Thursday, October 6, 2005
More Bang for Your Buck: Currency
If you ever travelled outside the U.S., you know figuring out the conversion rate can be more difficult than figuring out a foreign language. But in tonight's More Bang for your Buck, we found there are ways to avoid being overcharged overseas.
WSVN--Money. Dinero (Spanish). Argent (French). Soldi (Italian). Geld (German). No matter how you say it, money talks. But if you don't speak the language...You could end up with a 'costly conversion.' Just ask, Vicki Owles. She was hit were it hurts the most - in the wallet on a recent trip to Italy.
International Traveler Vicky Owles: "I wasn't all that clear on how much the exchange was going to be and when I opened up my credit charge statement I as like well that was an expensive excursion on a dinner out."
But there are simple ways you can save when converting your cash.
Shirley Cooney from Universal Travel - American Express: "If you do all your homework and all your preparation before hand it makes your trip so much easier for you."
Shirley Cooney of Universal Travel - American Express suggests buying the bills before you leave. She says each person should have 200 dollars per day for the first four days. Also keep in mind - less common currencies may require advance ordering.
Shirley Cooney: "It could take several days if not a week to get the currency."
Now, when you're buying money, don't wait until the last minute. Shop around for the best rate and remember airports will usually charge more than banks or foreign currency houses.
Shirley Cooney: "People think they will get a better rate. They really won't get a better rate at the airport."
And once you've landed at your destination, you won't find better rates using plastic. Most credit cards are now tacking on an extra 3 to 5 percent surcharge.
Shirley Cooney: "I would try to limit my purchases on my credit card because the fees that are going to be involved."
The best way to avoid extra fees is to call your credit card companies and pick the one with the lowest percentage. For example - Capital One customers pay nothing. As for using an ATM overseas, be careful. You could be charged a transaction fee and a conversion fee. Best advice - call your bank and ask which machines are compatible with your card.
Shirley Cooney: "There will be plenty of them accessible to you. It's just being directed to the right one."
Vicki's making all the right money moves. Soon, she'll be touring Paris, but before take off, she's learning to save by pre-paying many of her expenses.
Vicky Owles: "I would try to book some excursions in advance. You can actually get some pretty good rates out there on the internet if you shop around."
Now, before you come back to the States you'll get a better deal if you convert your money back to dollars.
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