Being in a foreign place can be eye-opening and invigorating, but when it comes to finding quality and luxury in travel, it all comes down to a matter of money. Wherever you are, and wherever you’re going, travel money is what gets you from point A to point B, gets you the food on your plate, the room view you want, and the experiences you can’t justify missing. Handling foreign currency can get complicated: money is not worth the same amount in every country, and because your home currency is often not accepted, currency exchange is unavoidable. With the right planning and research, Travel + Leisure can help break down the rules so you don’t get hit paying unnecessary fees.
Exchange rates differ widely across country borders and fluctuate constantly according to how well the economy is doing. The best way to check up on the most recent currency exchange rates is by visiting Oanda.com. Oftentimes, travelers use this knowledge to their advantage by vacationing where their dollar is currently worth most and avoiding those destinations where their dollar is worth the least.
The best way to exchange currency is to find out if your bank has an affiliate abroad (such as Barclays and Bank of America), which offers the best exchange rates. Hotel and airport counters, in contrast, typically offer poorer rates and high commission fees for the service, while out-of-network ATMs can charge you up to three percent for withdrawing cash. To avoid this, use a credit card that waives all transaction fees, such as Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Another tip when traveling: try and use up all the foreign bills and coins on you before leaving said country. Often, exchanging these bills back into your home currency can cost you—an extra fee you can avoid completely if you’re mindful.
For more tips and tricks on cards and currency, be sure to check back here for the most up-to-date information.