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Vacation extras, experience more: a guide to money essentials while travelling

Have you ever had a nightmare about travelling abroad and the ATM ate your card, while you were just about to get some cash out to take your loved ones out to dine? The bank is closed and opens the next morning which is roughly half a day later, in the restaurant they might only speak the local language and your companion is starting to feel embarrassed… 

Let’s see another case: half of the city is closed down due to the marathon and tomorrow is a national holiday. You wish to get some souvenirs before you leave and you hardly have any local currency left, therefore you need to find a way to get hold of some money. The best is always to have a plan B, especially when it comes to your hard-earned travel savings. In the world of the digital era, it might feel crucial to take the time to prepare for some worst-case scenarios before you leave home and plan how to troubleshoot in a foreign country. Luckily, Interchange Group is here to help, being one of the world’s leaders in currency exchange for both private and corporate customers.

There is the golden rule for carrying your money: don’t carry the whole amount with you, in case you get robbed or misplace your pocket, you will end up with no cash at all. US dollars, British pounds and Euros are the easiest currencies to change, particularly in the developing world. Keep enough aside to support yourself for several days. Use smaller-denomination bills, so you don’t have change everything. To make things nice and easy for you, many of the Interchange branches in airports, railway stations and city locations are open 24 hours day, seven days a week, you can find 17 in the city centre and 6 at the Liszt Ferenc International Airport, so you don’t have to worry from the moment you arrive to Budapest.

Remember: changing money on the street is a great way to get ripped off – especially if you’re unfamiliar with the local currency. Always be sure to exchange foreign currency with a recognised trader, such as Interchange as you will always find better rates on exchanging foreign currency if you plan in advance.

There are many ways to buy foreign currency, Interchange is offering cash advance on debit and credit cards and also a buy-back guarantee in case you have some leftover notes. However you need to request the service in advance - practically on arrival - and also make sure to keep your receipt when you exchange.

Cash advance on debit and credit cards is great for sticking to your travel budget with the same benefits as debit cards, such as emergency cash. You’ll find the Interchange branded ATMs in the airports they operate in, as well as in the city locations: they’re fast, easy and available, 24/7. And one more essential tip: never let your card out of your sight and always check the layout of the keypad on the ATM. Loads of travellers lose their cards by entering the right pattern but the wrong numbers on a foreign ATM keypad.

If all other options fail, you could always ask someone to wire you money. Western Union money transfers are also available in almost all Interchange branches, you can receive a wire transfer from home in just a few minutes. Just make sure you have an understanding friend or family member, who can help you out!

While shopping in Hungary, make sure to shop in stores with Tax Free signs in shop windows and have your passport with you, ask for the VAT Tax Refund Document at each store you shop and fill in the documents with your details and keep all your receipts safe. 

In case of VAT Refunds, Interchange acts as an agent for refund agents Global Blue and Premier Tax Free. You can present the refund agent’s forms at any of their VAT locations, and instantly exchange them for cash.  A small fee will be applied by the VAT companies for all cash refunds. This service is available if you are Non-EU resident and stay less than 90 days in the EU and your purchase exceeded the amount of 175 EUR/purchase. Remember: you must request VAT refund from the vendor and the product has to be shown in original condition to the customs officer.

In operation since 1990 the Interchange Group served 3,300,000 customers annually, handling €550 million across 15 countries, including 9 major airports, 136 branches and numerous ATMs.  It also has a network of more than 1,200 Western Union agencies, therefore you will be in safe hands in Hungary too.

We wish you a pleasant stay in Budapest!

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