When on holiday, the last thing you want is to be unable to partake in all the activities you want to because you’re too busy watching the pennies. The foreign exchange market fluctuates every day so picking the right time to change your money over can make a big difference to how much of your destination currency you get per pound. There are also a few other ways to make sure that you get great value when travelling abroad.
Taking money with you
It is always sensible to take at least a small amount of local currency with you even if you intend to mainly use your cards. Shop around to find the best exchange rate in plenty of time before you go. The online foreign exchange market is often overlooked which is odd because we do virtually everything else online. It’s worth checking the rates on the internet because you might find the best exchange rates with the added bonus of it being delivered to your door the next day. Never change your money at the airport because the exchange rates there are terrible.
As with cash, it is worth shopping around for card spending. Some credit cards won’t charge you to withdraw money or pay for things abroad. If you pay off the bill as soon as you get home, this can be by far the cheapest way to pay. Debit cards will usually charge you to withdraw money and charge a percentage on your purchases so it may well be worth getting a credit card specifically to use abroad to prevent these additional charges. You could also get a prepaid card, which is a great alternative to travellers cheques. You load money onto it before you go and that money will be protected if the card is lost or stolen.
These are available in major currencies only and can be purchased before you travel at many of the places where you can exchange currency. You can pay with them or exchange them for cash as and when you need it. This is safer than carrying large amounts of cash with you because if you lose them then they can be replaced. You should only sign them when you are about to use them. Write down the serial number of each cheque and keep it somewhere safe, separate from the cheques themselves. You also need to keep your receipt from the initial purchase.