Smart Money Traveler
If you are traveling to a foreign country, you will more than likely need foreign currency. This isn't always the case; some places in Canada, Mexico and Central America accept US currency, but there's a very savvy rule of thumb when money matters.
Currency exchange booths are available at most airports and train stations. Some people like to go to a main branch of their bank to buy foreign currency before they travel. The downside to using these two options is that both of these businesses charge you a percentage of the amount that you exchange as a fee. The more currency you buy, the more it costs you.
Here's a simpler money saving option.
You can't spend the foreign currency until you get to your destination, so why would you buy it before you get there? On the whole, airports handling international travelers have ATM machines at the baggage area; a place no one can get to unless they've already gone through security, a place which is under constant surveillance by camera and guard. The ATM's in the secured area of an airport are the first best option to purchase currency when you arrive at your destination.
Using an ATM cuts your foreign currency conversation rate down to nothing more than an ATM fee, a bank fee and sometimes a card fee, depending on your bank. All of them collectively shouldn't total more than $10 no matter how much you take out of the machine. You have money when you need it; as you are entering the country, and at a reasonable and set rate. If you've created a budget for your trip, you know how much you'll need each day, so get it when you arrive and if you need more money while you are abroad, stop into a bank and withdraw money from an ATM inside the bank; these are also carefully monitored and the chances of using one that has been tampered with is slim.
Another important tip is this: every time you swipe your bank card at a business in a foreign country, your bank will charge you a fee. It's a small percentage fee, usually, so to save these extra charges that can add up, use local currency instead of plastic. It decreases the chances that your bank card information will be stolen, it eliminates fees, and it may help you curb extra spending by sticking to the budget in your hand instead of the balance in your bank account.