Tips on Exchanging Money When Traveling Abroad

Tips on Exchanging Money When Traveling Abroad

Traveling has always been a memorable experience for most of us. We want to travel to explore places we’ve never been to. After all, memories bring us happiness more than things in the long term as the famous quote says: “Collect memories, not things”.

Some of us prefer to travel on our local destinations first before exploring other countries. Others want the other way around. When traveling abroad, one of the things that you should consider is to convert your peso to the currency of the country you’re going to.

You might be asking – Should I exchange my money here at home? Or just withdraw money from the ATM machine of the country I’m going to? Or bring my money together with me and exchange it in the country I’m going to? Let’s examine each of these options.

Exchanging Money at Home

Before going to the airport, make sure that you have exchanged your money already. Doing it in the money changers inside the airport will incur you steeper rates.

Try to compare exchange rates offered by money changers versus your bank and choose the one with the most favorable rate. Look for money changers that are not located in major tourist spots because more often than not, they have more favorable rates than their counterparts in major tourist spots.

Banks though may need you to be an account holder to them before they can exchange your money. They may also offer limited currencies as compared to money changers. For example, some banks do not offer Thailand Baht.


Most often than not, withdrawing cash from a foreign ATM of your destination country can give you a better exchange rate than exchanging your money to local currency in your foreign destination.

Other than more favorable rates, it’s also a lot more convenient. However, it can also be unfavorable in some specific situations depending on your bank’s foreign ATM withdrawal policy and the ATM that you will be using.

Most banks have a conversion fee of 2% or a flat fee of USD 3.50. In addition, depending on the policy of the ATM in your destination country, they may have their own fees on top of your bank’s foreign transaction fees. Hence, it is better to do one or two big withdrawals to cover the entire course of your trip abroad.

However, before anything else, remember to contact your local bank to activate overseas ATM withdrawal and notify them of the date and the country you’re traveling to. Use also an ATM that has Visa, MasterCard or Cirrus logo since these cards are accessible worldwide versus our local Megalink and BancNet cards. In addition, regularly monitor your ATM’s balance online or through your mobile app to monitor your transactions.

Exchanging Money Abroad

Similar to exchanging money at home using money changers, look for ones that are not located in major tourist spots. Money changers will leverage the convenience and accessibility of their location to charge more expensive rates than the actual international standard exchange rates.

Whatever foreign exchange method you prefer from above, make sure to choose the ones with the most favorable rate and with the least costs.

Tyrone is a passionate financial literacy advocate. He started this blog on November 2008 when he watched The Secret which talked about Law of Attraction because he wanted to become a millionaire and wanted to know how a millionaire acts. At the age of 26, he achieved his first million. To find out more about him, click here or follow him at Instagram

2 responses on “Tips on Exchanging Money When Traveling Abroad

  1. If you can afford to travel, you sure can afford the conversion charges. Why bother exchanging when you can use your credit card?

    • Surely, the conversion charges can be afforded. This is just some tips on how to further save. Using a credit card while traveling abroad is really convenient but for some who does not have a discipline in using it, it can be a pitfall to debt.

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