Travelling abroad is not cakewalk; there’s a lot of planning that goes behind working out an international trip. And while booking air tickets, accommodation and applying for visa are quite something, arranging for foreign exchange is another ballgame altogether. Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or a first timer, here’s how you can be a smart traveller and manage all your forex needs.
Go low on cash an opt for travel cards
It is always a good idea to make a note of your travel budgets in advance so that you can buy forex at least 3-4 days before you travel. Once you know what your budget is, split your expenses and carry only a certain amount in cash and load the rest of the currency onto a travel card. Ideally, 20 to 30 per cent of the amount in cash is enough for paying taxi fares, street shopping, and tips, with the remaining 70 to 80 percent going in your forex travel card. A forex travel card should be explored as an option because it not only gets you better rates than cash but is safer too. The card is generally pegged to the dollar and there is no conversion charge for using it in any currency, other than at ATMs.
Buy forex from authorised banks or money changers
While only authorised banks and licensed money changers can sell forex, certain intermediaries like the travel agents also, at times, arrange for forex. If you compare the rates charged by banks with rates of money changers, the latter usually always have better deals and rates. The newest source of buying forex are the online portals such as BookMyForex and DoorstepForex which are basically online aggregators and again depend on the licensed money changers for actual delivery.
Avoid the use of debit or credit cards at ATMs abroad
While debit and credit cards let you easily access funds when you are out of money, it’s advisable that you keep them as a backup and not rely on them completely. However, the transactions are possible only if your card is an international card. Also, note that when you use them outside of your own country the currency conversion rate ranging upto 5 percent is charged. Also, when you withdraw cash from an ATM with a credit card, you are slapped a heavy charge of $10-25 per withdrawal. Additionally, as with all credit card transactions, if you don’t fully repay the amount within the stipulated time, you will be charged extra interest on it.