To start off, if you are new to foreign travel, the best place to change money is at an ATM machine in the country where you are traveling. But saying that, they are not always readily available, so I pay the extra fee and use the money exchange at the airport to change $100. That is generally enough to get me where I am going to where I can readily change currency.
Check out the countries you are visiting and change some currency before your leave the U.S. When traveling through numerous countries, keeping currency separated and easily assessable can be a challenge. In Europe, it is much easier now with the Euro, however that is not used universally throughout. You’ll still need the Swiss Franc, the British Pound, and Hungary’s Forint, to name a few. In Asia, each country has its own currency.
Personally, I use small change purses or jewelry pouches and keep each currency separated. The mixture can be confusing, if it is lumped together.
I find it much more efficient and a better exchange rate to use my credit card when shopping abroad. That eliminates exchanging much more money than you need and then paying another fee to change it back on your return. Plus, there are not money exchanges before you clear customs on re-entry into the U.S. If I have Euros, pounds, Canadian dollars, or Mexican pesos, I keep them, as I know I can use them in the future. On the other currency, I will both spend it at the airport and contribute what is left into one of the charitable containers, except for a few coins—I happen to collect coins from various countries.
In general, it is easy to change money in the U.K., Western Europe, Canada, and Mexico. In Central America and South America, some airports have ATM and Currency Exchanges readily available and others not. The same is true for Asia and Africa. So that is why I encourage you to start with a little on hand.
You usually can change some money at your hotel, but not always, depending on the country. Check these things out before you go.
I’ve not started using Bitcoins yet, but as they become more popular worldwide, I’m certainly considering it. So, that means I will have to investigate and learn more about Xapo and the bit coin wallet. I’ll keep you updated on what I discover.
Member: International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA)
Member: Society of American Travel Writers (SATW)
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Luxury & Culinary Journalist, Speaker, Food Judge
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