3 top tips to get the best currency conversion rates

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This article contains marketing material. All information correct at the time of writing, updated 25/10/17

With the Christmas holidays fast approaching, it’s a great time to jet away. Whether you plan to seek out the best beaches, or explore the culture of a new city; one important thing you’ll need to sort out is your travel money.

But with so many options from where to order your currency, how long in advance to order it, and how to pay for it; it can become confusing to see which is the ‘ideal’ way.

These three tips will help you to get the best value for money when purchasing your foreign currency.

Tip 1: Know the exchange rate

Before you purchase your foreign currency, it’s worth doing some research into the exchange rates. Whilst you may have a fairly good idea on what the exchange rate might be, unexpected factors can cause fluctuations (we all know how Brexit affected the Euro!)

In the UK, whilst the Brexit negotiations continue, the economy has slowed down as traders wait for signs of progress. As reported by the Telegraph, since the beginning of 2017, the Sterling has fallen by 8.3% against the Euro, yet at the same time, it has increased 5.3% against the Dollar during the same period. For those who’ve holidayed in the Euro-zone in the last 12 months, and are planning to visit again; you’ll need to order slightly more currency if you want to enjoy the same standard of living.

Of course, there’s nothing to say that you can’t still enjoy your holiday whilst watching your pennies; but understanding the change in the exchange rate will help you to budget if needed.

Similarly, if you’re heading off on a city break to Budapest, or a beach holiday in Antigua, you may not even know that you need to order Hungarian Forint or East Caribbean Dollars (don’t worry, we had to Google it too!); let alone how many there are of each in the Pound.

Having a good idea of the exchange rate will help you out in the long term. Not only will it help you to understand where the best rates are; but you’ll understand how much items cost when you visit the country.

An easy way to monitor exchange rates is by downloading a currency tracking app straight to your smartphone. These give you live updates about the performance of any given currency, and many of them can be set up to alert you when the rate reaches a chosen level. This way, you can be sure you're buying at the best time and you won't miss a particularly good day for your currency.

Tip 2: Order before you travel

Buying your travel money at the airport may seem convenient, but exchange rates aren’t always the most competitive rates.

Ordering your currency before you leave for the airport doesn’t have to be difficult – there are many high street shops that offer travel money, in addition to bureaux de change, banks and some supermarkets. You can compare in-store exchange rates to work out which deal is the best for you.

Or you can check exchange rates online by using search comparison sites. If you choose to have your currency delivered to your home, don’t forget to factor in the online delivery fee to the overall cost, which may be applicable depending on the value of the currency ordered.

Tip 3: Don’t use your debit/credit card abroad

Purchasing on your debit/credit card abroad might seem like another convenient way to spend your money overseas. However, many cards incur charges, so your bank balance could be unexpectedly lower when you return from holiday. Not ideal: especially if you're holidaying on a budget.

If you prefer not to carry cash with you on holiday, then you could look into getting a travel money card. That way, you pre-load your money and can spend abroad without the worry of fluctuating exchange rates, or possible bank charges. Just be aware that if you wish to withdraw cash from an ATM machine, you’ll be charged – so it’s best to withdraw a larger amount of cash in one go, as opposed to several smaller withdrawals.*

Holidays are a great way to relax and unwind, but they can take a while to save for. It’s understandable you want to avoid any unnecessary charges. Knowing where and how to purchase your travel money in advance can help you to save that bit extra.

For more information on planning trips overseas, check out our travel guides. Alternatively, head on over to our blog for more money saving tips, or start planning for your next holiday with the money hub.


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