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Start getting yen now or later? 2022/10/22 00:58
Hello everyone, first post here.

My wife and I are planning to travel to Japan for the first time about a year from now. I keep seeing how the US dollar is currently very strong against the yen. Would it make sense to go ahead and exchange some money now? I have no idea how much we'll need for a two week vacation, but I figured even if we exchanged $1000 now and just took whatever the rate is at the time we go for the rest we'd still come out ahead? This is our first time traveling internationally so I'm not really sure how this all works.
by dhocke  

Re: Start getting yen now or later? 2022/10/22 11:15
This is more of an investment question than a Japan question. Exchanging currency (essentially very low-level trading) is inherently risky. For Americans, now seems to be a good time to do it. But at the same time you just don't know what the future will bring. The yen could collapse completely in the next year, and with the dollar surging you'll regret your decision. On the other hand, spending time waiting around for a potentially better opportunity is a huge risk.

TLDR: Now is a pretty good time. Better times may exist in the future but it's not worth worrying about that.
by LIZ (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Start getting yen now or later? 2022/10/22 12:38
I really dont like stockpiling much cash. I normally just get 500 dollars worth before my trip. And then get 500 dollars worth out of an atm when I need it , while in Japan.
by h (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Start getting yen now or later? 2022/10/22 15:56
If you feel like reading a long answer:

- If you are asking about budgeting for your trip, please look at the gmoney mattersh or gbudgetingh section of this Japan Guide website. Because you donft mention if accommodation or rail travel cost is included in that amount, we canft tell you if it is enough or not.

- When it comes to converting from US Dollar to Yen, well, you can never tell which way currencies move. But it is true that yen has lost its value quite a bit against the US dollars in the past several months, that it is gfavorableh to you now - meaning you get more yen for your dollars now compared to several months ago, for example.

Right now it is around 150 yen to a dollar, it used to be (earlier this year) 125 yen to a dollar or so. It would not surprise me if it goes to 155, 160 yen to a dollar within this year (meaning you might get more yen for your dollar).
When/if ever Yen weakens even further and starts getting into the 165, 170 yen per dollar range, i suspect some larger government intervention/action (i donft mean necessarily from the Japanese government).

The way I see it, if you still have one full year before your trip, I would wait a few months more to see which way the dollar-yen conversion rate moves. With the interest gap between US and Japan so big (and Japan cannot really raise interest rate), and the Japanese economy getting depressed further - inflation is slower than in the US, but wages are not going up -, there is no factor that would make yen stronger against the US dollar, unless there are some drastic moves from some government.

Having said all this, because I live in Japan and glive in Yen,h I canft do anything about it, and I donft have to worry about it (I just stop doing online shopping from US sellers) i watch the foreign exchange rate but it is not stressful for me. If you find exchange rate watching stressful, you could change some just for peace of your mind. But really, one year ahead? I would not stock up on cash that much in advance.

Since you say it is your first international travel, for your spending in Japan:
- you can bring US dollars cash and convert into yen upon arrival (at the airport for example - in-town bank exchange counters are decreasing in number lately),
- convert from dollars while in the US and bring some yen cash,
- withdraw yen cash from ATM in Japan (not all ATM are equipped to deal with non-Japanese cards),
- combine that with using your credit card for larger items (be sure to inform your bank soon before your trip that you will be traveling to Japan).
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: Start getting yen now or later? 2022/10/22 20:46
I would NOT exchange money now. Why? You are saying you are planning your trip to Japan in about 1 year. There are so many things that can happen between now and then that May lead to you cancelling the trip. At which time you have no use for those yen.

Yes, from an investment perspective now MIGHT be a good time to change USD to Yen. But you are not investing. Your purpose is travel.
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Start getting yen now or later? 2022/10/23 20:19
Exchange the money when you are visiting. Investment predictions are complicated, and it spoils your mood if you exchange now and the dollar improves. Even if your dollar decreases in value in a year, at least you feel you are paying the market rate when visiting.
by Don (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Start getting yen now or later? 2022/10/24 01:43
One thing to be aware of is I have personally, yet to find a place in the US that gives you anywhere close to the exchange rate you will get in Japan. All money exchange places and banks in the US that I have seen have a significantly lower exchange rates than what you will be offered in Japan whether you use an ATM or exchange money in person.

So as an example, the currency exchange rate is currently 147.7 yen to the dollar after the recent Japanese intervention.

The actual exchange rate between banks will be lower about more like say 145 yen to the dollar. With ATMs using a debit card, you will get very close to that rate. By using an exchange office at a bank (even at the Airport) you might get more like 141-143 yen to the dollar. Do remember the former will involve using cash because traveler's checks are no longer a thing.

In the US, at most banks the rate will be more like 130-135 yen to the dollar and at the Intex offices at the airport even worse.

I'm actually going to Japan soon, and I would not want to get money out here now unless I found a bank doing within 15 yen to the dollar because the dollar would need to drop quite a bit to make up for the difference in exchange rates.
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Start getting yen now or later? 2022/10/24 04:01
Often travellers are told to exchange the money before they travel to avoid getting ripped off with a tourist rate, and the airport is probably the worse of all. The best rate will be the ATM in Japan via your card only if you don't need to pay fees.
by Don (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Start getting yen now or later? 2022/10/24 05:22
Outside of Japan, I would never exchange money at the airport, but Japan seems to have much tighter regulations of their banking and exchange institutions.

As just an example, the current rate is now 147.57 yen to USD on the currency exchange and you can go to Kansai International Airport Exchange and get 144 yen to the dollar, no fees.

I am using them as an example because they have their rates posted on line and are located in KIX airport. Rates can vary a little bit within an airport, mostly based on whether they have a dynamic rate or a set rate for a day, but they're going to keep rates close.

If you are debating getting yen before you go to Japan I would compare whatever rate you can get in the US plus any fees and compare that to the rate at that particular exchange at KIX. You can also look at what the yen has been doing through time. Google will let you go all the way back to 1982.

Again, this is all specifically about Japan and the US. Travel to any other country from the US I would not make the same recommendations.

by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Start getting yen now or later? 2022/10/25 17:36
Also note that the Yen and other currencies are going around like a yoyo. I've got an FX account (basically market rate) where I changed 500 Euros to Yen around 3 weeks ago. It's already down to 470 Euro but it will go up or down.

The only advantage I have for this is the current JPY can be used through debit cards when it comes to accommodation so there is no fees in relation to that...
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Start getting yen now or later? 2022/11/23 07:21
Get the Charles Schwab High-Interest Checking Account Debit card. Many people use this for international travel. You can use it at any ATM and they'll refund all ATM fees at the end of each month. I recently got one for my Japan trip in March. Then you won't have to worry about converting any cash!
by Rob (guest) rate this post as useful

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