The best bang for your buck abroad

Trade your dollars for euros without the fees that can turn your bills into change.

By Carolyn Bigda, Money Magazine writer-reporter

(Money Magazine) -- With today's weak dollar, you need all the help you can get when traveling abroad. Here are a few tips on how to squeeze that last euro out of your greenback.

Put it on plastic

Your best best is to use a credit or debit card. A typical cost of €1 after fees is $1.35 to $1.39 You generally get the wholesale exchange rate, which is the best conversion available. (Recently one euro went for $1.35.) Fees tend to be 3 percent or less.

Star players are Capital One and Discover. Both are free of exchange fees.

Hit the ATM

Your next best bet is to get cash from the ATM. A typical cost of €1 after fees is $1.40. Again, you get the wholesale rate, with minimal fees - 1 percent to 3 percent, often in addition to a flat charge of $1 to $5 per withdrawal.

Check ahead to see whether your bank has affiliates at your destination; you'll pay less on those machines.

Star players are Citibank because it charges no fees at its ATMs abroad; Bank of America charges no fees at some affiliated ATMs.

Do leave home without them

Warning: Leave your traveler's checks and prepaid cards at home A typical cost of €1 after fees is $1.45 and up. The exchange rate on traveler's checks is 6 percent to 10 percent over wholesale; up-front fees can hit 1.5 percent. Most merchants no longer take them, so you may pay even more charges to cash them at a currency exchange.

Prepaid cards cost $5 to $15, and the exchange rate is wholesale plus 2 percent to 7 percent. They aren't always accepted, and you'll pay to use them at the ATM. Top of page

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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.