It’s coming up to that time of year again, when all thoughts turn to holidays. You might already have your flights and hotels sorted, but many of us leave purchasing holiday money to the last minute. Where are the best places to go for currency this year and how can you ensure you get the most beneficial rates?
Do Your Researching
The worst way of buying your travel money is to turn up at the airport and use the bureau de change. They generally have the lowest rates, as they know you have nowhere else to go. Even if you’ve left it too late to pick anything up beforehand, try ringing the airport exchange desk in advance as you’ll likely get a more preferential rate this way.
If you’re not going on holiday for a few months, you should keep an eye on the markets and see how they’re performing. If they look like they’re on a steady decline, it would be a good idea to change some, if not all, of your holiday money. Some companies have flash sales in the run up to the peak holiday season, which might be worth taking advantage of.
How to Get the Best Deals
As with many financial purchases, often the best deals can be found online rather than on the high street. Those companies with consistently high rates include Travel FX Online, ICE Online and Money Corp Online. If you want to buy online from a more recognized brand, the Post Office usually have decent exchange rates and you can collect next day from your local branch. Using some of these online agencies, you could make as much as £50 per £500 you change over the rates that airports offer. That adds up to quite a few sangrias.
You shouldn’t pay too much attention to 0% commission advertising. These deals are designed to draw customers in, but they often offer worse exchange rates in order to make a profit. Instead, focus purely on the exchange rate and how much local currency you’ll get for your money. Combine this with any fees and see who offers the best deal.
Rates are constantly changing, so you need to keep a close eye on them and try to buy at just the right moment. However, if you don’t want to use money, there are some other alternatives.
How Else Can I Pay?
If you want a greater level of security than carrying cash, Traveler’s Cheques could be a good choice. However, you could be charged commission twice, both when you change your sterling and then again when you convert them locally.
There are a number of credit cards on the market, as well as pre-paid cards, which are ideally suited to the travel market. Some offer commission free use abroad, as well as replacement cards if yours is lost.