Don't wait until you get to the airport to buy travel money
If you’re heading abroad this summer, it could be worth buying your holiday money early. The pound is the strongest it’s been against the euro for almost two years, but some analysts think sterling could rise even more. Whether you wait for that or play safe by buying some now and some closer to your departure date, you’ll invariably be better off than buying at the airport or abroad.
Beware the 'postcode lottery'
However, recent research by Which? found that travellers are often short-changed by currency providers as rates on the high street vary depending on location. The advice is generally that you're better off buying foreign currency online from a reputable provider.
Beyond the eurozone
It’s not only the eurozone that’s become a more affordable destination, the pound has also increased against other currencies, notably those of Turkey and Hungary.
When it comes to value for money though, it’s worth considering price fluctuations in the country you’re visiting. After all your pound might go further but not if everything costs more to start with! According to one survey, Bulgaria, Turkey and the Algarve are cheaper than Spain while Greece has seen a steep increase in the cost of living.
Cash in hand
Wherever you’re going - even if it’s all inclusive, you’ll need cash for shopping, snacks and other sundries and you’ll have more to spend if you change your pounds before you go. If you’re travelling independently, you won’t want to be using plastic for every small thing even though you may prefer to pay by card for fuel, hotels and other major expenses.
It’s advisable to shop around for the best exchange rate and you can do that online, and on the high street in banks or travel agents.
Check the charges
You can safely and easily order foreign currency online but do check the cost as well as the exchange rate, particularly if you’re only exchanging a small amount of money.
Are there commission charges?
What are the fees for delivery?
What are the charges if you’re buying by credit card ?
Obviously you want to be sure your money is secure so only ever buy online from a reputable, established company. Because foreign exchange is unregulated you’d have little or no protection if your provider goes bust.
Most online orders will be dispatched within a couple of days to your home address and it will need to be signed for on receipt so make sure the logistics work and someone will be home!
And finally, once you’ve got it, keep it secure and never carry more cash on you than is covered by your travel insurance. Travellers’ cheques and extra cash should be stored in the hotel safe or other secure place.