How Do You Manage Foreign Exchange for your Travels?

For all my foreign trips since 2011 I ended up exchanging foreign currency last minute at the airport! People have always told me that you do not get good exchange rates there but I am usually so busy that I leave myself no other option.

Even though I love to travel I am a master procrastinator when it comes to packing. Usually it is a last day affair. I just make sure beforehand that whatever I need is ironed. I anyway have very little fashion sense. I can do with a pair of jeans and a few shirts on any trip. If it is cold I will add a few warm clothes. Whether they match or go with each-other is something I sort out on the trip!

Things do get complicated when formals are required but then I can manage that too with two formal business suites. But leaving this packing to the last minute is not conducive to peace of mind. There have been countless trips when in the end all I wanted to make sure was that I had the tickets, money and cards if it was a domestic trip. I have to make sure that I have all the relevant documents too if it was an international trip.

Usually at work all the deadlines that I can shove off in different corners when I am at the station, crawl out to haunt me before a major trip. Well on second thoughts they do crawl out before minor trips too, looks like they can’t distinguish between major and minor trips. My long commute ensures that I leave home early and reach home late, that leaves me too little time to buy things by physically going to the market.

Foreign Exchange

So Many Places, So Many Currencies

I have to say I have a lovely daughter who never protests for leaving her and going on various trips. In fact just before one of the trips I was telling her guiltily that I was going away for a week. She was brushing her teeth and I could see her eyes lit up in the mirror. She told me, “You are going away? I will have a lot of fun.” But not always, sometimes that story has to be read to her just when I would love to see her to be in self engaging mode. That often means everything gets postponed past her bed time.

Amidst all the deadlines, procrastination and stuff, foreign currency naturally takes a back seat. That is when online becomes appealing. And if everything fails I can always get it at the airport, right? Anyway when you earn in Indian rupees, currency converter does not feel like a friendly tool. I shudder when I use it for converting pounds; recently dollars are giving the same feeling.

Just before going to South Africa I tried ordering foreign exchange with one of the travel agencies. They do advertise that they sell online and deliver it at home. But they said they were short of people at the moment and I would have to go and collect it. As I work full time and I love to travel, I have to watch my leaves closely. It was not worthwhile to take a day off to collect foreign currency, so I ended up with my last resort, buying it at the airport once again.

That is when I found about Travelex, it felt so appealing. The pity is that I stumbled upon their UAE operations and I don’t think they operate in India. But the concept is made exactly for someone like me, who likes online and airports.  Here you can book your currency online and pick it up at the airport. That way you may get a better deal than converting at the airport and yet you get to collect the money at the airport, where you are anyway going. See no extra day of leave required! And anything that can save my leaves for traveling is a good thing!