Avoid Sorting Your Currency at the Airport
It's a common mistake: when you're so busy scrambling to organise your life before a trip, you completely forget to organise currency for wherever it is you're flitting off to. But, if you can help it, try not to panic and sprint to the nearest currency conversion booths in the airport. They tend to sting you between 10% and 26% higher exchange rates than other places, which can throw your budget completely off course.
Your best bet is to wait until you're out of the airport, where you can do a bit of research and find the best deal with the lowest fees. Or, even better, plan ahead and start researching conversion fees before your trip. If you see that there's a good rate, get the cash out before you leave for the airport.
Take It Easy With Card Transactions
If you look into the fine-print of most debit or credit cards, you'll find that your bank charges you a small conversion fee per overseas transaction. So, if you're using your card every time you eat out or buy a little treat, those fees can start to become a problem for the money-conscious travellers.
To keep the fees to a minimum, you're better off getting a good chunk of your spending money out at the ATM. Sure, they'll likely still charge you a fee, but it'll be contained to that one transaction and if you take out enough cash, you'll be less inclined to use your card more than a few times for the entire holiday.
Hunt For a Decent Travel Card
The first few times I went overseas, I relied heavily on my travel cards.Your preferred bank will usually give you two — one to keep on you and one to store safely in your luggage — so the chances of you being stranded overseas, cardless and penniless, is immediately halved. You can also lock in an exchange rate before you jet off, which helps you avoid the unpredictable exchange rate.
Keep in mind, a lot of travel cards do have fees depending on who you're with and the transactions they're making, but banks will tell you just what those fees are to avoid them sneaking their way into your travel budget unannounced.
Another thing to be wary of is that once the currency is locked in, you can't score a lower deal which might not be the right decision for everyone.