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If stunning natural scenery and protected beaches are what you want out of your holiday, it may be time to get out of Australia’s larger cities and head for the suburb of Shellharbour, located just south of Sydney on a protected bay. Shellharbour’s close proximity to Lake Illawarra, quiet pace of life and world-class beaches make it a great spot to plan your next getaway in the Land Down Under.
But before you’ll be able to take advantage of all Shellharbour has to offer, you’ll need some Australian dollars in your wallet. If you plan on arriving in Australia with some of your home currency to exchange, read on to learn what you need to know about exchanging currency in Shellharbour.
Before going to any new country, a little research goes a long way. Here’s what you should know prior to your trip to Shellharbour.
At regular intervals both before and during your trip, you should be checking the mid-market rate, or the exchange rate that you see on Google or XE, between your home currency and the Australian dollar. And while this is the “real” exchange rate, be aware that it’s probably not the same rate you’ll get when you exchange currency in Australia. Currency exchange counters often charge a commission or fee, and on top of that, they almost always mark up the exchange rate so they can make a little more money off your exchange. Compare the rates you’re being offered to the mid-market rate using an online currency converter to see if you’re getting a good deal before you commit to an exchange counter.
Exchange rates are always changing, which is why you should check the mid-market rate so often both before and during your trip. You can also sign up for a rate tracker, which will send you alerts about changes to the mid-market rate between your home currency and AUD.
Before heading down under, give your bank a call to see if it has any partnerships with banks in Shellharbour. If so, you may be able to exchange currency there at a more favorable rate, or find an ATM where you can make withdrawals without fees.
If you use a debit or credit card or make withdrawals from a local ATM, always choose for the transaction to be displayed in AUD, not your home currency. While it may seem helpful to view the transaction in the currency that’s more familiar to you, this is actually something that is known as: dynamic currency conversion, which means the bank that owns the ATM or card terminal can set its own exchange rate, often much poorer than the mid-market rate. Choosing the local currency saves you money.
Places with high tourist traffic, like airports and hotels, tend to have the poorest exchange rates. While they’re convenient, try to hold out until you get to the city center, where you’re likely to find exchanges with much better rates.
It’s always a smart idea to make a budget for your holiday and stick with it. When you’re exchanging cash, it’s even more important, because exchanging leftover money back to your home currency means getting hit with marked up exchange rates twice and losing even more.
Exchange counters shouldn’t be hard to find in Shellharbour, but keep in mind that even if they advertise being “commission free,” you’re still paying for your currency exchange in the marked up exchange rate. Here are some places to check out for currency exchange in Shellharbour.
|Travel Money Oz
|Stockland MallLake Entrance Road Shellharbour, NSW
|1300 418 170
|According to Travel Money Oz, rates differ from the mid-market rate because¹ “Unless you’re buying and selling millions of dollars at a time, you’ll be purchasing your currency at retail rates, which are what we display in store and on our website.”
|Stockland Shopping Centre211 Lake Entrance RoadShellharbour
|02 4295 4327
|Travelex doesn’t use the mid-market rate, and notes online², “The market (or spot) exchange rate is the rate banks exchange currencies at. A lot of extra processes and people go into providing you with currency. The cost of these is reflected in the price of the currency.”
It’s impossible to exchange cash abroad without losing some money on fees. But there are some things to keep in mind to prevent you from over paying. Withdrawing cash from a local ATM will give you better rates, but you still usually have to pay ATM fees or foreign transaction fees. If you or someone you know has a bank account in Australia, transfer money there ahead of time with Wise. Wise moves money at the realmid-market rate, with no hidden fees. You just have to get to Australia, withdraw your cash and have a great holiday.
You can also open one of Wise’s borderless multi-currency accounts, which allows you to send, receive and manage money in 28 global currencies, including Australian dollars. You can also get a linked Wise debit Mastercard, which you can use your AUD balance to pay directly for goods and services, and beat ATM fees entirely.
Knowing how to manage your money while on holiday is an important step toward a stress free trip. Safe travels, and enjoy your time in Shellharbour!
¹https://www.travelmoneyoz.com/frequently-asked-questions/foreign-currency-explained, May 4, 2018
²https://www.travelex.com.au/rates, May 4, 2018
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