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Ways to Exchange Currency before going on an International Trip

You’ve packed your suitcase and you’ve planned out the perfect itinerary. But, don’t forget one of the most important aspects of traveling. Have you given any thought to how you are going to pay for things on your international trip? We’ve rounded up the best ways to exchange currency both before you leave and when you arrive at your destination.

Before you leave


If you give your bank enough time, they will exchange money for you. Just simply call them about a week or two before you leave and let them know how much you will need. There will be some fees attached to this service so make sure you inquire about those. Make sure to go with a bank that you already have an account with to minimize the fees.


Companies such as Travelex now make it easy to buy currency online that they will ship right to your door. Just make sure you do this well in advance to allow for any delays and make sure to be home when the package arrives.

Travelers checks

Using a travelers check is a little more of an outdated practice but it’s definitely a very safe route to go. These checks can be exchanged for cash when you arrive at your destination and are also replaceable if they are lost or stolen before you cash them. Be careful though; it may be hard to find places that accept or that will cash in travelers checks.

When you arrive

Use a credit card

This is probably the easiest way to use money while traveling. Simply use your credit card to make purchases like you would at home. Make sure you contact your bank in advance to let them know you are traveling so they don’t shut your card off suspecting fraudulent activity. Also find out what fees are associated with using your credit card internationally. If you have a bank that waives international fees when using a credit card, this will probably be your best and cheapest option.


Depending on where you are traveling to, ATMs should be readily available. Using your debit card, you can take out large sums of money and avoid multiple transaction fees. Before you leave, make sure to contact your bank to ask what the fees are for taking money out internationally.

Foreign bank

If you absolutely can’t find an ATM, visit a foreign bank who can help you with the transaction. The fees can be very high so make sure to really search for an ATM or another option before you go this route.

Currency exchange desk

Airports and even some hotels have a desk where you can exchange money. However, this comes at a very, very high cost so save this as your last resort if possible.

If you work with Professional Travel, we would love to help you figure out the most efficient and cheapest way to exchange your money before your trip.

What have you found to be the best way to get foreign currency when traveling?

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