When you’re going on a holiday to a country that doesn’t use your physical coins and notes, the first thing you need to do is get some currency exchanged so you can do anything. Even if you pre-book a hotel and bring your bank cards, sooner or later you’re going to find something that will only take physical money – and carrying around a lot of unusable coins is not a good idea. That is why we have teamed up with Compare and Choose to round up five tips you need to remember when changing your travel money:
5- Find out where you’ll lose the least money
Exchanging money is rarely ever free, and for a good reason – a bank in America that’s exchanged away all it’s dollars for euros is going to have a hard time letting customers withdraw their money. However, not everywhere uses the same rate – banks take about half as much as airports do, whereas some more local businesses may take less. This doesn’t take into account extra fees or the current exchange rate, so keep an eye out.
4- Consider using prepaid cards
Some prepaid card services allow you to preload them with foreign currency, technically skipping the regular exchange fees. As long as you’re aware of any extra fees the provider may or may not be placing on you, these cards can be a perfect alternative to physical money, since they not only prevent you from overspending, but they also ensure that nobody has access to your actual bank account if they’re stolen or lost.
3- Watch the exchange rate
Although it may seem obvious, keeping an eye on the exchange rate both before and after your trip is vital. If you see the rate swing heavily in your favour at any point before you leave for the trip, consider getting the money converted in advance. Sure, you won’t have access to that money, but if you’re converting a large amount then it can lead to an extra £50-100 worth of spending money, or maybe even more.
If you have any money left over after your holiday, do the same if you want to convert it back. The better both exchange rates, the more you’ll have after both conversions, and the happier you’ll be!
2- Convert a logical amount
If the service you’re using to convert your cast has additional flat fees, compensate for them. Maybe convert a little more than you thought you’d need just to make sure you don’t end up with a slightly lower amount of money than you needed. On the other hand, if a service charges you based on a percentage, take out the minimum you’ll need to ensure that you don’t lose, say, 8% of that £250 you didn’t need to have on you.
1- All of the above
You can never be too careful with money, no matter what you’re doing: an overseas money transfer, a prepaid card… none of these are perfect solutions, because there is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ solution when exchanging currency.
The easiest solution is to just look at them all and decide what will work best for you. Do research. Look at fees and exchange rates. At the end of the day, you need to choose the method that you’re most comfortable with and the one that best fits with the length, purpose and location of your holiday.