Blog Archive

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Currency Tips Whilst Traveling Abroad

Photo courtesy Telegraph

It's smart to be prepared with currency before jetting off to another country. You don't want any unwelcome surprises, and it's worthwhile to do some research to get acclimated with international purchases.

My travels include multiple countries in Europe and Mexico City, which means I'm most familiar with euros and pesos. I always pay a visit to my local bank before departing to get a small amount of currency (a mix of notes and coins) for public transportation, toilets, and food items for the first day. If for no other reason, always carry coins for public toilets.

Photo courtesy Travlang

I discovered in Mexico City that not everyone accepts credit cards. I always assume that major "attractions" are an exception and I assumed wrong. Chapultepec Castle was cash only, and fortunately, I was able to scrape up enough pesos to get in.

A couple of times, while traveling in Europe, I learned the hard way that it's key to have exact currency available for buses and trains.

I prefer not to waste my hard earned cash on international fees; therefore, I secured a British Airways credit card, because they don't believe in that type of waste either. Check with your credit card company to see what their policies are involving international travel, including the use of foreign ATM machines.

I recently became aware of some exciting new concepts in the world of currency. Bitcoin wallets is a means of storing digital currency to use when you need it. What a brilliant and convenient way to make purchases abroad without worrying about exchange rates or fees

Photo courtesy The Guardian

In addition, you can also download a free currency app that will allow you access to live exchange rates, calculate prices on your smartphone, and so much more

Are you like me and dread when the flight attendant starts handing out the customs declaration cards? What did I buy, and how much did each item cost, is what I wildly try to recall before the plane touches down. Now there is an app to take care of that stressor for you

A quick recap along with some other helpful tips: 
*Research in advance to see if your destination is credit card friendly. Typically, the best place to find this information is on a local tourism site.

*Get accustomed to asking if credit cards are accepted before the purchase, especially at restaurants.

*Bring at least two credit cards and keep them in separate places in the event one is stolen or eaten in an ATM machine.

*Contact your credit card companies to alert them you are traveling abroad.

*Carry small amounts of local currency (notes and coins) for public transportation and when credit cards aren't accepted. 

*Know in advance what the metro/bus fares are and where you can purchase tickets.

*Secure a credit card that doesn't charge you fees for international purchases.

*Keep your wallet in a cross-body or messenger bag in front of you at all times. 

*Look into securing a bitcoin wallet 

*Download the free XE Currency app and the free Simply Declare app

So where is your next journey going to be?


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    1. Thank you so much for reading and for commenting; I appreciate it! Glad you found it useful Bhoomi Desai.