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Tech tips for travel #25 - The best currency and exchange rate App for travelling

If you are heading overseas, chances are you will be paying for stuff!
Chances are you will need to pay in their local coin.

Whilst we are heading toward a more and more cashless society and credit cards & Apps are great for shifting the burden of having to pay for everything in cash - you still need some cash in your pocket for all the little things in between. Take for example on arrival buying a drink, catching a cab or paying for local public transport, and grabbing a meal.

I like to have at least just a little bit of the local coin on hand before arriving ($50), and it is pretty common place to have a range of ATM's at the airport of your foreign destination - knowing the actual exchange rates is extremely important.

XE exchange rate App
My go to App for that is XE. These guys dominate the online world for getting an exchange rate fast, and their App doesn't miss a beat. It is fast, easy and clear as using the native iPhone calculator- just so much more powerful in converting up to 10 currencies at once. Best of all, its a free App, and I believe you can upgrade to the paid version to hold even more currencies.

Offline access
Also, if you haven't already bought your international or roaming sim card from dataGO, and you are stranded without mobile data (hardly likely if you are reading this blog!), the App works equally fine, except with the rate of when it was last connected.

Trip planning
I actually find I the main use of the app is when I'm still at home and planning my trip. This is normally when I'm first getting my head around how many clam shells I'll get for one of my hard earned Aussie dollars. XE makes this a breeze, and what I normally do is work out some rough calc to do in my head, normally along the lines of (obviously different for each rate!):
- taking the last two zeros off
- times by two or half (or what ever fits)
Always leaving for a bit of an allowance for exchange rate fees - more on that in a future blog post!

Whats your favourite travel App? Let me know in the comments and I'll add it too the list and review it.

Written by Peter Cain

Peter Cain is the Founder and CEO of, a company committed to making it easier and cheaper to stay connected whilst travelling. You can find him on Twitter and Google+. You can also find dataGO on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+ for all the latest info on local and roaming SIMs and data hotspots.

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