Where is the best place to buy foreign currency?
When you are planning a trip to another country, the last thing to do is to get some local currency before you go. This is something that a lot of us forget about until we are at the airport. The usual packing list for travel will just include the physical items you need to bring and foreign currency is always an afterthought.
You probably think that having a wallet full of US Dollars and some credit cards will be all you need in the new country. This is not always the case.
Not all countries are that sophisticated to be able to accept US dollars or take credit cards for payment for services like a taxi. To be safe, you really should carry at least a small sum in the local currency to pay for incidentals like taxi fares and tips. Ideally, the best place to buy foreign currency is online from a trusted provider like Xchange of America.
Options for buying foreign currency
Your local bank usually has a foreign exchange but you need to find out what fees they charge as this differs from bank to bank. Some of them even have a commission free return for any foreign currency you bring back unspent. If you left it to the last minute to buy foreign currency and the banks are closed, you don’t really have many choices.
Your best bet is at the airport. Unfortunately, airport currency exchanges are not the best places to buy foreign currency. You probably don’t have a lot of choices and will have to use their service but the rates are not great and they sometimes charge very high commission rates too. You will get a lot less for your dollar if you change your money there.
If you were already on the plane when you remembered that you needed to buy some foreign currency, there is also the option at the destination airport. If you fly into one of the larger international airports, there will probably be a currency exchange there. Again, the rates are probably not that great either. Most smaller airports don’t have this facility.
Another alternative is to use a local ATM to take cash out in the local currency when you arrive. The downside to this is that you have no idea what rates you will get in US Dollar terms. Most cards also charge a fee per transaction when you use an ATM machine overseas.
In some third world countries, the chances of getting your card cloned at an ATM is quite high. For your security, check the ATM machine carefully before using your card and getting a nasty expensive shock.
Where to buy currency at the best rates
A bit of early planning before you travel will certainly save you some money. You can choose to use a service that doesn’t charge you high transaction fees and gives you a good exchange rate.
You will get more foreign currency for your dollars by using a currency service like the one at Xchange of America. If you are too busy to get to a store or a bank to buy your currency, they offer a great service where they will deliver your currency to your door. They don’t charge hefty fees and you can get your cash quite quickly and still get a better deal than buying your foreign currency at the airport.