Best Locations to Exchange Currency Without Absurdly High Fees

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Written By Charlotte Miller

We may sometimes spend days or weeks researching flights, reserving lodgings, and purchasing travel items online while arranging a vacation.

Is anybody considering currency conversion rates and how to get the best exchange rate when making travel plans? 

It’s a tremendous trap for travelers, and you could easily lose a lot of money if you don’t know how to get the best exchange rate while you’re traveling.

A good currency conversion rate may help you score incredible deals, whilst a negative currency exchange rate might make your holiday more costly than you anticipated.

We can surely find a better use for our money than losing a significant portion of it to foreign currency conversion costs. 

While it is not always possible to convert money without paying fees, there are several tactics you may use to lower the expense of this crucial travel activity. This is how.

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Use a Credit Card With No Foreign Transaction Fees

Use your credit card with no international transaction fees wherever feasible. If you don’t have one, you should consider obtaining one if you travel often. There are several similar choices in the United States.

However, before using a credit card with $10 000 limit consider a few criteria and see whether they apply to your circumstances.

 For instance, local businesses like restaurants and retailers may tack on a fee for credit card purchases, and some credit card companies charge more for transactions made in other currencies. That is especially true if your headquarters are located outside of the US.

Prepaid foreign debit cards are another possibility. There are several cards available that enable you to load your balance in dollars and then make ATM withdrawals or payments in a foreign currency when you arrive.

Prepaid cards offer the benefit of being distinct from your primary bank account, so criminals cannot access the majority of your money if your card is lost or stolen. However, they often come with significant prices, like top-up fees and inactivity fees So if you’re contemplating one, read the terms and conditions carefully.

On the one hand, credit cards are more convenient than cash, but cash is easier to control. But in case you didn’t know, cash is very expensive. For example, in 2020, $750 million was spent printing Federal Reserve Notes.

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Websites For Currency Exchange

A convenient and secure way to get foreign cash is via a currency exchange website like Currency Exchange International (CXI) or US First Exchange. Place your order on the marketplace site, and the funds will be sent to you instantly.

However, bear in mind that certain currencies could not be convertible when purchasing cash online, and other countries might have monetary restrictions and convertibility restrictions.

Banking Institutions or Credit Unions

To begin, banks and credit unions are perhaps the finest venues to convert cash while traveling. You may pick between local banks and large banks with ATMs in overseas countries. 

By reviewing trustworthy foreign exchange websites, a bank or credit union will locate the best exchange rate in your location. You may also learn about currency conversion rates by using an online currency converter.

It is straightforward to use this strategy since most financial institutions will have foreign currency to sell and will just charge the conversion rates, with no additional fees.

You may exchange foreign money at your local bank branch if it has it in cash. 

You may also purchase online for home delivery, which the bank may be able to do the same day depending on your bank, region, and the currency you need. It might take many days if the currency is not regularly requested.

Credit unions also have lower interest rates since profit for credit union investors is not part of their goal. As a result, they may pass on any savings to you in the form of reduced interest rates and fewer fees.

Apps for International Banking

If you often travel internationally, consider utilizing an international banking app like Wise, Revolut, or others to handle your money. These applications make it simpler to keep several currencies and transfer funds to accounts in other countries.

You can maintain some money in several currencies with a multiple-currency account. It’s useful if you visit overseas regularly. 

Because you’ll always have some money ready for your next trip, you’ll be able to avoid the volatility of foreign conversion rates.

Worst Currency Exchange Locations

You should avoid exchanging currencies at the following locations:

Airport Kiosks

Purchasing cash at the airport before departure may seem to be the most apparent alternative, but it is often one of the most costly methods to convert currency.

Even though every major airport will have one or more accessible currency exchange kiosks, the conversion rates and overall costs are often low owing to a captive market and a lack of actual competition.

Prepaid Debit Cards and Traveler’s Checks

These are inefficient and often incur different transaction costs. When compared to cash, they provide minimal value in terms of security. 


Prepaid debit cards also include card fees, international transaction fees, and ATM fees.


Some hotels convert currencies, however, it is recommended to avoid using them. Because financial authorities do not control hotels, you will most likely pay a hefty exchange rate. If at all possible, opt for a less expensive alternative.

Is It Cheaper to Withdraw Money From Abroad?

Using an ATM when abroad is often less expensive than purchasing foreign currency at home. 

This is due to the expensive costs involved with obtaining foreign currency banknotes from banks or bureaux de change, which may be as high as 10-15% of the transaction amount at the extremes.


You may save money if you do some research before going on your vacation, such as checking currency rates. 

To avoid exorbitant exchange rates and costs, stick to ATMs and no-transfer-fee credit card spending, and avoid converting money at airport kiosks, and hotels, and purchasing anything in US dollars.