It’s frightening to travel without the correct types of currency, but it was much better to exchange it outside of the states. If we did it here, our bank would charge a $25 transaction fee, plus 3% exchange fees per each type of currency.
We used three different currencies while traveling. To keep ourselves organized, I handled the euros in Dublin, The Kid packed the pounds in Northern Ireland, and then I switched over to sterling at the Isle of Man. This way, we didn’t mix them up and we knew exactly what we had remaining.
Before we boarded our flights, we spent all our remaining money on bottles of water and bags of potato chips. This helped us immensely, as we always had a handy snack and water available, plus we spent all our money and didn’t need to exchange it again.
We initially withdrew cash at the first airport we arrived at, but found it was much easier, and cheaper just to use the ATMs around town- both in Dublin and in London. Because our bank simply charged 3% transaction fees, we didn’t have to carry more than we felt comfortable with.
The closest equivalent to the US dollar only comes in coins, not bills, so it’s a good idea to keep a coin purse, rather than having it loose in your pocket.
Isle of Man currency works a bit differently. They accept both GBP & IOM Sterling, and they’ll randomly give change using both. The food trucks in Nobles Park only accept cash and we also frequently had problems using our credit cards there, so it’s best to have some cash handy.