rate? Save it for emergencies.

Exception! None — with all the other options available for exchanging currency, we say avoid this scenario.

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