As summer approaches some of us will be packing our sunglasses, sun cream and swimwear and heading for sunnier destinations abroad. You’ve got to be prepared though, and how do you guarantee that you’re getting the most holiday cash for your money? Here we take a look at a few tips on how to get the best exchange rates for your holiday cash.
Understand the Jargon – There are a few key phrases that you might just not understand, confusing you into costly currency conversions. ‘Sell rate’ refers to what you get when you exchange sterling, ‘buy rate’ refers to what you get when you exchange any leftover foreign currency, and ‘interbank’ or ‘bank-to-bank rate’ refers to the wholesale exchange rate that the banks use. If you choose to search for a good currency exchange on the high street, ask explicitly how much it will cost for a certain amount in Sterling to be converted. That way you’ll know what the transaction fees, delivery and commission is before you commit.
Research Your Currency – There are different rules for currency exchange depending on where you are going. In Cuba for instance, there is one currency for tourists and one for locals. In some countries you are not allowed to take the currency with you when you leave, or can only exchange your Sterling when you arrive. For some non-EU countries you might have to order your currency well in advance of your summer holiday, so be sure to conduct thorough research.
Know the Situation – Use a site like xe.com to keep an eye on the currency fluctuations, be aware of any potential news stories at your destination or at home that could impact on the currency exchange. It can pay to start looking at the situation around a month before your holiday and to order money when the rate is climbing and the pound is strong.
Shop Around for Currency – Always shop around for your currency, as you’ll see different exchange rates and prices at different vendors. It’s about finding the right deal for you at the right time. In some countries, such as Cyprus and Estonia, you can find some excellent currency deals to change your Sterling notes for Euros when you arrive. One strong tip for a good exchange rate is to order your currency in advance from a big airport bureau de change, and pick up when you arrive at the airport. Travelex and similar can provide this service, or a postal delivery service, at a much better exchange rate than that you’ll find at the airport itself.
Use a Flexible Credit Card Abroad – If you want to use a credit card on your summer holiday it is prudent to choose a card that doesn’t charge you for using it abroad. Until August 2018 a Barclaycard Platinum Visa has no non-Sterling transaction fees on foreign spends attached to it, as well as no charges or interest when you withdraw money from a cash machine abroad (as long as it is paid off in full each month). Be aware that when you are paying with a credit card abroad you will be asked if you would like to pay in Sterling. This will automatically charge you 5% over the correct rate if you agree.
These are just a few tips on how to get the best exchange rate for your holiday cash. Be thorough with your research, shop around for the best exchange rates for currency and also use the best credit cards that don’t charge for use abroad.