Changing Your Money When Overseas

Changing Your Money When Overseas


Depending on where you are in the world, exchanging your cash into the local currency can either be a breeze or, develop into something more like an episode of Mr Bean.

When travelling through more developed countries, generally a trip to the local atm will furnish you with a fistful of the local currency, withdrawn directly from your bank or credit account.

Note: It’s a good idea to learn the terms ‘atm’ and ‘bank’ in the native tongue, for emergencies.

If you strike trouble when dealing with the local technology, or your card doesn’t brandish a Visa or MasterCard logo, try heading into the bank branch itself to either withdraw funds directly or exchange your cash reserves.

Traveller’s cheques have become a seldom-used form of payment these days. There are less and less merchants that accept these, so it’s a better plan to carry some cash in reserve, or even some widely accepted US dollars.

If you find yourself somewhere that is entirely devoid of a bank branch or currency exchange office, you might have to take a different approach to get your hands on some local dosh.

During my own travels throughout Latin America, currency exchange was readily available at all border crossings. This was generally provided by a hoard of sweaty, moustachioed “Caballeros” each offering better rates than the next. Some of these guys show credentials to try and win your business, whilst others seem to have just woken up from a siesta, however I never found myself on the wrong end of a dodgy exchange.

If you find yourself in this situation, try and find a quiet place away from the hordes of travellers crossing the border, somewhere you can concentrate on how much cash you’re handing over and get a rough idea of how much you expect to receive.

Note: Remember that currency exchangers need to make a small profit, so don’t expect to get the exact amount back that’s implied by the exchange rate. Sometimes these guys will charge a small fee after the exchange is completed, but more often the exchange rate will be adjusted, so as to be slightly in their favour and thus the fee is taken during the transaction.

Date posted: 27th June, 2015

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