How to get a deal on holiday money

Holly Thomas / 10 February 2015 ( 03 June 2015 )

Some hints and tips to help you squeeze the most value out of exchanging currency.

Whatever the currency markets are doing, it’s up to you to get the most for your money. Here’s how:


Buying currency


Planning ahead is the secret to securing more for your pound — airports, ferries and rail terminals tend to offer the poorest rates.

High street banks generally do not offer the best deal. By ordering online you can typically get a much better deal at websites such as ICE, the Post Office, Travelex, Caxton, M&S and Asda. Compare the rates and charges and use the most competitive one. Most sites offer free home delivery, especially on larger orders.

You can also order through Saga’s Travel Money Service.  There is no commission charge and, if you order over £400, delivery is free.

Watch out for places that have offers or so-called preferential rates on currency, which is common from banks trying to win your custom. They might be good deals compared to the rates usually offered by that brand, but could still be beaten by others. Don’t rely on marketing to guide you, do your own research.

Commission-free outlets do not offer good value if their exchange rates are inferior.

Planning when to buy currency is tricky as exchange rates are one of the hardest things to predict. You can monitor rates online.

It is also important to check up on any restrictions on bringing in cash to certain countries.

Order your travel money now with Saga's Travel Money Service


Paying with plastic


Using cards means avoiding having to carry around wads of cash when you’re away.

Make sure you look into how much your bank charges before you leave British soil. The charges will mount up so consider getting a credit or debit card, which has zero fees for spending abroad.

If you want to take advantage of the good exchange rates ahead of a holiday later in the year – but don’t want to store lots of cash in the house – consider a prepaid card which allows you to lock in currency on a chosen date.

You can store currency safely and have the option to top up at a later date. This is especially useful for those who travel frequently.

Saga Travel money offers 0% commission on foreign currencies for over 60 countries*. Find out the latest exchange rates now.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.