When traveling there is always the question of what are the best options for currency exchange. Even if you have credit and debits cards that can be used abroad, it is important that you have local currency for transportation, tips, local businesses that may not receive cards and emergencies.

Always research the customs and regulations of the country you are visiting, some prefer that visitors use U.S. dollars, and other countries like for example Morocco, only allow exchange once you arrive.

There are different options for currency exchange, but you must be careful because not all offer the same rate and fees, and some may take advantage of tourists. This is why it is important to know the best places to exchange currency before, during and after your next trip:


Before your trip

If you prefer to plan ahead and the currency is available, you may exchange at your local bank, credit union or currency store. Both usually offer low rates and fees for their customers, but you normally need to have time to do this, because most require that that request is made with at least three business days of anticipation.

Some banks still offer traveler checks, that offer security and can be replaced if they are stolen, but they are not commonly used because of the high fees and the fact they are not easily accepted.  A similar option is a prepaid travel card that offer the same security benefits and can be used like a debit card. These are good options for traveling students, but also have high fees.

Another alternative are online options that offer in-store or mail delivery. Usually not in the top of mind, these are a great option since depending on your provider, you may find a higher variety of available currencies as well as better rates. (Full disclosure: we offer the service). Always research all your options and prefer those with better exchange rates and lower fees. We invite you to check out our variety (over 135 currencies available here) and learn more about our simple process here.


During your trip

If you are traveling to countries that use the euro, yeng, or peso, your bank will probably offer exchange services, but if you are traveling to countries with less used currencies or that have regulatory restrictions, you may need to exchange once you arrive.

man using atmOnce at your destination, your best option for currency exchange is an ATM. Before you travel ask your bank about foreign transaction fees, and ATM fees for out of network withdrawals. You may reduce your costs if you make one large withdrawal instead of several small ones where you will pay a fee for each one.

If you want to exchange cash at your destination, remember to stay away from kiosks at the airport, and other touristic places, and choose local banks and exchange shops near business centers.

After your trip

If you did not spend all your foreign currency and have leftover money, you can go back to your bank, credit union, post office or currency exchange shop at your return, but all these options do not accept coins have high rates and fees. Other options include saving your leftover currency to family or friends that may be traveling, or keeping it if you travel often.

However, if you are looking for a place where you can easily get the best rates for all your left-over currency including coins, Foreign Currency and Coin Exchange is your best choice. We offer a simple, convenient and safe platform where you can sell and get paid in just four easy steps, we will even donate your coins to your favorite charity, you just need to select the charity box and select the charity you wish to support. Click here to know how it works!