It goes without saying that for safety, many like to have a wad of euros, dollars or lire in their overseas wallet before they jet off – in which case our TravelMoneyMax tool will do the job.
However, it may be cheaper to travel cashless and simply withdraw money from an ATM at your destination airport with a top travel credit card. Do this and you’ll benefit from near-perfect exchange rates (which’ll beat the rates offered on exchanging cash in advance).
However, bear in mind that it may be difficult to avoid ATM fees in certain countries. From our experiences at MSE Towers, we’ve seen ATM fees in Vietnam, Thailand, India, the US and elsewhere – though going cashless may still work out cheaper than taking cash even after factoring in the odd ATM fee.
Remember that if using a credit card overseas, almost all card providers will charge interest from the moment you make a cash withdrawal. To minimise this, pay off the balance IN FULL while abroad. Also see the point below in regards to the potential credit score impact of withdrawing cash on a credit card.
It’s also worth being aware that not all airports will have an ATM at arrivals. Others will have them but may charge fees or worse, not be in working order. If you do plan on travelling cashless, it may be worth researching the airport online before you go.