MORE MILEAGE ON THE MARK
If you find yourself in a foreign country, you normally get the best rate of exchange in banks. Sometimes, however, post offices give you better value for your money if they are prepared to change foreign currency (France, for instance). Black markets can be even more profitable, but a wise PT is careful not to get cheated, nor to run foul of the law. Apply common sense and prudence. In Hungary or South America, you’ll always get a fast shuffle from street money changers.
Large international hotels generally offer the worst rate of exchange. But they are open 24 hours a day and very seldom charge any commission. For a quick cash infusion in the middle of the night, they are better than the street people who whisper “change money”.
Where to change money? As a rule of thumb, change your cash in the country where the currency you are carrying is stronger, worth more, higher esteemed and more stable than the currency you want. Gunter is travelling to Istanbul from his home in Frankfurt. The German mark is a strong currency. The Turkish lira is not. Gunter gets more mileage on his mark if he waits until he is in Turkey before exchanging it. The same is true between Switzerland and Italy. You get two per cent more changing Swiss francs in Italian banks. Normally, banks located in airports operate the same rates of exchange as those downtown. However, in some countries (Portugal, Morocco, etc) their charges and commissions tend to be much higher.