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On a trip abroad, you see just the gift for your friend at home but how much does it cost in dollars?  Read our article on cost conversion to find out an easy way to do the math!


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Travel Advice - How much does this cost in dollars?

Converting the value of a foreign currency into US dollars is easy if you are carrying a calculator, but most of us travel without one.
  • If you do not have a calculator handy, set a counting number that approximates the conversion rate to perform your currency calculation.
    • For example, let’s assume that the conversion rate for one Euro is $1.197 (i.e. how much you would have to pay in U.S. dollars to buy one Euro).
    • To create a counting number you would round $1.197 to $1.20 to calculate costs.
    • Conversion rates can be found at currency exchanges, banks or in local and international newspapers.


A vase in a country shop in England is priced at ₤15 (English Pound Sterling). If the exchange rate was $1.475 dollars to buy 1 Pound Sterling, use of a calculator would help you to compute the cost of the vase in dollars as $22.12 [15 x $1.475].

  • If you established a counting number to approximate the cost, you would estimate the cost to be 15 x 1.50 or approximately $22.50.
  • Remember, you are merely using the method to understand approximate cost.
  • The actual cost will be different since it will use the actual exchange rate and added taxes.
  • In addition, if you purchase items using a credit card, your credit card issuer will assign a conversion rate based on the date and time the transactions was credited to the vendor’s account.
    • It has been our experience that the conversion rates set by Visa and MasterCard are quite fair, but these companies have also added a new currency conversion fee that you will see only when you receive your monthly bill, if you have used your card abroad.

Another way of calculating cost conversion is to consider (using the same details provided in the example above) that one dollar is the equivalent of a fraction of a Pound Sterling (1/1.475 = 0.678 of a Pound Sterling). If the vase was priced at 15, then the cost in dollars would be calculated as 15 divided by 0.678 or $22.12.

If you are traveling to Europe in countries participating in the Economic Union, the changeover to the Euro made currency conversion much easier, since you only need to know the relationship between the Dollar and the Euro (see our article on the Euro).

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