I get questions about handling money overseas all the time. So when I saw this great article by Larissa and Michael Milne, I wanted to share with everyone.
- Bring about $500 in cash with you for emergencies or as backup for those times when you don’t have access to an ATM or local currency. Split it up between you and your travel companion
- Get about $100 of your destination’s currency before leaving the US. We usually do so at our departure airport (or from your local bank). This helps upon arrival for taxis, tips and sundries before you get a chance to obtain local currency. The exchange rate won’t be the best, but you’re only getting a small amount, and the convenience is worth it
- Avoid exchange kiosks and procure local cash (upon arrival) from an ATM, preferably at a bank. The rate is generally better, plus kiosks are typically in touristy area rife with pickpockets.
- Make sure your bank doesn’t ding you for overseas transactions. We were surprised in Montreal to discover that one of or accounts charged a $5 international fee for each withdrawal. We switched to our card from another bank which doesn’t charge a dime for the same transaction. Use your ATM card for purchases where you can. You won’t have to carry so much cash and will still get the benefit of the better exchange rate
- Contact your bank to let them know when and where you’ll be traveling. Otherwise, the bank may view overseas activity as suspicious and deny the transaction
- Don’t obsess about getting the absolute best rate when you do exchange money. In the overall cost of your trip, different exchange rates are probably not significant in terms of actual dollars. Instead, focus on enjoying your journey