When planning any kind of trip abroad, there are a lot of different things to think about. From the transport to the accommodation, plus all the different activities you want to enjoy while you’re away, a lot of planning needs to go into any trip to make it as enjoyable and stress-free as possible.

Money is, of course, another major concern. Countries have their own currencies and attitudes to money, and it’s always wise to have some cash on your person when traveling abroad. Here are some top tips for exchanging currency abroad.

Be Aware Of Exchange Rates

Exchange rates are always changing, going up and down in relation to various factors, and it’s vital to know the latest rates before you travel so you don’t over pay on a higher rate when getting cash converted or buying items.

Even if you travel to the same country quite often, the rate can change a lot from one month to the next, so be sure to search online for the latest rates. Currencies usually have three-letter codes, so it’s easy to search for something like AUD to USD to get the latest rates.

Avoid Airport Exchanges

Many people choose to exchange currency at the ‘Bureau de Change’ or currency conversion locations in airports or ports, but these locations often charge the highest rates. They may be convenient, but they’re not very economical, so use ATMs or banks if possible.

Know The Value Of Your Currency

Traveling in a different country can already be quite a big culture shock as you see such different sights all around you, and getting used to a foreign currency system can be tricky too, especially if the system is very different to what you’re used to at home.

As you shop around or get bills for hotels and restaurants, don’t panic if the numbers seem very large compared to what you’re used to. Keep a calculator app on your phone and use the exchange rate to work out the value of items in your own currency to keep things in perspective.

ATMs Are Often The Best Option

Many people get lured in by currency exchange offices and banks, but you might be surprised to learn that traditional ATMs often provide the very best exchange rates. You can usually use your own regular debit or credit card at foreign ATMs for cash withdrawals.

Be aware, however, that your bank might charge you every single time you withdraw cash from an international ATM. This is why the best option is often to make a small amount of large withdrawals, rather than a large amount of small withdrawals, minimizing your fees.

Let Your Bank Know

Don’t forget to tell your bank that you plan on traveling and be sure to let them know which countries you’ll be visiting. This way, if they start noticing that your cards are being used abroad, they won’t be alarmed and start blocking your account due to fear of fraud.


Money is a big thing to think about when heading off on any kind of trip or travel experience, and nobody wants to overpay on exchange rates for the things they want. Follow these tips to get the best currency exchange rates and the most value.