Should I change most of my money in my home country or in the destination country? baht to canadian dollars....change in thailand or canada
Where can I get more favourable exchange rate, in general?changing baht to Canadian dollars in Thailand or Canada or make a bank transfer to my Canadian account
You might want to edit your question a bit if some of the answers which answer to more than just literally changing money are closer to what you actually wanted to ask.
possible duplicate of When traveling to a country with a different currency, how should you take your money?
No matter where you change, it's more important into what you change. Inform yourself what currencies are allowed in the visiting country. I was in Lima and couldn't change Canadian dollars, not even at the bank. They only allowed USD or Euro. Also, see this question where someone couldn't change Serbian dinars in Macedonia.
It should definitely be home country or destination country, ***and not at the airport*** if you can help it (unless you pre-booked online and just collect the cash at the airport). Airport exchanges usually know they have a captive market and give bad rates, much less favourable than the rates they give if you pre-book.
This varies very much depending on your country of origin and your destination. Best exchange rate mean lowest spread, but keep in mind, that some banks apart of the spread, also charge extra commissions.
Keeping that in mind, there are some general tendencies. Exchange rates, from best, to worst:
- electronic transactions (i.e. transactions made directly with the credit card). These usually have the lowest spread (or none at all for major currencies) and typically using major credit cards there is no extra commission. This is the preferred option when you're traveling in developed countries.
- cash withdrawal (usually ATM, note however, that on rare occasions when paying with card, it'll be actually charged as cash withdrawal). This usually has decent spread, some banks charge commissions, some don't. Your Mileage May Vary. Check availability of ATMs accepting your cards beforehand. In some exotic countries you'll only get them at main airport. (btw. some banks/ATM operators charge fixed or minimum fee per transaction, so it's better to make one bigger withdrawal, than a number of smaller ones).
- money exchange at your bank, i.e. withdrawing money from your account in other currency. Problem with that is, that it's impractical to carry around large quantities of cash when you're traveling.
- local money exchange, least favorable, but in really exotic countries that might be your only option. Especially when you're in situation, that you've run out of local currency and you're not anywhere close to civilization.
The exception are countries, where the money is not fully and freely interchangeable. In that case most often black-market exchange will give you much more than the official ones at banks. However, using black-market you're exposing yourself to fraud.
Slightly misleading. ATM withdrawals may offer a great exchange rate, but may charge significant fees at both ends. Your bank may not stock target currency (even if they do, rate could be bad, e.g. buying THB outside of Thailand or RMB outside of China). Local exchanges are not necessarily bad, especially if you can shop around (major disadvantage is carrying cash).
@dbkk: I did mention that you might be charged commission for ATMs. But like I've said, YMMV.
What is most favourable strongly depends on you home country. For people from Europe, credit card purchases almost always cost more than ATM withdrawal. Local money exchange *can* be the most favorable option, in countries where the black market money prices are more in line with reality than official government inflated prices.
@Jacco: I'd disagree. I've had CCs from quite a few banks in 3 different European countries. And the thing they had in common: CC purchases were always cheaper than ATM withdrawal. At least according to bank's fees and commissions. Some 3rd party might charge you extra for CCs, but that's against Visa & MC rules.
@vartec, try visiting countries in West Africa with your Credit Card and see whats cheaper compare it to East Africa and rates will be different again. Then try again in Russia or Kazakhstan, you might be surprised about the differences.