Currency Exchange and a Holiday Budget

When is the best time to exchange money, currency exchange, for an international holiday?

The first thing that comes to mind when a vacation is mentioned is the cost, especially if a vacation is planned in another country.

Most people plan a vacation months ahead of time, but wait until they arrive at their destination to exchange money. The decision can be a costly one especially if the market has moved 2000 points since you planned the trip. If you have $1000 to exchange, a sudden currency shift can cost you an extra $200 and that may be only the beginning of the budget disaster. Airport currency merchants charge a hidden fee for exchanging money and that also takes a bite out of your budget.

If you’re planning a trip to the Philippines or Asia and wait until you arrive to exchange money, you may find the country’s currency went through an overnight surge or shock and the new value destroys your vacation dollars.

The fastest way to cut a vacation short is to run out of money, so it’s important to exchange small amounts of money when you’re planning the trip.

What is the Best Currency Exchange Method?

Most people assume that a bank will give them the best rate of exchange and some do, but most banks add a fee to the exchange rate and they may only post one rate a day, which means you may not be getting an accurate rate.

Credit cards are notorious for using their own rate and then adding a profit for good measure. They also add a surcharge on travel purchases, so you never know how much the trip costs until you get the statement.

When you average your trades while planning the holiday you reduce your exposure. If you use a reliable currency broker and exchange small amounts at different times you know exactly what each transaction costs and you can develop a budget using real costs instead of estimates.

Averaging your currency exchange is important on longer trips when there is more money involved, because it takes the guess work out of your travel budget.

You may want to exchange a small amount of money while you’re on the trip if the rates are favorable, but you have the option not to exchange money if rate works against you, thanks to your averaging exchange system.

Currency Exchange & Other Travel Ideas

Some countries limit the amount of money you can carry, so it’s important to do some research and know the limit. An official doing a random customs search could confiscate your cash if you’re over the limit.

Always carry cash in a hidden pocket or money belt that’s secure and out of sight. Wallets and purses should only contain a small amount of cash for basic items. Hotel safes and other security measures help take the stress out of traveling and common sense is the best security tool when you use it.

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