Once you know you are going abroad, it is a good idea to begin studying the exchange rates for the currency you will need.
Buying your currency in the UK is not always the best option, as rates abroad may be cheaper. Airport rates also tend to be more expensive – and all those offers of “No commission” might not be all they seem either, as again the exchange rate might be higher to cover this.
Here are four tips to help you save money on your currency:
- If you visit a country or destination regularly, make sure you save some coins and small notes for the next visit as it is unlikely you will get small notes in the UK – and coins are almost certainly out of the question for most bureau de change. Having some ready cash can help prevent having to change money as soon as you arrive to pay for immediate expenses like a bottle of water or a taxi – and paying a high exchange rate for your currency as a result.
- Pre-paid top-up debit cards are becoming a popular way of buying currency for a trip abroad – top-up in advance and you can shop around for the best rates in resort or draw from an ATM.
- Travellers’ cheques are still a popular way of taking money abroad but usually the commission on these plus the exchange rates involved can make this an expensive option. There is also the worry about losing them – and hotel room safes can cost anything from €20 upwards, paid in cash to the hotel reception on arrival – so your precious currency will soon be eaten into straight away just to safeguard your holiday spending money. You also have to present your passport to cash travellers’ cheques, which means remembering to take it out of the hotel room safe and carry it around with you.
- Credit cards can actually be a good way of drawing money abroad as the exchange rates between banks will be preferable to those offered if you cash travellers’ cheques. Your credit card company will still charge per transaction, so check what this is before you depart. Making an accurate assessment of how much you need will also save you money – rather than draw small amounts every day, budget and draw a larger amount for a few days to save on credit card transaction charges. Local banks at your resort may also charge a fee for drawing money – ask at your hotel reception.
- Finally – check which currency your holiday destination prefers, as some may deal in US dollars or sterling as well as their own currency. There may be limitations on how much currency you can take into a country, so check this also before you buy your currency, as you don’t want any excess confiscated at customs.
When holidays don’t meet up with expectations and are not as advertised at the time of booking, it is possible to make a claim for holiday compensation to get money back from your unenjoyable experience.
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Peter Anderson – I love to blog about holidays abroad and travel! Google+