How To Get The Best Foreign Currency Exchange Rate

Money Money Money! Is something every holiday goer thinks prior, during and after their vacation. Escaping their comfort zone whether it’s planning ahead making sure you have sufficient foreign currency in cash to last you your whole trip. Or, on holiday comparing your spendings to the daily exchange rate of your home country.

Also, reflecting after a vacation discovering what money you could have saved. Likewise, what could have been done better in terms of securing the best deal.

You have to admit when vacationing you always want the best for your money right? After all, you’ve been working very hard to afford that well-earned trip of yours.

In order to secure the best deals abroad, it often starts with getting the most value for your funds. If you speak to the older generations they may have different methods and opinions on foreign currency exchange in comparison to the millennials of today. One thing that can be all agreed on throughout, is that it’s a tedious and boring process!

There is no right way for foreign currency exchange as different systems have several advantages and disadvantages of getting money. It’s up to you to carry out your research prior to find out which one suits you the best. With everything at a touch or click of a button today with the internet, it’s not hard to find that information.

Research First!

Research foreign Exchange
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Before informing you of the methods of currency exchange. One thing you must do is research your country of choice’s currency prior to your trip. Find out the exchange rate to know a rough estimate of their currency in comparison to your own. Also, it would be helpful for you to download a currency converter app on your phone to use prior and during your trip.


Foreign Currency Exchange Apps

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There are a lot of helpful Apps and websites on the internet, however, a few common ones are

1.XE Currency– This currency company has been established since 1993 and has an app for both android and apple market. XE gives you live conversion rates. Their website claims to host 280 million visitors per year and 65 million app downloads.

2. Convert My Money – This website allows a simple conversion rate with you inputting your currency amount selecting the option on a drop down. Then, select the correct conversion rate in the right-hand side using a drop-down box. Their website updates conversion rates hourly and converts more than 160 currencies.

3. Easy Currency Converter– This is an App available on Android and iPhone allowing conversion rates to be displayed offline. As well as allowing you to choose how often the App updates itself daily according to the current conversion rates.

4. Currency Cam –  This App allows your camera to recognize any form of currency on menus and other items. It uses interactive argumentative reality converting the price to your home currency on the screen.

5. ValutaA website and App designed for the apple and android market. Valuta contains over 170 world currencies. It also lets you store your favourite currencies on the App, so they become easily accessible when using.

These Apps are not listed in a particular order or for efficiency. They are a few suggestions out of many on the market. Research, download, and trial each App to find out which one suits you before exchanging money.

Assessing the Options

As mentioned earlier there are many advantages and disadvantages to using certain methods. However, as a writer I will include my preference as well as others. It’s up to YOU to make the decision and find out what works out best for your travel.

Cards and ATM’s

If you withdraw abroad using your card you will often get the direct conversion rate given by your bank. An authorised company. However, depending on your card your bank will charge a small withdrawal fee for your transaction.

It’s audited and the fee is often smaller than what a travel agents charge. As a writer, to provide my opinion this is always the option I select whilst travelling. Simply, due to the convenience of travelling lightly and low exchange rates. As Well as I travel off the beaten path at times.

There are certain types of cards that have come into the media spotlight, that are highly recommended. Some examples are:

Transferwise Debit Mastercard–  This account is free to open allowing you to obtain a debit card. The card contains low conversion fees and no transaction fees worldwide. You can hold money in 40 currencies and similarly have money paid into your account from 30 countries. According to transferwise their card is cheaper than 21 worldwide high-street banks.

Travelex Multi-Currency Cash Passport Prepaid card This Travelex card allows you to upload up to six countries on one card and use anywhere across the globe you see the Master Card logo. It also has no international withdrawal fees when using ATMS.

We-SwapA prepaid travel card that is free to sign up and requires a pin password. It allows free ATM withdrawals over Add pounds in £200. Below that amount it’s a small transaction of £1.50 You can spend in any currency worldwide and convert your money before you travel to get the best rates. It allows you to swap your money into 18 of their selected currencies and use GBP to spend anywhere else.


Enquire with your bank about international transactions on your card. Also, Inform them prior to travelling as if you don’t your card may get blocked. As they may suspect suspicious activity!

When choosing the option to pay always select local currency! Some companies charge more to pay in your own currency as they have to convert it back to your currency back home.

Also, be careful when selecting prepaid travel cards as some come with an annual fee.

Foreign Currency Exchange Online

Laptop for on line work
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You can place yours online and pay. Then within a few days currency is delivered to your door! There are many options if you just use a search engine to find out. It’s best to look as depending on some companies maybe restricted to only delivering to certain countries.

Advice: If you place an order, make sure to be present in your house for the delivery! With a hefty amount, they may send it to the local post office or even return it to sender!

Travel Agents

If you’re looking to have hold of hard cash before you fly then visiting a travel agent in your home country maybe the best for you. However, be warned these are businesses in themselves and have to make a profit to operate. Be aware of the current conversion rates and keep it in mind when exchanging money as you may not be getting the nearest conversion.


Do not exchange in airport travel agents! They are renowned for bad rates. In a way, the travel agents in an airport is a monopoly as you don’t have anywhere else to travel to exchange. So, they get away with charging high prices as there’s nowhere else to exchange your money. Same goes for hotel travel agents.

Also bare in mind some do not have every currency available to exchange. So, if you’re going somewhere off the beaten track they may not be able to get a hold of the cash.  As well, if you’re wanting to exchange money last minute it may not be available to get.

Travelers Cheques

Back in the day, this used to be a very safe and efficient way to use your money abroad.  Allowing you to purchase a cheque from your bank in exchange for currency abroad. If you signed for it and provided I.D However, they are rarely accepted nowadays in places due to more efficient methods available.

So, What is the best way to exchange foreign currency?

App phone tablet
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One thing you must do is carry out your research prior using websites or currency calculator App’s to know the up to date conversion rate. This will prevent from being short-changed.

The most common method nowadays is using your card to withdraw from ATM’s abroad. As there are no limits on currency and you can receive it quickly from an ATM. Do your research as some services may offer you a better transaction rate than your own bank. Also if registering for a new card read the terms and conditions as an annual fee could be charged!

If using your own bank card inform your bank prior to you traveling. If you can, travel with multiple cards in case you lose your main one!

Avoid exchanging currency at travel agents in airports or hotels as they inflate their rates dramatically! A final tip to conclude is don’t be afraid to confront or question conversion rates! There are many con artists out there and people wanting to make huge profits. If you have knowledge and proof of current exchange rates it will go a long way.


Extracts of Alex

Navigating Nepal and the World

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