When you are planning a holiday, travel money is one of the most important factors that you will need to take into account. With so many travel money options and a range of potential providers, it can be hard to know how to get the best deal. The aim of this guide is to outline the different travel money options available.
Once a popular method of paying for goods and services abroad, traveller’s cheques are slowly declining. Traveller’s cheques are available from banks, Post Offices and bureaus de change and work in a similar way to traditional cheques. One of the great things about this type of travel money is that you will not have to carry large amounts of cash on your person. In addition, as you have to fill out each cheque individually, they are a great option for those who need to keep a close eye on their spending. The major downside is that it is sometimes difficult to exchange these cheques for cash.
Buying foreign cash is a popular option for those going on holiday as it is convenient and accepted everywhere – no need to worry about minimum spends. In order to get the best deal on your foreign cash you should compare rates from a number of providers. Make sure that you take both the commission and the exchange rate into consideration.
Some specialist credit cards offer fantastic value on overseas spending as they avoid most of the hidden fees which regular credit card users are hit with. This can lead to some great savings. Just make sure that you set up a direct debit to cover the costs of the card at the end of the month as the interest fees will outweigh the savings.
Pre-Paid Travel Cards
Slowly replacing the old traveller’s cheque system, prepaid travel cards are emerging as one of the cheapest and most convenient ways to spend money abroad. These cards work in the same way as the chip and pin cards that we are all familiar with. However, as opposed to drawing money out of your bank account, these cards must be preloaded with money at a very fair exchange rate.
The great thing about these cards is that unlike many UK bankcards, you will not be charged for using you card abroad. Unfortunately, many of these cards do charge a nominal fee should you wish to withdraw cash from an ATM while abroad. In addition, some companies will charge an upfront fee for the card while others will waiver the fee if you preload a certain amount of money on to the card.
Travel Money Dos and Don’ts
- Don’t wait until you get to the airport to get your travel money – services here offer the worst rates as they know they have a captive market.
- When you arrive in your destination, make sure that you keep your money safe. Make use of safety deposit boxes and when you are out don’t carry around large amounts of cash.
- Don’t use your normal debit or credit card abroad without finding out the terms of abroad use. Indeed, some providers will charge their customers for using their card abroad and withdrawing cash from ATMs.
- Whatever travel money option you choose, make sure that you shop around and compare the deals being offered from a number of providers.