Money makes the world go round - but it can also make you go round the world.
Everything costs money and that’s doubly true for travellers; when abroad, money can come in all shapes, sizes, rules, and values. A single conversion isn’t that hard – just remember that a British Pound is worth a little over one and a half American Dollars and the job should be easy enough. But when jet-setting through the often dizzying array of countries in some parts of the world, it can get downright maddening to keep track – not everywhere has implemented a wide-spread currency like the Euro.
A number of online converters will help you stay ahead of the game, most notably the conversion giant XE Currency Converter. An accompanying smartphone app will make the process even easier.
However, just knowing the value of an item is different than being able to purchase it; there are a host of ways to convert your money, but only a few that will net you the decent deal. Hotels and airports often provide money-changing services, but the convenience comes at a price; they often offer higher than market prices, pocketing the difference as profit. For a better deal it’s advisable to check out a bank (ideally an international bank with locations in Canada) or via credit-card.
Also, don’t forget that these places will also accept traveller’s cheques in exchange for any type of currency, and traveller’s cheques can be replaced if lost or stolen. Though they’re decreasing in popularity, it’s still worth keeping them in mind; they might seem silly until you need them, but when you need them nothing else will do.
A credit or debit card can help in a pinch – but beware service charges, and be extra sure to alert your bank or card provider to your travel plans. In defence of your security they will often restrict or cancel a card if withdrawals are made in a foreign country. This is good for you, in general, but if it happens to be a genuine holiday transaction it can leave you out in the cold.
Also, consider investing in a traveller’s wallet; these handy folders can often help organize the mess of bills, cards, papers, and identification necessary for international travel. Plus, they’re too big for a pocket – the number one way to avoid being pick-pocketed is to leave your pockets without anything to pick.
No matter where you go, there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. All you have to remember is to pack accordingly, and your lunch abroad should be very enjoyable, indeed.