Armed with a debit card and a stack of American dollars, my significant other and I went on a vacation recently. We needed to unwind as we take a step back from the hustle and bustle of the city.
One thing is for sure! It was a good idea for us to research on how to carry foreign currency in a country we have not been before. Consider the following methods to safely convert your money to foreign currency while traveling.
#1: CREDIT CARD
Credit cards are best used for significant purchases such as hotel reservations, car rentals, and airline tickets. Credit card purchases are usually exchanged at the interbank exchange rate, which leans towards your advantage. What’s more? There are credit cards that rub off their rewards such as added travel insurance or airport lounge access.
The only downside with carrying mere credit card is that some restaurants or stores do not accept credit card transactions. While there are advantages in carrying a credit card, keep in mind the charges that can add up quickly as you return home.
#2: DEBIT CARD OR ATM
Arguably the most convenient and cheapest way to get local cash is to swipe your debit card through the ATMs. You will reap the same interbank exchange rate when you make cash withdrawals through your ATM or debit card as you do when you make a credit card purchase. Spend directly from your bank account with your Visa or MasterCard debit card when you go overseas. Simply ensure that you are aware of the in tree international transaction fees that come with it.
The downside to using your debit card is its foreign ATM use and currency conversion fees. Research on this.
For immediate purchases that you must consume within the first 24 hours, it is a good idea to carry an ample amount of foreign currency. Before you leave Singapore, remember to exchange your SGD to foreign currency to handle expenses such as taking a cab or buying a meal. Use your cash until you can find the nearest ATM.
It goes without saying that you would not get the greatest conversion rate from your home country. However, it provides a cushion for your immediate expenses and prevents you from being stranded. If you are traveling to a major international airport or a well-known city, you probably do not need to hoard cash as ATMs are of access.
A WORD FOR SAFE KEEPING
When you are traveling or living overseas, it is entirely impossible that you will not need to spend money in the local currency. Whether you are paying for your essentials or sending money back home, there are several ways to secure your funds.
Research is your best-friend! Know where to get or how to convert your funds while you travel. Bring a small amount of foreign currency abroad unless you can guarantee that the conversion rate is favorable to you.
Nonetheless, you may carry your local currency along with your plastic cards as you cross different countries. Convert your local currency periodically when needed.