Where to buy travel money
Due to changes in exchange rates and the differences you will find from one bureau de change to the next, buying your travel money online, before you leave, is your best bet. The rate you will get online is far more competitive, and you can be sure of getting the best possible deal. It’s also far more convenient, not requiring you to withdraw large sums of cash and take it to a bureau de change or to schlep around town looking for a good deal.
When you’re heading off on holiday the last thing you want to worry about is money. It is, however, unavoidable when travelling abroad as you will need to buy money in the right currency for the country you’re visiting. A lot of people procrastinate on the issue, putting it off avoiding it as long as possible until they finally get their travel money at the airport.
While this is a common occurrence, it’s the absolute worst way to do it! Here’s why, and where to buy your travel money instead…
A note about exchange rates
Like all currencies, the pound has a position in relation to other currencies that fluctuates. On any given day, the value of a pound compared to a dollar or euro changes based on the current exchange rates. When the pound is stronger we are in a better position to buy foreign currency, and you will literally get more bang for your buck. When it’s weaker, however, the amount of foreign currency you get in exchange for your hard-earned cash is less.
While the global economy and political environment dictate exchange rates any currency, the place you buy your travel money also impacts it. Different options are available, with bureau de change facilities in Post Offices, airports, supermarkets, banks and more. The amount of foreign money you get will vary depending on where you buy your travel money.
It’s for this reason that buying your travel currency at the airport is a very bad idea. People doing so have no other recourse – they either get their currency there or go abroad without any native currency. As a result, a bureau de change at an airport can offer poorer exchange rates, knowing people will have no choice but to accept them.
When to get holiday money
Buying your travel currency before you go abroad is usually the best plan. It circumvents the need to use the airport and ensures you can shop around for a good deal. The alternative is to take an overseas credit card with you that will allow you to pay for things with plastic, or withdraw cash from an ATM. The problem with doing this is that you have no way of guaranteeing everywhere you need to spend money will accept your credit card, or have an ATM. There may also be unexpected charges for the use of the card.
If you can avoid these pitfalls, a credit card can offer a good exchange rate. The safer bet, however, is to exchange your money for local currency before you go and take your spending budget with you. This will frequently save you money, especially if the pound is strong before you leave and drops while you’re away.