Currency exchange: where, when and how to change your currency?

Currency exchange: where, when and how to change your currency? 2

Are you going abroad soon and want to know how to get local currency by changing your euros? In this article, discover all our tips to change your currency at the best rate before a trip!

Currency exchange before a trip: our tips

Before leaving to visit a country that uses a currency other than the euro, it is important to have a certain amount of cash in order to cover the first expenses on site (cab, food…). Even if the use of a bank card is very interesting when traveling, having local currency at hand will allow you to avoid wasting time at the exchange offices upon your arrival, and to avoid the excessive fees applied at the airports. To do this, evaluate your needs beforehand, by finding out in advance about the prices applied in the destination country. You can then change your euros before departure, at a foreign exchange office or at your bank.

If traveling with local currency is also a guarantee of prudence in the face of unforeseen events (theft, loss or malfunction of bank cards, lack of ATMs, cards refused in certain establishments, etc.), it is not advisable to travel with too much cash on you! In addition to the risks of theft and assault, it is not comfortable to carry a large amount of cash when visiting a country. Carrying a lot of euros in cash with you in order to change money once you are in the country is not advantageous either. Banks and exchange offices abroad usually charge high margins! It is therefore better to buy foreign currency in advance to take advantage of an interesting exchange rate, and to bring a bank card that can be used abroad, in addition to cash.

Favouring the payment card when travelling

When traveling, use a payment card for the biggest expenses! It will allow you to make withdrawals and payments without having to carry cash. Of course, fees (related to currency conversion) will be deducted from your balance, but they are generally lower than for cash. Before you leave, contact your bank to negotiate the best fees and withdrawal limits. It is advisable to always travel with two bank cards to cover unforeseen circumstances.

Is the security of your means of payment while traveling a priority for you? Think of the prepaid card! The use of a reloadable prepaid card (without account) ensures your expenses without any risk for your bank account. This type of card is available in tobacconists, supermarkets and on specialized websites. Accessible to all without income requirement, it can be reloaded according to your needs (by transfers or reload coupons) and is not linked to any bank account. This means of payment offers many advantages to travelers:

  • Allows withdrawals and payments anywhere in the world
  • In case of theft, no danger for the bank account
  • No risk of overdraft
  • Rechargeable according to your needs
  • Accessible to people who are not allowed to use a bank account
  • Can be topped up to several thousand euros.

Where to change your money ?

You can exchange your money at :

  • Banks
  • Exchange offices.

Banks usually charge higher fees, since selling currency is not their main activity. In addition, they usually do not have the currency in stock and the waiting time can be long.

It is therefore preferable to go to a bureau de change to exchange your euros for another currency. Not all of them apply the same exchange rates and commissions. So take the time to compare the different establishments in your city in order to choose the most advantageous one!

Exchange offices in airports are convenient, as they allow you to obtain local currency at the last minute. However, the exchange rates are often abusive. It is therefore wiser to be proactive and change your currency in advance.

Currency exchange: what to do with the foreign currency left over when you return?

You’re back from your trip and you haven’t used up all your foreign currency? There are several solutions available to you!

You can go back to your exchange office to get euros in exchange for the amount you have left over. However, you will lose on the exchange.

You can also ask your family, friends and acquaintances, in case someone you know is leaving soon for the same country. In this case, you can donate your currency to someone who needs it, or have them buy it back from you at a much more attractive exchange rate.

You now have all the information you need to change your currency at the best rate before you leave on your trip! To travel with peace of mind, keep in mind that it is best to carry a small amount of foreign currency for everyday expenses, as well as one or two payment cards for maximum security.

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