Tips for travelling abroad: when and where you should exchange your money.

Most people go on holiday and either exchange a set amount of cash into the currency of the country they’re visiting, or use their ordinary bank account’s debit card to withdraw the cash they need in the local currency. Neither of these offer the best deal, and with the average holiday spend over £ 1,000 per person, this means quite a lot of money could be potentially wasted by not choosing your travel money wisely.

Don’t change money at the airport

Currency exchange bureaus in airports offer the worst exchange rates of all. You are a captive audience if you’re passing through and haven’t had time to change your money, as you may be worrying about not finding anywhere when you get to your destination, and most people will need money for onward travel, such as taxis.  To avoid all these problems, I suggest you go to your bank a few days before your flight and exchange a small amount of money. Make sure that you count the money before leaving the desk and carry a calculator to check the accuracy of the exchange, even if you trust your bank.

Debit cards are expensive too

Although it may seem that debit cards are harmless, and offer a competitive rate of interest, the fact is that most charge you a fee per withdrawal, which is usually set at £ 1.50. This fee is for every purchase or cash withdrawal so could add up to a lot. For example, even if you only withdraw money once a day from a cash machine, you will £ 10.50 over the week, and most people use their cards much more than this. If you must use your debit card, try and withdraw the maximum amount you are able to, less times in the holiday period.

Use a currency conversion website to get the best deals

If you would rather exchange your money into the local currency before going on holiday, use an online currency rate checker to make sure you get the best deal. TravelMoneyMax is a well known website where you can get the best rates for currency exchanges in cash.

Use a credit card

Although some credit cards add a 3% fee on currency conversions, most don’t add any fees or charges and also offer good exchange rates, so actually offer the best exchange rate of any other method. To benefit from the zero charges, you must repay your balance within the specified period, otherwise any gains from the currency exchange will soon be lost in interest payments on the balance.

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