As I sit here in the airport waiting for my flight, I wanted to share a tip for international travelers… A few weeks ago, I talked about the best credit cards for international travel. Today, I want to talk about currency exchange.
For starters, I’ll just say that credit cards are a great way to get a good foreign exchange rate — especially if you can find one without a foreign exchange fee. But even if you have a great card, you’re likely to want at least a bit of foreign currency when traveling.
While in Argentina on a recent trip, I noticed that there were numerous currency exchange booths in the luggage claim area. As I walked past them, I noted the exchange rate — roughly 3.25 pesos per dollar. The actual exchange rate at the time? Close to 4.35 pesos per dollar.
As it turns out, there was also a bank in the airport, just outside of the secured area. Instead of changing my money at the first opportunity, I did it at the bank and got the going rate. Had I been unaware of the prevailing exchange rate, and jumped at the first chance to change my money, I would’ve lost a whopping 25%.
In fact, if I hadn’t exchanged money at all I still would’ve come out ahead as most local merchants would take US dollars at a 4:1 rate — not the going rate, but far better than 3.25 per dollar.
So if you’re traveling overseas I recommend checking the exchange rates before you travel and then making sure you’re not getting totally ripped off when you got to make the transaction.