Q: Where should I exchange my currency?
If you are a Casual Traveler: Exchange you money at an ATM. The most convenient locations, such as airports or major hotels, often charge a significantly higher rate. The best option is to use an ATM in the destination country, where there are only modest fees. As a general rule, the lesser-known currencies in the world have less favorable exchange rates abroad, so it may be better to exchange your money before you leave on your trip.
If you are a Frequent Traveler: Open a bank account and use their credit card.
If you travel often consider opening an account with one of the banks that have a worldwide presence, such as HSBC and Citibank. They offer accounts denominated in major currencies.
Q: How can I plan ahead?
Research your rate: The only way to know if you are getting the best exchange rate is to know what the current rate is! Before you leave for your trip, do a little research so you know what to expect. If you're taking an extended trip, check the rate periodically to stay on top of any major changes.
Get in touch with your bank: Check to see if your bank is part of a global ATM network that you can use to access your money overseas at a lower cost. If you travel frequently, it may make sense to apply for a card that does not charge transaction fees or that charges less than 3 percent. For example, credit unions are more likely to cap foreign transaction fees at the 1 percent Visa/MasterCard charge.