Get the Best Exchange Rate When Changing Money on Your Travels – 5 Simple Tips

When you’re backpacking around the world, travelling through a lot of countries in a short period of time, it’s easy to lose track of what each currency that crosses your palm is worth. I know i’ve found myself in countries without a clue how much a can of coke or a sandwich should cost. This can lead to you spending much more of your travel budget than you realise until it’s too late.

Below are 5 simple tips to follow when you’re on the road to try and get the most for your money.

Never Change Money at Airports or Hotels

Due to the amount of footfall and convenience for travellers, airports and hotels will never offer a very good exchange rate. Try and see past the convenience element and make the extra effort to go a bit further to get a much better deal. Local banks are often a good option.

Know the Exchange Rate!

For backpackers travelling through a lot of countries it can be difficult to follow how much a particular currency is worth. From baht to yen to pesos, it can all get very confusing and often leads to travellers spending more money than they ever anticipated, simply because they got a bum deal. Make sure you look into the latest exchange rates and find the best forex trader before you arrive in a new country and then you’ll know how much to expect in return for the money you have. In the age of the internet there’s no excuse for not finding this out!

Don’t Be Afraid to Use ATMs

Many travellers are wary of using ATMs on their travels but if you find a good bank which offers reasonable withdrawal rates then it can be a great way to handle your money abroad. This can also be much safer as it means you don’t always have to travel with large sums of cash. Make sure you alert your bank before you leave though as they’ll often freeze accounts if they see unusual activity in a foreign country.

Credit Cards are an Option

This is definitely dependent on your provider and the terms you have, but it is possible to get some great deals with credit cards which are tailored to travelling abroad. If you are making larger purchases whilst you’re away (some clothes shopping in New York, buying some cheap gadgets in China etc…) then you might get better value from throwing it on the card and saving your hard cash for the bus rides and lunch stops along the way. There are often incentives from the bank as well for using your card over cash. Be careful though, there’s nothing worse than returning from your travels and finding a huge bill waiting which you weren’t expecting – read those small print T&Cs!

Plan Ahead

Try and have an idea of what you’ll be spending in the coming days and weeks so you can plan your withdrawals and exchanges around that. There’s nothing more frustrating than going to an ATM and withdrawing cash, spending it all straight away on a big activity that day and having to go back to withdraw more later the same day. If you’re going for a bungee jump, a trek or the like then plan that into your withdrawals so you only make them when necessary.

If you’ve got any more tips for getting the best deal with currency exchange then please share them in the comments!