Guide to Currency Exchange

Traveling abroad? As a traveler, your main focus is to have worry-free travel. Here are some helpful tips in regards to exchanging currency that can help make that happen.
  • Look up the exchange rate for your destination(s) well in advance of departing on your trip. The major currencies tend to stay fairly stable, but checking the rate again right before you depart is a good idea.
  • Determine what items you will need to purchase with local currency while you are on your trip, including incidental purchases upon arrival in a foreign country (i.e. taxi, train, public transportation, entrance fees, souvenirs, tips, etc.).
  • Obtain cash in the local currency prior to departure to cover these costs as sometimes overseas bank machines are not readily available.
  • If planning to use your credit card, bank card or ATMs, talk to your bank before you go. Banks and credit card companies monitor for unusual transactions and can freeze your account if they think there is fraud. Also, many foreign ATMs only accept a 4-digit PIN. You may need to set one up with your bank before you leave if you plan to use your bank card abroad.
  • Use a prepaid travel currency card. The exchange rate is fixed, and you can preload the card with a set amount of cash to help with your budget. These cards are accepted worldwide at ATMs, restaurants, and shops. They also offer financial security as they are not connected to a credit card or personal information such as a bank account. Plus, these cards can be replaced if lost or stolen with 24/7 customer service.
No matter how you plan to spend your money, be sure to bring along the contact information for your bank, prepaid card and credit card so you have quick access to all your account information. With these details in hand, you know you can have worry-free travel!


Sally Dunlap
Vice President of Risk and Compliance - Travelex Insurance Services. Sally is employed by Travelex, a leading foreign exchange, business payments and travel insurance provider conducting business across six continents. It delivers travel currency and prepaid cards to banks, travel agencies and other retailers and reaches more than three million customers annually through its 700 airport and mall locations. Sally has been in the travel industry for 28 years with the last 17 years related to travel insurance. She has traveled to over 25 countries for both business and pleasure with extensive experience in exchanging currency.