Currency Exchange Converter

Preparing To Travel

As you get closer to your arrival at UC Santa Cruz for International Orientation, we want to share with you this article about Currency Exchange Advice and Oversee Currency Exchange by Susan Breslow Sardone, from About.com Guide. We want to ensure that you have a great travel experience so please read these helpful tips about currency exchange:

Currency Exchange Converter

Before you travel or as soon as possible, learn what the currency exchange rate is in the country you plan to visit by using the Universal Currency Converter. This utility provides an idea of the latest available exchange rates, based on the mid-point between buy and sell rates of large-value transactions in global currency markets.

To Exchange Currency Before You Leave Home

Many travelers, especially those flying a long distance and landing in a foreign country early in the morning or late at night when banks and currency exchange desks may be closed, prefer to acquire a small amount of foreign currency before they depart on a trip. Having the local equivalent of US $100 in your pocket is usually enough to pay for a cab ride to your destination, a snack, and small incidentals without having to search for a currency exchange open for business. In large cities, major banks and travel agencies sometimes feature a currency exchange desk. Some hotels also offer this as a courtesy, but their exchange rate is rarely as good as a bank's.

Where to Find the Best Currency Exchange Rates

To get the best exchange rate, wait until you arrive at your destination. While most major airports feature a currency exchange desk, you are likely to get a better rate directly from an ATM machine affiliated with a major bank. ATM cards most likely to work trouble-free overseas are those with a four-digit PIN number. Since you may be charged a usage fee by both the local bank and your home institution, it's advisable make one large instead of several small withdrawals whenever possible - and keep your cash in a safe place out of pickpockets' range.

Using a Credit Card to Exchange Currency

As long as you have a working PIN number, you can also use your credit or debit card to get cash overseas. Find out if there are credit card ATM machines where you will be traveling:
    •    MasterCard/Cirrus ATM Locator
    •    Visa ATM Locator
Having a credit card is especially useful when you travel. With one, it's unnecessary to carry large sums of money. Use a credit card rather than cash to pay for larger expenses, such as hotel bills and major purchases, since you will have a receipt of the transaction. If a bill is disputed, your credit card company may be able to help you settle the matter when you get home.

Do keep in mind, however, that the majority of credit card companies levy an additional fee for overseas usage. If you're not sure, check with your company before you leave home.

During International Orientation:
You will have an opportunity to go shopping for the basic necessities you will not be (or were not) able to carry with you on the plane. We recommend that you either have a credit card or cash readily available for this trip.

We are looking forward to meeting you!