Changing foreign currency into your home currency is usually simple but somewhat expensive. Dealers who exchange currencies charge a premium when you buy or sell foreign currencies. Most foreign currencies are denominated in American dollars, so the prices for foreign currencies are usually quoted in U.S. dollars. Find the closest bid and offer prices for the fairest deal.
Things You'll Need
- Foreign currency
Convert from dollars to foreign currency. Use the exchange rate and a calculator to determine how to change from dollars to a foreign currency. Most currencies are quoted in dollars, for instance Swiss francs might be worth 85 cents or 0.85 dollars. Each dollar is worth 1 divided by 0.85 or about 1.18 Swiss francs. Take the price of a foreign item and multiply it by the value of the currency in dollars to determine how many dollars to pay. For instance, an item costing 25 Swiss francs should cost 25 times 0.85 cents, which equals $21.25.
Don't over-convert. When you travel to a foreign country, it is a good idea to convert some dollars to the local currency for cabs, bus rides and tips, but many items and services can be purchased with a credit card that will convert the currency for you. Each time you convert between dollars and a foreign currency, the exchange will cost you money. Would you carry a thousand dollars in your purse for a trip to the local mall? Do you feel safer carrying a thousand dollars to a foreign destination?
Keep extra dollars on hand. Many foreign merchants will readily deal in American dollars and are keenly aware of exchange rates. Check the foreign exchange rate in dollars before you leave so you know if you are getting a good deal.
Spend the change. It is difficult or impossible to exchange coinage outside of the foreign country where it is used. Don't count on being able to get dollars back for foreign coins. Spend the coins or plan on keeping them for souvenirs.
Use a bank or foreign exchange service. You will be given two prices--one for buying the foreign currency and one for selling the foreign currency. The dealer will "sell high" and "buy low" to make a profit. The closer the bid and offer prices, the better the deal. For instance, a vendor who will buy and sell British pounds at $1.45 and $1.65 is not giving as good a deal as one who will buy and sell at $1.50 and $1.60. Larger currency transactions should be made with the tightest bid/offer available.