Monday, December 30, 2013

Tip of the Day: Have Small Dominations of Currency Before Arrival in a Foreign Country and...

Our Tip of the Day is to suggest that ideally all foreign travelers have a sufficient quantity of small denominations of foreign currency before they arrive at their destination.

Suggested websites from which you can purchase and order foreign currency include: currency

Alternatively, having a pocket-full of small denomination bills in a hard currency may work temporarily upon arrival for tipping, taxis, meals, etc., but remember that some countries have very restrictive rules on using foreign currency which could land you in legal trouble.

Two reasons I don't recommend purchasing currency upon arrival in a foreign country is as follows:

1. You may be given the "official rate" which may be lower than purchasing the foreign currency you need before departure from home; and

2. Criminals lurking about areas where purchasing local currency occurs may result in your being robbed shortly after departure from the airport, which is why I urge all travelers to use airport-sanctioned taxis only. That being said, even some airport-sanctioned taxis can be unscrupulous.

Additionally, I urge you do THREE things before departing home:

a. Call your card issuer (ATM, debit, credit, etc.) and tell them that you are traveling abroad and that you'd like for them to temporarily lift the security restriction on your credit or debit cards until you return;

b. Ask your card issuer for their website so that you can determine the location of compatible ATMs at your destination(s); and

c. If you're going to Europe, where pin numbers are longer than four digits, you may need your bank's help before departure in dealing with that peculiarity.