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Generally, if we were traveling on our own, we'd make sure we carried a sufficient amount of cash, especially for things like bus fare, taxis, local guides, etc. However, since all of these things are included in your tour, it won't be as necessary to carry a large amount of currency.

Having a little bit of cash on hand is certainly helpful for small purchases, or if you find yourself in a place that does not accept credit cards. Just keep in mind, if you lose your wallet, cash can't be replaced, but credit cards can be canceled and will offer protection for you if someone makes an unauthorized purchase.

For those reasons, we suggest that you...

Resist the urge to buy foreign currency before you leave

  • Exchange rates are usually pretty bad, here in the States.  Besides, we've never been to a major airport that didn't have plenty of ATMs - we will also have plenty of access to ATMs in all the cities we visit.

  • If you feel compelled to start out with some cash, make it a small amount

    • AAA can do this, cheaply - $10 fee if converting less than $200. Make sure you order from them a couple weeks before the trip.

Avoid exchanging currency abroad

  • You'll be charged anywhere from 8% to 15%. It's a big rip-off

Consider bringing the following...

  • ATM card

    • When used as a credit card, conversion is automatically done​

    • Call the bank to tell them the card will be used overseas, so they don’t block it due to a fraud red flag

    • Find out if you have a limit on how much you can withdraw, daily. You may want to ask for a higher limit and then take out more cash at one time to avoid more transaction and/or ATM fees

  • Personal credit card

    • Call the credit card company to tell them the card will be used overseas, so they don’t block it due to a fraud red flag

  • A backup credit card, for emergencies, that you keep separate from your wallet and/or other cards and cash

    • Trust us. If it's possible to do this, do it. It would have bailed out Mo when he lost his wallet in England, only 3 days into a two-week trip.

  • Pouch for storing money and passport under clothing

    • available at travel stores and at AAA

  • In general, try to not use cash whenever possible. Any cash or coins you bring back are likely to be expensive souvenirs. Most banks won't exchange currency back to dollars in amounts less than $100.​​

By the way...

  • In many other countries (European countries, in particular), they write prices using a comma instead of a period. Just throwing that out there to remove confusion.

    • e.g. U.S. = $3.90; Euro = 3,90€​

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