How to Create a Currency Converter to Use when Travelling …

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Travelling overseas is exciting … new things to see and do, new foods to taste, new experiences to be had and usually some shopping to buy things either not available at home or some souvenirs to remind you of your trip.

 

But when you’re in another country dealing with another currency, it can be confusing and difficult to judge if you’re getting value for your money. Whenever I buy anything overseas I like to do a quick calculation to figure out how much I’m actually spending in Australian dollars so I can evaluate if what I’m buying is worth it. When I can, I ask hubby to do the calculation because he’s a wiz at Maths and figures it out in seconds. Me on the other hand, I usually get it wrong and sometimes have to resort to a calculator or counting fingers and toes!  So if you find yourself in the same boat, here’s a little trick I came up with years ago.

 

Before leaving home, I always create a mini Currency Converter that I laminate and carry in my purse, wallet or handbag to help me figure out exactly what I’m spending.

 

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It’s super easy and doesn’t take long. All you need to do is create a small chart in either Word or Excel.  In column one list a range of common amounts like 1.00, 5.00, 10.00, 25.00 and so on in the currency of the country you will be in.  Then in the second column list the corresponding amount that you’ve converted into your own currency.  To help with the calculations just use an online currency converter like: http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/.

 

The first screen looks like this, so all you need to do is type in the amount you would like to convert, select the currency for the country you will be in and then select the currency from your home country and hit the blue arrow.

 

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The next screen will display the conversion at the current rate.  Simply enter the different amounts and use these to create your Currency Conversion Chart.

 

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Just be aware that by the time you travel the conversion will never be absolutely exact because currencies fluctuate on a daily basis but it will at least give you a guide as to how much you are spending.  You can then make a judgement as to whether or not your purchase is good value.  I usually create my chart a couple of weeks before travel but put the final rates in only a day or two before we leave so that it’s as current as possible.  Once done, print, trim to size, laminate and put in your travel purse, wallet or luggage.

 

These are especially useful for kids if they are travelling without Mum or Dad for a sport or school trip.  Last year Miss 16 travelled to Dubai and Cyprus to play Netball representing her school.  It was an incredible opportunity and she was so excited for the experience but she was a little worried about understanding the currency.  She has travelled overseas with us many times but this was going to be the first time that she was completely responsible not just for her money but budgeting so it lasted her the whole trip.

 

Because she would need two currencies, i.e. Dirham for Dubai and Euro for Cyprus, we simply created two little charts, which she carried in her purse.  She used them several times a day and they were really simple and helpful.

 

The real beauty of these is that they take up virtually no room and you can create as many as you like if you are going to need more than one currency when you are away.  If you do decide to make one of these, here are a couple of extra little tips:

 

  • Remember to save the file to your computer so that you simply need to update and change the information each time you travel rather than having to make a new one from scratch.

 

  • Use a font that’s easy to read and create the information large enough so that you can read it quickly and easily.

 

  • Laminate the Currency Converters so that they are protected and last the trip.

 

  • Make one for everyone who is travelling as well as a couple of spares to keep in your luggage in case one or more gets lost.

 

  • When creating your Currency converter also take into account the size of wallets and purses and design it to fit comfortably.

 

Currencies can be incredibly confusing, even for adults, and this is a simple little trick that will help to overcome the confusion. So tell me, do you get frustrated trying to work out the value of your money when you travel and have you ever run out of spending money?

 

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy these other travel tips:

 

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Comments

  1. That is such a good idea. Some currencies are so difficult to mentally convert and like you say, you just get used to it and then the Aussie dollar does a dive and you have to recalculate. I found both the currency in Vanuatu and the currency in Bali a struggle xx

    • Thanks, Charlie … I get soooo confused by doing the conversions in my head when we’re away … this makes it so much easier. I’ve never had much of a head for maths! x

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