Americans traveling to India need not worry about looking around for places to exchange their dollars for Indian rupees. There is help close at hand, right at the airport. American tourists may exchange currency at any of the currency exchange booths that are inside the airport before you exit the customs area. Remember that once you exit the airport you will not be allowed to come back to the exchange booth.
- Always exchange your dollars at authorized dealers such as Thomas Cook or American Express outlets. Most of the banks also have the authority to deal with exchange of American currency.
- Make sure you get the receipt for the currency exchange. This receipt is of great importance since it proves the source of your funds. The receipt will clearly show details of the amount of dollars that were converted to Indian rupees and the rate of exchange that you were offered.
- Be cautious and do not trust frauds who may promise you exchange rates that are higher than those offered by banks. If any offer sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true.
- There are many private currency exchange dealers who will give you a higher rate but with the condition that they will not give you a receipt for the transaction. Steer clear of such deals! With the recent efforts at demonetization by the government of India and the issue of new currency notes, it is best to keep valid receipts for all your transactions.
- You can carry your credit and debit cards to India but most credit cards will charge between 3% – 5% on all transactions which can add quite a bit to your expenses.
Prices in India are much lower when compared with the Western world. So it is not necessary to carry large amounts of money. If you know someone in India already or if you have a bank account in India, you could make a bank transfer using Transferwise, before you leave America. Transferwise will transfer money to the bank account in India using the actual mid-market exchange rate that will keep cash ready for you when you arrive. You can avoid paying the hidden fees.
- Opening a PayTM account is invaluable. If you have a friend in India or have your own bank account, you can have up to Rs. 10,000 on your account. This is very useful when you are travelling, to pay for train tickets, cabs, small purchases, and for recharging your mobile.
ALERT: Beware of fake currency notes. Since India banned old 500 and 1000 rupee notes from Nov, 2016, make sure you don’t get the old notes during money exchange. New Rs.500 and Rs.2000 have come into circulation.
Hope you found this article informative! Do check out “Differences between American and Indian Cultures”