One of the great things about working with luxury travel agents is that you can travel without having to worry about a thing.  All expenses paid, no hassle, no planning headaches.  However, even when you have all the big stuff sorted beforehand, odds are you’ll want to have a bit of local currency on-hand to deal with the odds and ends.  If you’re an old pro at travelling, you may not need a few tips to help you along the way.  If you’re new to travelling, though, here’s all you need to know about dealing with foreign currency during travel:

In all likelihood, money will be the first thing you need when you touch down in a foreign country.  You may be hungry after the flight, or need to purchase transportation, or encounter other unexpected expenses.  The good thing is that, even if you haven’t planned ahead, ATMs have spread to most places around the world, especially if you land in a major international airport.  However, for smaller airports or less developed countries, it can save you loads of time and headaches to have a bit of local currency on hand when you arrive.  If you’re not sure about the availability of ATMs or currency exchange counters at your destination, make sure to check with your Sydney travel agent before you depart.

How to get Foreign Currency

There are a few ways to go about this.  One way is to purchase some foreign currency from a bank or exchange bureau before you depart.  This means one less thing that you have to find or think of upon arrival.  The problem is that you’ll often get charged commission and might not get the interbank rates that you would get from using a credit card or ATM overseas.

You’re actually better off in most places just making a stop at the ATM upon arrival.  However, if you’re flying in to a small airport or a developing country, you may not find an ATM there, and there are no guarantees that it’ll be functioning.  Also, there are some places, such as Japan, where not all local ATMs connect with foreign banks.  If this is likely to be the case, especially in places where currency exchange counters are harder to find, then it’s well worth your while to come prepared.

Getting Foreign Currency at Home

A simple way to do be sure you’re prepared is to exchange around $100-$200 before you depart.  Any airport in Australia will come equipped with a currency exchange counter where you can change a small amount of money into the currency of the destination.  You could also stop at a Travelex or Travel Money Oz before heading to the airport, or even purchase it online and have it delivered to your home or office.  This will cover incidentals and make sure you have enough to get access to an ATM or exchange counter after you arrive.

In most cases, even in developing nations, a currency exchange counter is usually available for travelers, so if you have a bit of cash on you, a short stop will see you prepared for the next leg of the journey.  If you have any questions about how much you’ll need or what will be available, luxury travel companies will make sure that you know the situation on the ground and relative costs.

Leftover Currency

One thing to keep in mind is that you’ll usually have to pay a fee for the conversion when using foreign ATMs, or lose out a bit at the exchange counter due to rate spreads and commission.  The best way to work around this is to only draw out or exchange what you need.  Odds are, though, you’ll be left with a bit of small change when all is said and done.  There are a few ways to deal with this.

One tip is to apply the remainder of your foreign cash to the last accommodations and pay the balance with your credit card.  Just remember to save what you’ll need for the time at the airport (and the journey there).  Another option is to get to the airport a bit early and purchase some knick knacks on the way out.  This usually isn’t the best choice, though as airport goods can be a bit overpriced.  Alternately, there are several programs that let you donate your leftover change and small bills to those in need.  Or, if you plan on returning to the country in the foreseeable future, just put it away for next time.

If you’d like to know more about your next destination, or you’d like tips on great travel packages, feel free to contact us.  At Rose Bay, we’re dedicated to making your holiday fun, exciting, and hassle-free.