2

My parents are traveling to Israel, Jordan, and Egypt for a short trip [2 weeks] from India. The travel agency they travel with wants them to convert Indian Rupees(INR) to US Dollars(USD) for their travel and convert to local currency (Shekels for Israel) and others when they arrive in the country they are visiting.

I'm not sure if this is the usual procedure. But I do not see much of an alternative as they don't use credit cards or international debit card so carrying cash is the only options.

Two question,

  • Is it normal to carry US dollar to these places as it would be easier to convert them there?
  • Would it be better to convert them to local currency to the country they are visiting directly from Indian rupees before reaching there?

Edit.

They will not be carrying anything over $1500 since all the hotel booking, food, and tickets have been paid for and booked by the travel agency.

The cash they will be carrying is only for personal use.

  • Stating the obvious here, but each time you convert currency, you are losing something - fees, commission, spread, etc. You lose money when you convert INR to USD, then again when you convert USD to ILS, etc. And any leftover USD will need to be converted back to INR upon return. – Mike Harris May 13 '18 at 20:42
2

A multi currency foreign exchange card is the best option. I've used it when travelling from India. I understand the reluctance of an older person to use a card, but it is safer than carrying cash and you lose less money everytime you convert. In your case, when using cash, you pay a conversion charge twice - from Rupee to Dollar and then from Dollar to the local currency. At some exchange points the exchange rate you get will be a rip off.

  • Yes, I was looking it it as well. But I couldn't find a exchange card that had the local currency. So i would have to load it as USD and then convert them to local currencies? there by paying the conversion charge only once? – thebenman May 14 '18 at 5:48
  • All multicurrency cards ( I use HDFC) are denominated in US$ but have no conversion charge when that is converted to any local currency, – Deans May 14 '18 at 5:58
  • That's great I'm looking into my bank(ICICI)'s forex card as well. Could you please tell me where I'll be able to get it converted into local currency. Will I be able to do it in places which convert cash? Since you say it doesn't have any charges I'm curious as to what's in them. I read it can be withdrawn at local currency any Visa/MasterCard ATM at a 1-2$ fee. – thebenman May 14 '18 at 6:12
  • 1
    You can use it at any place that accepts a master or visa card and at any ATM. ATM withdrawal charges do apply. – Deans May 14 '18 at 6:14
3

Its common to carry US$ and convert in local currency. Every mall will have plenty of places to exchange. But carrying around large sums of cash (for a whole trip) is very uncommon and dangerous. Depending on the amount they might have to declare it at customs and face a few questions.

I recommend a Credit card as a back up and for expenses like accommodation etc. or as mentioned travelers checks etc.

2

You don’t say how much cash your parents are planning to take or how long they’ll be spending in each country. For security reasons a better option would be taking US$ travellers cheques and a small amount of each of the local currencies for convenience when your parents first arrive. In Egypt, it seems that US$ cash is recommended. https://www.worldtravelguide.net/guides/africa/egypt/money-duty-free/ Hotels often ask for a credit card when checking in as a deposit against incidentals etc. so it would be worth asking the travel agent about this to avoid any awkwardness on arrival.

  • 2
    I haven't personally used Traveler's Checks for decades, but many people have said on Travel.SE that they are no longer accepted at many places. – WGroleau May 13 '18 at 20:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.