With Sterling at a three and a half year high against the Euro, we thought it would be an excellent time to cover the topic of travel money. Whether you want to make the most of the ailing Euro or travelling to other far flung parts of the world, most travellers can take advantage of a better travel money deal with a little shopping around
Here’s 6 top tips to ensuring you navigate the travel money waters safely from the UK’s leading travel money comparison site MyTravelMoney.co.uk:
1. Never buy holiday money from the airport
MyTravelMoney.co.uk recently conducted a mystery shop and the findings were simply startling. Our research showed that buying currency at the airport could cost you up to 15% of the amount you are buying. That is essentially handing over to an airport bureaux up to £75 for every £500 you are exchanging. Extortionate. Typically, rent at airports are sky high and to pay the bills these suppliers have to adjust their rates accordingly. Try not to leave your purchase until the last moment. Buying holiday money online is always the cheaper bet.
2. 0% commission is a myth
A good percentage of travellers still view 0% commission as a positive reason to choose the supplier boasting of these claims. However, it is largely irrelevant and hides the ‘hidden cost’ of a travel money purchase. Most suppliers have marketing ads with 0% commission on offer. What often distinguishes a good or bad travel money deal is the exchange rate, not 0% commission marketing campaigns.
3. Always compare exchange rate with the market rate
Always look at the market rate (i.e. what you see in the newspaper) versus the rate offered by a supplier and if the difference is wildly off, you know you are getting a bad deal. Online travel money suppliers usually take between 2-4 % off the spot rate, with the high street at 5-6%. As a general rule of thumb, 2-5% is typically what you should be looking to achieve and can consider a good deal
4. Shop around for a better deal & buying online is always cheaper
Price comparison websites are usually a good starting point. Sites like MyTravelMoney.co.uk dynamically aggregate the exchange rates of all major currency suppliers. You can simply input the currency and amount you are looking to buy and live rates are pulled in from the top tier travel money companies.
5. Consider pre-paid currency cards
Not only do some prepaid currency cards have much lower conversion commissions, they are also easier to apply for and you are at less risk as if lost or stolen, as the only money at risk is the amount you have loaded on to the card.
Beware there are some prepaid cards on the market that charge MORE than debit/credit cards for currency conversion so research wisely. MyTravelMoney offer a good prepaid currency card comparison table.
6. Don’t use your credit card abroad
The vast majority of UK credit and debit cards impose additional charges for overseas (ie ‘out of zone’) usage. Typically, these are: point-of-sale transactions – a foreign exchange mark-up plus a fee (either a fixed amount, or a percentage of the transaction value, or both) and ATM withdrawals – a foreign exchange mark-up plus a fee (either a fixed amount, or a percentage of the transaction value subject to a minimum and maximum amount). These can tally up over your holiday and leave you with a nasty surprise when you open that bank statement when you get back from holiday.
At the end of the day, you work hard for your holiday. Let your holiday money work hard for you. Good luck getting a better deal on travel money.