The Departure Tax Trap

One more thing about exchanging money. The goal is to change it once, so you don't lose money on two transactions. Still, before you spend that last Y2000 on the Ginza the morning of your departure, check with the hotel or your travel agent before flying as to whether or not the country has a departure tax. Many countries do charge some kind of a departure tax, but often times it is squirreled away inside the cost of your air ticket and you never even know you've paid it. In some places, however, you need to pay it separately, you need to pay it in local currency and you need to pay it at the airport just after you pass the last exchange booth. Plan ahead and hold back the right amount of money.

If you're a paranoid traveler like me, you'll even have an envelope with you already labeled “DEPARTURE TAX” and you'll slip the right amount of local money into the envelope right after you exchange your dollars on arrival and put the envelope aside. That way you can rest easy knowing the money is going to be there. Don't tell my wife; she prefers a more casual approach to these sorts of things, but that does not make for a good web site"€”oh yeah, save money, that's about it, have a great trip.”

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