I’ve written about this many times in the past but it’s been over five years and with so many Americans traveling internationally again, it’s a good reminder. There’s a dirty little trick that many vendors play around the world to make more money from you when you shop. After you swipe, insert or tap your credit card or tap your phone to pay for something, a salesclerk or the machine will ask if you want to pay in U.S. dollars or the local currency.

Paying in U.S. dollars might seem to be the smarter and more convenient option but it’s not. In fact, it’s a total rip-off, since the retailer will charge a higher exchange fee than your bank back home does. So always pay in the local currency of the country you’re in. The same goes for ATM machines as my buddy Zach Honig just pointed out in a recent Instagram post. As Zach says: He saved $70 by tapping one button (decline conversion).


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by @ZachHonig (@zachhonig)


Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.

The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

4 Comments On "How to Avoid Being Ripped Off When Traveling Internationally"
  1. Ted Eckman|

    Hi Johnny,

    The link to the ATM video doesn’t seem to work. Just an FYI.


    1. Johnny Jet|

      Hi Ted,

      It works for me. Maybe try a different browser or you have to be logged into Instagram?

  2. Doug Copeland|

    If you decline conversion at the ATM will you still get the money? How will you know the conversion rate?

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Yes, you will still get the money. You’re just declining the ATM’s conversion to USA. You want your bank’s conversion

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *