It varies in size, shape, texture and color. But most importantly, it varies in value. Believe it or not, where you exchange your currency can make a big difference in the translation of that value. We’re talking a BIG difference. So here’s the #1 way to avoid getting ripped off on the exchange rate:

Don’t exchange your money at airport exchange booths, rail or bus stations, hotels, restaurants or stores. Their hours may be better, the convenience might be nice, but you’ll end up with less cash in your pocket. Like up to 10% less.

Stick with banks and exchange services when converting your money. And exchange some of your currency at home, before even stepping foot on the plane.

Surprisingly, you can really beat the system by sticking to plastic. Credit card exchange rates are extremely competitive. Why? They’re based on wholesale rates rather than rates typically offered to consumers.

Exchange Rates

Want to find out what 100 American dollars translate to in Fiji dollars? How about Moscow? Hong Kong? Here are three sites to visit to find out:

Pacific Exchange

Universal Currency Converter

Yahoo Finance

And if you want to go ahead and exchange your money right now, over the Internet, at better rates than you’ll probably find at a bank, click here: