When traveling overseas, don’t forget to pack the cash. Fodor’s Travel Publications, Inc., America’s leading travel authority, offers tips on traveling with foreign currency.
“Many travelers are so used to relying on plastic or travelers checks that they forget there are important reasons to also bring along cash,” said Bonnie Ammer, president and publisher of Fodor’s Travel Publications, Inc. “You’ll want to have a little cash for tips, cabs, buses and other incidental expenses. Local currency is especially helpful for trips to small towns or off the beaten path. Also, if your credit card is stolen or lost — or you can’t find an ATM when you need it — having a little foreign currency is probably the smartest way to avoid problems.”
Preparing For Your Trip
— Become familiar with the foreign currency denominations before you go, that way you’ll know if you’re receiving the correct change for your transactions and not tipping the cab driver $20 for a $2.00 ride.
— Having foreign currency when you arrive saves time and avoids inconveniences. Airport ATM’s often have long lines, the local exchange booths may be closed for the day, and local holidays can close banks or delay replenishing ATM machines.
— Check your local bank to see if they have a currency exchange program. Or consider an exchange service like International Currency Express, Thomas Cook Currency Services or Chase “Currency to Go”.
When You Arrive
— Check the newspaper in the country you’re visiting to find out the exchange rate,
— Banks typically give more favorable exchange rates than hotels, railway stations, airports, currency kiosks and retail stores. Look for a bank that doesn’t levy a charge in addition to the normal conversion fee.
— ATM’s are a convenient way to get “quick” cash and are becoming commonplace even in developing countries. Local bank cards may not work overseas. Remember to get a four-digit PIN before you leave the country — some pins may need to be re-programmed for international travel.
On The Road
— Avoid converting one foreign currency to another if you’re traveling to several countries. Each time you convert, you lose buying power.
— Separate each country’s currency in zippered plastic bags so you don’t confuse the currency. Use the plastic bags to hold receipts from the local purchases, facilitating your return through Customs.
— Left over currency can make a great souvenir for kids.
Fodor’s Travel Publications, Inc., a division of Random House, Inc., is the largest English-language travel guidebook publisher in the world. With more than 230 titles in print, Fodor’s publishes nearly 5.5 million guidebooks annually. Fodor’s is the only travel publisher endorsed by The American Society of Travel Agents; other broad range marketing partnerships include Rand McNally, American Airlines, Discovery/Learning Channel and General Motors. The Fodor’s Travel Show is a weekly call-in radio program on WOR-710 AM talk and information radio station in New York and is syndicated in more than 80 markets nationwide. Fodor’s is located on the World Wide Web at http://www.fodors.com.