Exchanging currency is necessary for most trips outside the United States, and consumers have a number of options when it comes to converting U.S. dollars into the currency used in a particular destination. The two main ways to do so are: 1) automatically with a credit card; and 2) converting hard currency at a bank or airport kiosk. But which offers the best deal?
This might seem like less of a concern in light of the dollar’s current strength relative to other currencies, but that’s just a flawed assumption. You have to look at things in percentage terms – paying 20% interest is expensive, while a 10% investment return is fantastic, for example – as well as at the overall dollars and cents. Saving 15% on a weeklong European vacation, which runs the average family of four around $4,000, will equate to an extra $600 in your pocket. That’s the equivalent of staying an extra night, or perhaps even opting to fly first class.