I’ve mentioned before that I’m off to Washington DC at the end of the month. Although in my day to day life, I’m not especially frugal, I am a bit of a budget traveller. For 6 days in DC I plan to spend about $400, to include all food and accommodation.
The big question is, how shall I obtain this money in US$?
The way I see it, there are three main options, and of course, I could do a combination of these.
rely on plastic
This would basically mean using a debit or credit card to make purchases wherever possible, and withdrawing small amounts of cash for sundries at ATMs once I’m in the States.
Benefits include not having to do anything before I go, and being able to only change as much money as I need. Downsides are that ATMs may not be available when I want them, my card may get stopped because my bank thinks someone has stolen my card, each transaction involves a fee.
buy traveller’s cheques
I could get buy American Express traveller’s cheques and then cash them once I’m in DC.
This has the advantage of being pretty secure. The disadvantages are that it’s a pain to carry them round, and if I don’t use all the cash I have to fork out two lots of commission.
Finally, I could just change some £ sterling for US$ before I leave.
The main benefits are that once it’s done I don’t have to worry about converting any money and I have more time to shop around for the best exchange rate. The disadvantages are that it’s not very secure, and again, if I underspend I’d have to change the money twice.
How do you normally deal with foreign money, and what do you think that I should do?
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