Personal Expenses Abroad
You'll want to make sure that you have enough money with you to carry you through your study abroad program. How much that is, however, depends on your lifestyle choices and how you spend money. A good rule is to expect to spend twice as much abroad for an item as you would at home. Toiletries, clothing, food and beverages tend to be much more expensive around the world particularly in Western Europe than they are in the U.S.
Track your spending habits for a few months in advance of your program to help figure out how much money you'll need.
Accessing Money Abroad
The best way to get money overseas is through ATM withdrawals. This usually ensures the best exchange rate and helps you avoid carrying lots of cash. Check with your bank before using your ATM or debit card to determine whether there is a fee for using it in another country.
Credit cards are useful when traveling abroad, but keep in mind that not all small shops will accept cards. Look for a card that does not charge a foreign transaction fee, which is an additional fee tacked on to every purchase you make with the credit card. Compare cards to find theat one that is right for you, including the interest rate, if you think you will carry a balance.
You should always inform your bank and credit card company when you plan to travel, so your debit card or credit card is not declined because your company mistakenly thinks your card was stolen. Call them in advance of your trip with your travel dates.
You can check out currency conversion rates at XE.com.