Travelling is a way to learn more about the world and our own personalities. It brightens the mind and enriches the experience. While travelling, you can try a new cuisine, meet new people, and explore foreign cultural legacy. It helps us to break free from the routine of career lives, at least temporarily. Foreign exchange is an important element of a trip, as tourists make payments in the local currency.
Aside from hotel bookings, plane tickets, and at least a rough itinerary, you need to make sure you have enough local money on hand. Here are a few tips to help you handle the issue of currency exchange next time you travel to or across India.
Rule 1. The Right Places
You may exchange currencies at travel agencies, Banks, money lenders, and even airports. First, check that the source is authorized by RBI. Generally, lenders and travel companies charge the lowest fees per dollar. The exchange at airports is usually the most expensive. For example, the typical margin for a lender is Rs. 0.20 per USD. Airports, on the other hand, may charge as much as Rs. 3!
Why do you need an authorized dealer? Unfortunately, counterfeit banknotes are not that uncommon in many countries. To be safe, you need a receipt. If you are caught exchanging forged bills, the consequences may be dire. Therefore, play by the rules, and use legal services only.
Rule 2. Different Card Types
Thanks to global systems like Visa or MasterCard, you may use the same debit or credit card wherever you go. Still, be aware of the fees charged by the issuing bank.
Usually, every transaction, be it purchase or withdrawal, entails a fee. To avoid it, you could get a global prepaid card. Such systems allow you to use up to eight different currencies, with no extra fees for transactions.
Prepaid and travellers’ cards can be ordered via trusted travel portals. You may even be eligible for reduced application fees. Use these cards like any other. In case of theft or loss, you can report the incident and block the card.
Some travel portals also offer generous discounts on plane tickets, accommodation, and restaurants. If you use a prepaid card frequently, you will accumulate air miles and earn rewards like a complimentary stay at a resort. Prepaid cards are especially useful for frequent fliers.
Rule 3. Buy in Advance
Plan in advance. The value of the Indian rupee against other currencies is always changing, so you need to time your exchange properly. If you postpone it until the last minute, the rate could be very high, which will eat away at your travel budget.
Forex traders are experts in this subject. Their profit depends on the ups and downs observed in the currency market. All exchange rates are permanently in flux.
If you want to make money from home, Forex in India could become your full-time occupation. Through brokers like ForexTime, hundreds of thousands of traders connect to the market every day. This market is moved by supply and demand and a host of other factors, both political and economic.
Rule 4. The 30-70 Principle
A common question concerns the amount of cash to carry on you. Generally, it is advisable to stick to the 30-to-70 ratio. This means that approximately a third of your budget should be in cash, while the rest may be kept on credit or debit cards.
Why not withdraw the entire amount? Unfortunately, theft is always possible, and tourists are a vulnerable category. Be reasonable, and make sure you will always have funds for payments throughout the trip. Thieves are extremely creative, and it is difficult to be alert all the time.
Rule 5. Leftover Currency
So, you have returned from your trip with some spare cash in your wallet. What should you do with this leftover foreign money? The best way is to keep it in cash or put it into your bank account denominated in the same currency. Later, you can use this amount on your next holiday abroad. Even if you do not go anywhere, a stash can come in handy.
The Bottom Line
These tips should help you during your next holiday in India, or any other country. The rules are based on common sense. Take precautions to ensure that you have enough cash on you and that your funds are safe.
Plan your travel budget carefully, and your holiday will be smooth and enjoyable. As Neil deGrasse Tyson said, “The day we stop exploring is the day we commit ourselves to live in a stagnant world, devoid of curiosity, empty of dreams.”