(Page last updated 01/18/2003)

How to exchange, carry, and protect your money.

Exchanging: Since information regarding your hotel and meal prices are likely to be provided in local currency you will need to know the exchange rate between your currency and theirs to understand what those costs will be.  You can find the current exchange rate between any currencies in the world on the Internet at: http://www.xe.com/ucc/full.shtml  This information, however, is only a guideline. You will find that depending on where you change your money (banks, for example, normally provide you a more favorable exchange rate than hotels) the exchange rate will vary.  It will also vary depending on the form in which you bring your money.  For example, on the African continent, the exchange rate for cash (especially the larger bills) is better than for Travelers Checks. Further, in some places Travelers Checks can only be changed at specified banks.  Please note that these are NOT universal guidelines.  In other parts of the world Travelers Checks can be exchanged at the same rate as cash.

Carrying and protecting your money:  So the choice the traveler frequently has to make is between the protection provided by using Travelers Checks and the expense associated with a slightly reduced (2-4%) exchange rate.  Whether you carry cash or Travelers Check, it is safer to use a money belt instead of putting the money in your purse or wallet.  Then, upon arriving at your hotel, you should ask if they have a Safe in which guests can place their money.  And, if you are paying the hotel bill in cash, considering exchanging the money right away and paying the hotel bill in advance. However, before exchanging money, speak to the conference/mission leaders and ask for their counsel.