This article was created for The Travel Project by Samantha Madsen, who has studied tourism and worked in the travel industry.
Foreign currency can be confusing. Different countries have different currencies, some currencies have crazy note denominations (thanks Vietnam) and some destinations prefer cash over card.
During my travels I have faced the trials and tribulations that good old foreign currency can cause. So, my fellow globetrotters, I've listed 5 simple money tips that can make your adventure into the world of foreign currency smooth sailing!
Know the currency
Did you know that not all countries in Europe trade in euros? Or that Scottish banknotes aren’t widely accepted in England? Know what currencies you need before you go! There’s nothing worse than arriving in a foreign country and not having any local currency to get you to your accommodation or Contiki meetup point.
Don’t exchange cash at the last minute
Exchange rates can be very volatile and currency exchange businesses change their rates daily. This means that 1000 Australian dollars may get you 580 Great British Pounds one day and only 540 Great British Pounds the next!
To make the most out of your money keep an eye on rate movements. If the dollar goes up against the currency you need then it’s a good time to buy, but if it goes down hold off until the dollar improves. This is why it’s a good idea to start collecting your foreign cash far in advance of your next trip.
Don't always exchange money at home
Do your research! Is your dollar worth more if you exchange it at home or overseas? Sometimes it’s worth exchanging some of your cash overseas as you may be able to get more bang for your buck! That little bit extra could be enough for another couple of cocktails or one more souvenir.
Always Keep it safe
I know, we all want to look fashionable and fresh on holiday. But will that new designer handbag protect you from theft? Pickpockets are getting smarter. Not only can they physically steal your cash and valuables, but with scanning devices they can also take your card and passport details.
To protect yourself, consider purchasing an RFID blocking handbag, clutch or wallet. There’s actually some pretty neat looking ones on the market! You can look your best and secure your currency at the same time.
Bring Cash AND card
ALWAYS take a back up. When travelling, take at least some cash and one debit card or travel card. I recommend bringing a secondary card, I usually bring a credit card, just in case you lose your first card or the unthinkable happens… it gets stolen.
Also consider if the destination you’re going to is highly dependent on a cash trade or if your card facilities and ATMs are widely available. You want to make the most out of your holiday and you can’t do that unless you have access to funds!
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