Posted by Allison on 14 July 2009, 10:52
There are a million things to think about when you have a foreign holiday booked up. You need to make sure your passport is up to date, you need to pack everything you need – and you need to get the right currency for the country you are travelling to.
Luckily if you are travelling from Heathrow Airport you don’t need to worry about being prepared ahead of time. Once you have checked in you can go to a bureau de change and get the currency you need right there and then.
Here’s our lowdown on just how to do it.
There are currently three places you can head to for your foreign currency, so no matter which terminal you are travelling from, you’ll have at least one option open to you.
For example, Terminal One features two bureaux de change – American Express and Travelex. They are conveniently located at opposite ends of the main public area.
Terminal Two has Travelex only. It is a smaller terminal and you’ll find the bureau virtually in the middle of the building. If you are flying out from Terminal Three, you can use Travelex and American Express. They are also right next to each other.
The same two are available in Terminal Four. These are spaced out in the middle against one wall, with a number of smaller outlets separating them.
Terminal Five, meanwhile – the newest of all the terminals – can offer you Travelex and Thomas Cook to go to for your foreign currency. Look for directions once you arrive as they are located in several places; and make sure you leave plenty of time to collect your currency before your flight is called or if you are using airport parking, arrive well in advance.
Yes, you can do this at Heathrow Airport. It can certainly save you time when you get there. The best bet is to go to the website for Heathrow Airport, because they have a dedicated page that you can visit to find the links that you need.
Simply go to heathrowairport.com and then select which company you want to buy your currency from. Be sure to check that they have a bureau de change in the terminal you are travelling from before you actually book your currency.
This is a good way to make sure you will have the currency you need, because you know they will have the amount you want ready and waiting for you. As you will see you don’t have to book that far in advance of actually picking up your foreign cash. This means that if you forget all about it you can still hop online to book your cash before leaving home!
You don’t normally get charged any commission by ordering in advance online to collect when you arrive at your terminal at Heathrow either, so you get the best of both worlds.
Bear in mind that you might have to queue when you arrive to collect your money – regardless of whether you have reserved it in advance or not. The process will certainly be a bit quicker if you have reserved it, but don’t leave it until the last minute to go and get your cash.
Of course when you come back home, you could also change your money back into British pounds before you leave the airport and head home. This will save time since you don’t have to make a special trip elsewhere in order to change the money afterwards.
When you collect your currency before you take your holiday, make sure you ask whether there are any special procedures for when you return. Most bureaux de change do not accept coins back – they will only take notes. This means it is worth getting rid of as many coins as you can on the last couple of days of your holiday. Hang onto your notes and then you will be able to change them back once you return to Heathrow Airport.
There is no doubt that Heathrow Airport is very well planned out when it comes to making sure you don’t go on holiday without the right currency in your pocket.
You need to do your homework in advance though, so you know where to go and who to see in the terminal you will be flying out from.