A money exchanger or currency exchange is a business that allows people to exchange one currency for another and can usually be found at an airport, a bank, a hotel or onboard a cruise ship.

Exchange – to swap, trade, barter or change

When a person travels, they should always have some money with them of the country that they are visiting. It’s important, because if there are any issues with using your bank card abroad, at least you have a backup plan. Some banks block your card until you authorise the use of that particular card and allow for it to be used in a foreign country.

Most airports have a money exchange counter, where you can exchange different currencies. If you visit a very isolated or remote country, and you have that countries local currency, make sure (if you are not returning), to exchange the money for another more popular currency or even for your home country currency. There are some African currencies that can only be exchanged in that country. Also be aware, that some countries have different series of money, and may after a few years, change the series or get new notes printed, and then the old notes/previous series are null and void which means it has no value as it is no longer in use. Some countries do not allow you to leave with their currency, which can be a bit difficult when you have already past the exchange counter and you busy going through immigration when they ask you if you have any local currency and officers are searching your luggage.

When you are find that there are two or more money exchangers, price check, and choose the one that is offering you the best rate, as they might have different rates and charges.

Questions to ask when looking for a money exchanger:

  • Where is the closest money exchanger?”
  • How many money exchangers are close by?”
  • Questions to ask at the money exchanger:
  • What is the cost of changing ______ to _______?”
  • What is the rate you are offering?”
  • Do you print quotes and how long is the quote valid for?”
  • What currencies can you exchange?”
  • Can you offer me a better rate?”
  • Can I send money to an account?”
  • How long will it take for the money to reflect in the account?”
  • What documents do you need from me, in order to exchange currencies?”
  • Do I need a local account in order to exchange money here?”
  • How stable is the local currency at the moment?”
  • How much has the local currency fluctuated lately?”
  • How much money would you recommend I keep on me as an emergency?”
  • What is the cost of an average local meal?”
  • Do you recommend I exchange more or less than ______?”

Remember to check the amount of money that you receive from the exchanger, as you don’t want to be out-of-pocket. Some workers might try and rip-you off, don’t “throw money down the drain”, as you will lose that money if you just accept and walk away.

Out-of-pocket – to be with less money than what you started off with

Rip you off – when someone over charges you, or underpays you

“That place is a rip-off” – means that place over charges, making it more expensive than it should be.

Throw money down the drain – English idiom meaning: wasting money