Foreign Currency Tips from AAA

Heading across the pond (or around the world)? Local currency is important for tips, transportation, meals and other casual purchases. Luckily, you can avoid the exchange lines, high fees and poor exchange rates typically offered in airports, hotels and restaurants by purchasing foreign currency before you leave the US.

  • Plan to bring the equivalent of $50 to $100 USD per person, per day, to meet expenses.
  • Don’t rely on ATMs and airports at your host destination; you never know if these will be working or if you may have a problem with your card.
  • Get familiar with local customs for your destination. For example, in many other countries, leaving tips after a meal is considered rude. Other times, the amount may vary from what we typically pay in the US.
  • Think about the countries you’ll be visiting and ensure you have the right denominations. Not every destination in Europe uses the same type of currency.
  • If you have extra money after your trip, you may want to sell it back at a place other than the airport, which often assesses additional fees and may not give you the best exchange rate.
  • Don’t rely on one form of payment, says AAA member Priscilla Mondiek. Bring cash and debit/credit cards that you know will work in other countries. Check with your bank or credit card company before you leave so you’re prepared.

AAA offers foreign currency for members in more than 100 countries’ denominations, all available within two business days. Talk with a AAA travel expert at your local store to get answers and purchase your foreign currency.

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