Your bags are packed. Your out of office reply email has been scheduled. You can almost taste the delicious food awaiting you at your upcoming overseas adventure! But as you sit dreaming of far off lands and foreign tongues, you begin to wonder…
How am I going to pay for all that?
No, I don’t mean how are you going to budget for shopping. I’m talking about the logistics of it all. That is: do you use the local currency, US dollars, or what?
You’ve got a couple of options:
1. Request currency from your bank prior to departure (Approx 2 weeks, to give them time to process your request and mail it to your nearest branch, if need be).
Pro: Cash on hand when you need it.
Con: Traveling with a wad of cash (i.e. an increased risk of getting it stolen).
2. Use ATM machines at your destination.
NOTE: This method is usually the cheapest/most efficient way.
Pro: Cash on demand
Pro: Minimal charge for withdrawing from a bank other than your own. (Definitely check to see what the charges are from your bank.)
Con: The ATM will probably be in the local language, which could be a challenge if you don’t speak or understand it.
Con: The ATM will only disperse local currency, so you’l have to convert any leftover back to USD at some point. (You can do this at home or at the airport.)
3. Use your credit card.
NOTE: THIS is usually the most expensive way, unless you have a card that does not charge a foreign exchange fee (FEF).
Pro: Cashless, so less risk of theft of your paper money.
Con: FEFs can be pricey. You will definitely want to check with your bank to see what they charge.
Con: Increased risk of CC fraud.
Con: Street vendors don’t usually accept CC.
It’s important to note that some stores and vendors will gladly accept US Dollars. Be aware though, that the exchange rate may vary from shop to shop.
Also: no matter how you manage your money, it is critical to alert your bank to your travel plans before you go. AND: it is always a good idea to bring a few $1s and $5s for tipping.
Travel well, Friends! Strive always to #elevateyourtravel!