Best Travel Money Options
As we have mentioned in previous articles about travel money, no matter where you are travelling abroad, you will need to exchange your own currency into that of the country or countries you will be visiting. However, there are now a larger number of options available to you in terms of exchanging your money and how you purchase your goods and services abroad. There are basically three main options available to you and they are Travellers Cheques, Cash and Credit/Debit cards.
The big question is: “Which are the best travel money options for you?”
Depending on where you are travelling and for how long can have a major influence on which is the best option for you. The first thing you need to establish is whether just taking one form of payment will be sufficient or whether it will be best taking a combination of the three.
Tip: Whatever form of payment you choose, it is always advisable to take a little cash currency with you so you have cash available should you need it when you arrive. This will help if you need pay for those essential such as bus or taxi fares and groceries. If you have a Credit or Debit card that you can use abroad, it is wise to take it with you as a backup just in case, for any unforeseen emergencies.
Best Place For Travel Money Exchange And Finding The Best Travel Money Rates
As we have mentioned in the previous article about travel money comparison, the rate of exchange fluctuates on a daily basis and comparing travel money rates will ensure you get the best rate of exchange on that day.
Pre-Order Online: If you have time, pre ordering your money in advance and exchanging your money online will probably ensure you receive the best deal. It is no secret that the online exchange rates are usually much better than anywhere else but it usually means you need to pre-order your money in advance.
High Street: The high streets can offer reasonable exchange rates and are quite a good last minute solution. However, don’t just go to the first one you see, shop around and you will be very surprised at how much the currency exchange rate fluctuates between the shops, banks and supermarkets in the same town or city. There is nothing worse than exchanging your money and then walking 100 yards down the street and seeing a much better rate of exchange in a different shop or bank!
Airports: Stay clear, never exchange your money at the airport as you will receive a very, very poor rate of exchange. If you have no other choice and really need to exchange money at the airport, then only exchange the minimum amount you need and then exchange the rest when you reach your final destination where the exchange rate will be stronger.
This short guide is designed to offer a little help on understanding the options available to you for travel money and which options will best suit your needs and requirements. It will also highlight a few of the advantages and disadvantages each option carries.
As we mentioned earlier, it is always a good idea to have some local currency with you. However, if you do plan on taking just money with you, you should ensure that you leave it in a safe place in your accommodation. Carrying large amounts of money around with you whilst you are abroad is not advisable and when you reach your accommodation upon arrival, you should lock your money in a safety deposit box (if available). Don’t take all your money out with you and only take the amount money you will need for that day.
Travel Insurance companies only insure you for a certain amount of money and this amount is usually between £200 and £500. If you take more than this amount with you and you lose it, you may not be covered by your travel insurance, which means you will lose the lot! Ensure you are familiar with the ‘Terms and Conditions’ of your Travel Insurance regarding the amount of cash you are covered for.
Advantages Of Taking Cash
Taking cash with you means that you do not have to shop around looking for the best exchange when you are on holiday. It also means that you will not incur any fees whilst you are abroad when paying for your products and services.
Disadvantages Of Taking Cash
Cash has less security and if you lose your money, you may not be insured. If cash is the only form of payment you take, you could be left without any money which is not a good situation to be in.
Many years ago, travellers’ cheques were the most popular choice with travellers. They provided a safe way to carry your money and meant that you could exchange them when you arrived in your chosen destination or use them for purchasing goods and services.
Although travellers’ cheques are still available today, they are slowly becoming less and less popular but they are still a very good and safe way to carry your travel money abroad.
If you do decide to purchase Travellers’ Cheques, always ensure you take a note of the serial number of all the cheques and take them with. Keep these numbers separate from your actual Travellers Cheques and if the Travellers Cheques are lost or stolen, you will have a copy of the serial numbers at hand should you need them.
Advantages Of Travellers Cheques
Completely safe and if they are lost or stolen, they will be replaced within 24 hours.
Many do not expire, so this means you can use them again on future travel if you have any left over.
Very easy to use and all you need to do is sign them when you take receipt of them and then sign them again, when you are making your exchange.
Recognised worldwide and can be used in a number of places such as shops, restaurants and hotels.
Disadvantages Of Travellers Cheques
Over the years, more options have become available for travellers in terms of how they buy their goods and services abroad. This has seen the decline in the number of people using Travellers Cheques and as a result, has meant that less and less outlets and retailers are accepting them. Although they are still recognised worldwide and still used, it can be much harder to find places that will accept them than it was in the past.
Credit And Debit Cards Abroad
It seems that the good old Credit and Debit card is becoming a very popular option for people when travelling abroad. Choosing the right card can certainly be one of the cheapest ways to purchase your goods and services abroad but get it wrong and it could work out the most expensive! However, just like any other of the options for travel money, using your Credit or Debit card abroad has both its advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages Of Using Your Credit or Debit Card Abroad
One of the biggest advantages of using your Credit or Debit card abroad is that it is quick and convenient. Most outlets and retailers around the world now accept all major Credit and Debit cards which makes purchasing goods and services abroad very easy.
Using your Credit or Debit card abroad eliminates you having to carry large amounts of money on your person whilst you are travelling.
It can work out that you receive a better exchange rate on your cards but you can also receive hefty fees for using them as well.
You will be protected against fraud.
Disadvantages Of Using Credit And Debit Cards Abroad
One of the biggest disadvantages of using your Credit or Debit card abroad is the fees you can incur when using them. The majority of Credit and Debit Cards will charge you fees for using them but these fees do vary depending on what type of card it is and who the provider is. There are several different types of charges you can incur but the most common charges are set fees for transactions and fees for foreign exchange. If you withdraw cash you will also incur fees and with some Credit cards you can be charged interest from the moment you withdraw the cash, even if you pay your card balance off in full on your return.
Pre-Paid cards and travel cards are a really great way to purchases your goods and services whilst you are abroad. The Pre-Paid cards work on a very simply basis and that is you load your card up with an amount of money and you can then use your card to purchase goods and services.
For example: If you load your card with £300, you will have £300 to spend whilst you are abroad. You can choose the currency to which you would like to exchange your money into when you load your money onto your card.
Advantages Of Pre-Paid Cards For Travel
You cannot overspend on your card. You cannot spend any more money than you have loaded onto the card.
If you lose your card you can replace it for a small fee quickly.
Disadvantages Of Pre-Paid Cards For Travel
You could be charged a fee for withdrawing cash from Atm’s.
Ordering Your Travel Money In Advance
It has always been possible to order your foreign currency in advance through your bank or The Post Office but due to the Internet, there is a much wider choice of companies that now offer Foreign currency exchange. These companies allow you to pre-order your foreign currency in advance and will then send the money to your home address or will allow you to collect the money from a designated place. However, just be aware that many of these companies may charge you a commission or administration fee for your transaction but as we mentioned in the following article ‘Travel Money Comparison’, if they are offering a higher rate of exchange, you can still be much better off, even after paying the fees.
Pre Order Your Foreign Currency Online And Collecting At The Airport
Many companies now allow you to order your foreign currency and then collect it at the airport before departure. This is a really convenient way to take receipt of your travel money because it allows you to pre-book it in advance, saves you from carrying large amounts of money to the airport and also eliminates the possibility of you forgetting to leave home without your travel money.
Some currencies are not kept in stock on the high street and it may mean that you are required to order your currency in advance anyway. If this is the case, collecting your money at the airport is one of the best and a convenient place to collect your travel money.
It is also a really good way of exchanging a large amount of money if you are travelling in a group and wish to exchange money for the whole group. It saves everyone having to go and exchange their own money and often you can get a better exchange rate the more money you exchange. Obviously, you will need to have the amount of money you want exchanging available in your own bank account but if you ask all the people you are travelling with to transfer their money into your bank account a couple of days prior to you making the transaction, you will have it covered.
Travelex are one of the main companies that offer this facility and have their desks at most major airports.
A little forward planning and knowledge goes along way and will help you decide which is the best travel money option for your trip.