Posted by Allison on 13 August 2012, 14:24
Most people want to get together some spending money to take on holiday abroad. However few people actually shop around to get the best deal they can. If you are among those who leave their currency requirements until the last minute, you could be paying a lot more for the cash than you really need to.
For example a bureau de change at the airport will typically charge you a lot more than an online currency exchange service. The best way to do it is to find the cheapest deal online from a company that has a pick up booth at the airport. Thus you get the best deal in advance and pick up your cash en route to boarding your plane.
Of course most of us will want to pay for purchases in other ways as well, instead of carrying around large amounts of cash. While you can use credit cards to buy items abroad, you will be charged more than just the amount you spend. The conversion rate will always favour the card issuer rather than the card holder, so try and minimise spending in this way if you can. The same applies to debit cards, where you can end up spending a lot more in a foreign currency than you are prepared for.
One of the best modern ways to get the best deal on foreign currency – other than booking your cash in advance online – is to get a prepaid currency card. This is a safe way to spend money without actually using cash, and without being charged for the privilege for doing so. However they are best used for small amounts, as you only have to keep a small balance on the card in this case. If you have a large balance on it and it is stolen, you may not get the balance back.
Clearly if you have a holiday coming up in the near future, it makes sense to plan ahead so you can be sure of getting the best deal on your currency, no matter which one you need to get.