Travel Tips

Travelers’ Cheat Sheet for Converting Currencies in Your Pocket

Trying to figure out how much anything costs in your native currency is the last thing you want to do when you’re on vacation. By how much should I multiply this? What is the result of multiplying this number by? Is it better to add a little or take away a little?

The Oanda Currency Cheat Sheet (also known as fxCheatSheet) was a low-tech printout of currency conversion numbers that we discovered many years ago. However, I always carry this handy currency conversion cheat sheet in my wallet, even if you could use Google or a foreign exchange app.

It’s the Oanda currency converter that started it all.

Our most recent version was inspired by Oanda’s original pocket-sized currency conversion cheat sheet. Oanda is a Canadian foreign exchange company.

People who are familiar with these devices and wonder where they’ve gone may find a piece of history and nostalgia here.

Discovering Them for the First Time

For whatever reason, I ended up using their currency converter during our big summer backpacking journey across Asia. Like Xe.com, they provided real-time currency conversions from around the world.

There were no problems, but Oanda’s “Traveler’s Cheatsheet” and the ability to enter an interbank rate set them apart from Xe.

Converting Currencies on the Go

Oanda has improved their cheat sheet over time. It began as the Oanda fxCheatSheet, then Traveler’s CheatSheet, and finally became a currency conversion tool.

Cheat sheet was still included in the Oanda currency converter’s final version

You could tell that the Oanda cheat sheet wasn’t as important as it was a few years ago.

What Happened to the Equipment?

When it was first launched, a fantastic printed currency converter vanished. Oanda decided to discontinue the platform by the end of 2021 because of a shift in priorities and a need to upgrade the user experience.

If Oanda has any plans to bring it back, we’ve tried contacting them a few times and haven’t heard back.

Now that it’s gone, we can safely conclude it’s gone for good. That is, until one of our readers came up with a brilliant idea!

Travelers now have access to a brand-new currency conversion cheat sheet.

Despite the ease with which applications and cellular data may be accessed, our years of travel have taught us that quick cheat sheets on currency exchange are an absolute necessity.

New currency conversion cheat sheet construction

Oanda’s cheat sheet inspired reader Karen Golec to create her own Excel tool for the same purpose.

All we did was spruce it up and make it more user-friendly in Google Sheets for her.

Calculating Exchange Rates with a Simple Excel Spreadsheet

There are a few differences between the printable currency converter and how it worked before:

You’ll have to use a program like Xe or Oanda to get the current currency rates. The tool will ask you to input these details.

You’ll have to use Google’s print options to acquire the desired results when printing the sheet. Our proposal is to change the orientation to vertical and scale it to 50%-60%.

In order to accommodate higher-denomination currencies like the Japanese Yen and the Indian Rupee, a new row has been introduced. Up until date, the cheat sheet has been limited to a total of 50,000.

For Canadian credit cards, an interbank rate of 2.5 percent was added.

An explanation of how to use a currency conversion table

Many numbers appear on the cheat sheet. It’s up to the traveler to decide how to use this currency converter.

If you’re looking to go from Canadian Dollars to Euros, this is a good example to use.

This is where you’ll look if you’re in a European Union country such as Holland. If you’re planning to use your credit card to make a $500 purchase and want to know how much it will cost you, you’ll find that it comes to $706.15 CAD.

What about the left side of the room? When the interbank rate is taken into account, this is exactly the opposite of what you see on the right side. Unless you’re in a pinch and need to know how much your local currency (in this case, CAD) is worth in EUR, this section of the cheat sheet will be of little value to you.

However, since the interbank rate is set to 3%, which is the average for most credit card overseas transaction fees, the rate isn’t the most accurate. Costs for currency exchange at a kiosk will be substantially higher (5 percent ).

What is the rate of exchange between banks?

When referring to the cost that financial institutions (such as banks, credit card companies, and currency exchange kiosks) tack on to the true exchange rate, we’re referring to what Oanda calls the interbank rate. To put it another way, there’s a cost for each transaction.

For the most part, this is a good rule of thumb;

  • 2 percent is the ATM fee.
  • The typical fee for using a credit card is three percent (in Canada the foreign transaction fee is 2.5 percent )
  • The fee for using an exchange kiosk might be as much as five percent.

As a result of this flexibility, you can choose whether to use a credit card, an ATM, or a cash exchange kiosk to make your purchases.

A printable currency cheat sheet is better than an app because it’s smaller and more convenient.

This is, without a doubt, the colossus in the room. Using this tool, entering the numbers, printing and laminating it is a painstaking process.

Most of the time, it’s because people like to have something to hold on to when they’re traveling. In order to have a good understanding of how much something costs, you’re ready to forsake real-time market data.

Because the interbank rate may be used, you can receive a more accurate sense of how much something will truly cost you when you use the currency conversion cheat sheet.

Finally, if you are concerned about your safety in a crowded market, you can avoid pulling out your phone by using a printout like this.

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