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Here are some suggestions to help manage currency issues while traveling.

  • Take about $50 USD in small bills for last-minute emergencies.
  • Obtain some foreign currency in advance. You may not get the best exchange rate, but you'll have money in your pocket when you arrive.
  • Examine foreign bills and coins before you leave home. Thinking in the currency you're using instead of always trying to convert it to dollars is wiser. It will help you save time when making purchases and will help you better understand the country's economics.
  • Traveler's checks remain the safest and most reliable way to obtain cash, followed by credit cards and ATM cards.
  • Banks in foreign countries are usually open fewer hours. Learn the bank schedules in the country you're visiting.
  • You may need a passport in order to cash traveler's checks abroad. A photo ID is helpful in cashing travelers checks.
  • Bring along a pocket calculator or exchange calculator to help you with the rates if you'll be doing some serious shopping.
  • Don't get "hung-up" on the exchange rate and allow it to spoil your experience. Sometimes you may have to pay more than the official rate. You may not want to use an unofficial rate (if available) due to some local laws. Use good judgment and follow rules.
  • Save receipts of all the money you change. Many countries require that you show these receipts upon leaving (especially if you want to convert foreign currency back to your home currency).
  • Keep two records of your travelers checks numbers. Give one to a relative at home, and keep the other one separate from the checks.
  • Keep accurate records of what travelers checks you cash and where.
  • VISA and MasterCard are the most widely accepted credit cards. American Express offers you the broadest range of services. Some credit cards offer travel insurance, shopping and emergency cash services but you'll need detailed information on how these services can be used in the countries/ cities you'll visit.
  • Leave other credit cards not useful to you abroad at home.
  • Keep all receipts of purchases, credit card and ATM transactions in a safe place.
  • Don't give money to beggars, but reward someone who performs a service for you.
  • Personal checks can virtually never be cashed - but take along a few "just in case."

Worldwide Classroom (WWC)
Consortium for International Education & Multicultural Studies

P.O. Box 1166    Milwaukee, WI   53201   USA
Tel: (414) 224-3476    Fax: (414) 224-3466    E-Mail: info@worldwide.edu