Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dealing with Currency Exchange Fluctuations in Planning Your Links Golf Trip

Planning for an overseas golf trip involves limiting the risk of currency fluctuations that can potentially turn the team planner’s budget into a nightmare. As the planner, you want to be able to tell your potential golf travelers exactly what the trip is going to cost them. Here are three steps for you to assure your trip members of no surprises.

Step 1. Open an account with a bank in the country to which you are traveling. Since 911 there are strict requirements for opening such accounts. You will be required to supply at least one, possibly two, forms of photo identification, such as a copy of your drivers license and passport. The bank will also require two to three verifications of your address such as copies of utility bills or bank statement page showing your name and address. In some countries, it will be required for you to have your banker act as a sponsor by giving written verification that he personally knows you and that he knows that you have maintained an account in good standing with his bank for a required length of time.

Step 2. Watch currency exchange rates in the newspaper or online. Develop a sense of what is a high and what is a low exchange rate for the given currency. You can determine a history by going to and click on history. There you can research what a currency has done against the dollar in chart form for everyday for a number of years back.

Step 3. When you see the currency has gotten in a favorable relationship to the dollar, call your banker (you need to deal with an international currency exchange dept. such as Wachovia in Charlotte, N.C) that has the capability of purchasing currency, debiting your account, and then wire transferring the funds to your overseas account. (In 2008, I was able to fix our Euro cost at 1.50 dollars/euro by purchasing when rates were in a trough. By the time we left, rates were at 1.58). To do this you will need to get your travelers to make deposits on the trip to provide funds for the purchase.

If all this seems too complicated, you can go to the same international currency exchange bank and purchase an option to buy the currency you will need at a future date just before your trip date. This is a more expensive option and will not give you the best rate of exchange.

Making purchases and getting cash with an overseas account will be simpler while you are in the trip country because you are not charged an exorbitant exchange rate each time you need cash. Another advantage with an account overseas is that you can write checks and mail them with a 94 cent air mail stamp. Delivery will be less than one week on such inexpensive mailings. You can also get a debit card with the account that can be used and avoid all postage charges. Good luck and good travel.

The Secretary
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