Changing currency before leaving the country is one of the smartest ways to save money when you travel.
You will almost always pay more money when you exchange money abroad, so you want to make sure you take care of your currency exchange needs before you take off. It would be a great idea to exchange currency at least a few days before you depart to make sure you have the funds needed in advance.
There are a few popular places to exchange money. I’ll list them below:
Currency Exchanges Near Me
1. Exchange currency at your bank
Your bank should be one of your first places to go to exchange currency. If you belong to a big bank, you should be able to visit their currency exchange locations fairly easily.
How do you locate a bank currency exchange near you?
Here are a few links to popular banks in America. If you belong to one of the banks, click the link and you’ll be sent to a website to search for a nearby currency exchange.
Bank of America : With Bank of America, select the currency that you want to exchange and then type in the amount you want to convert. It will tell you how much money you will receive in U.S dollars. Then click on the link “find a banking center” link to find a currency exchange near you.
If you wish to exchange U.S. dollars into a foreign currency, you can. You will need to ORDER the amount of money you wish to receive. The maximum amount of money you can order is $10 000 USD every 30 days with Bank of America. Use this link to order foreign currency with Bank of America.
Note: You’ll need either a checking or savings account with Bank of America in order to order foreign currency. If you don’t have one and would like to exchange currency with Bank of America, you can open an account with them.
Wells Fargo : Wells Fargo is another popular bank that offers currency exchange. At Wells Fargo, you can order your foreign currency online and not have to leave your home.
Use this link to order foreign currency online at Wells Fargo. Note: You will need a checking or savings account with Wells Fargo in order to purchase foreign currency online.
Their online currency exchange is quick and easy to use.
If you do not want to order foreign currency online with Wells Fargo, then you can visit a Wells Fargo in person and order foreign currency. Use this link to find a Wells Fargo near you.
If you belong to any other bank or credit union, most of them offer foreign exchange (whether you’re looking to convert USD to a foreign currency or a foreign currency to USD). Converting foreign currency to USD requires a trip to your bank/credit union to perform the transaction. Exchanging USD for foreign currency can be done online at some banks/credit unions, or you can order your currency and pick it up at a nearby bank you specify.
How to find the closest bank to you?
There are 2 ways you can find the nearest bank that you belong to:
- Use Google: Go to www.google.com and type in “Chase bank Chicago” for example. You would change “Chase” with the name of the bank you belong to, and “Chicago” with the city you want to exchange currency in. Google will show you a map of “nearby Chase Banks”. You can navigate the map to find the nearest currency exchange near you.
- Use a bank locator: You can use this link to find any bank in America. It’s a website that helps people locate nearby banks. All you’ll need to do is type in your banks name, and then click on “branch and ATM locator”, and then your zip code, and an interactive map will show you all the nearby banks in your area to exchange currencies from.
Most banks offer currency exchange. If you aren’t sure if your bank/credit union does or not, visit their website for more information or give them a phone call.
Currency Exchange Stores
The other great place to exchange currency is currency exchange centers or currency exchange kiosks. There are many companies that exchange currencies, and there might even be one right around the corner from where you are right now.
Locating them is a little tricky because there isn’t a “nearby currency exchange center” locator/website (at least that I know of).
But, I’ll leave you a link with one of the most recognizable currency exchange companies in the U.S., Travelex.
Travelex is a very popular place to exchange currency. Their locations cover almost the entire U.S., making finding a nearby currency exchange less difficult.
With Travelex, you can purchase foreign currency online and have it sent to your home, or to be picked up at one of their stores (you’ll specify which store you want to pick the money up from). I think that’s pretty cool that you have the option to buy foreign currency and have it sent to your home.
You can visit Travelex’s website by using this link. It’s a link to find Travelex currency locations near you (or order online for home delivery).
The other way to find foreign currency exchange locations near you is to simply to go to Google and type in currency exchange (and then city name). You’ll get a list of a lot of different places that offer currency exchange, including banks, credit unions, and currency exchange specialists like Travelex and more.
If you’re staying at a hotel and need to exchange money, check with guest services to see if they offer foreign currency exchange at the hotel. Some hotels chains and some locations will provide this service.
You can probably expect to pay higher fee’s for exchanging money at a hotel. But the convenience of walking down to the lobby and then walking back up to your room can be pretty nice, since you won’t need to leave your hotel.
If you are at the airport or near an airport, they will have currency exchange centers (usually located everywhere). They, like hotels, also typically charge higher fee’s for their service. You also have the option to exchange currency at airports as a kind of last resort, if you forget or ran out of time to do it at home.
The nice thing about changing money at Airports is that they have foreign cash on hand and you won’t need to order it like you typically would at a place like a bank.
24 Hour Currency Exchanges
If you are desperately needing to change currency and your bank is closed and just about anywhere you can think of to change money is closed, then you’ll need to visit a 24 hour currency exchange center near you.
The yellow pages is a good place to look for a nearby 24 hour currency exchange location.
Here is a link to the yellow pages. The search field is already set to find nearby currency exchange locations. All you need to do is change the city name (currently set to Chicago) to the city you are in.
Exchanging Currency Abroad
If you are abroad and need to get local currency, I suggest visiting an ATM or visiting a currency exchange kiosk. In my experience, these places tend to charge the lowest prices and have the lowest fee’s compared to other alternatives.
To find a currency exchange nearby while abroad, ask a local or speak to someone at your hotel. Banks and ATM’s are prevalent in virtually all countries and locating one shouldn’t be too difficult.
Keep in mind not all ATM’s worldwide will accept your debit card.
If you travel frequently, consider getting a travel credit card that either gives you travel rewards or no foreign transaction fee when using the card.
Or open a bank account that gives you travel privileges like no fee’s for withdrawing money while abroad, or reduced fee’s for these types of transaction.