When travelling abroad, converting cash to a foreign currency is an absolute necessity. Although this may be an afterthought to some travellers, when it comes to currency exchange you stand to lose out if you’re not careful.
You’ll find that planning ahead will save you the headache of having to frequently exchange money during your travels.
These 6 tips to save money when exchanging currency will help get the best rates:
1. Exchange currency at your personal bank
Although you may have to pay a few pounds in fees, check exchange rates offered by your local bank. Banks and credit unions will exchange your pounds for foreign currency as long as you have a current or savings account with them. You will also need to make sure that the foreign currency that you are looking for is available at your bank.
Pro tip: it’s important to note that when travelling abroad you must verify that your passport is valid for more than 6 months as some international destinations won’t allow entry unless this is the case.
2. Avoid currency exchange at the airport
The airport is by far the worst place to exchange currency, as well as kiosks, hotels, and tourist centres once you reach your destination. At these places, the conversion rates are typically not in your favour. It’s best not to exchange your money at your destination at all because you will likely be charged extra service fees as well.
Most banks and credit card companies will automatically freeze your account if they notice foreign transactions. Notifying your bank and credit card company is as simple as making a phone call or checking the company’s app to make sure they know you are travelling. This is an easy way to ensure that you don’t have to deal with the hassle of not having your money at your disposal while travelling.
4. Pay by card when possible
The easiest way to save money on currency exchange is by paying with your credit card. However, before deciding to go this route you need to check with your credit card company about foreign transaction fees. Some credit cards charge 3% on foreign transactions, and while that may not seem like much, it can really add up if you spend thousands of dollars during the course of your trip.
5. Pay in local currency
In some situations, merchants and restaurants will allow you to choose if you want to make your purchase in pounds or in the local currency. When asked, always choose to pay in local currency. If you choose to pay in pounds, you’ll be charged an extra currency fee, and you’ll also get a terrible exchange rate.
Pro tip: for a more immersive experience choose to house and pet sit instead of staying at a hotel.
6. Pay attention to exchange rates
If you know you are travelling abroad soon it’s a great idea to pay close attention to the exchange rates. Always keep in mind that exchange rates are constantly fluctuating. If you notice that the rates are moving in the wrong direction, simply exchange some money before your trip. Watching the exchange rates is a great way to save money when exchanging currency.
Using these 6 simple tips on saving money when exchanging currency will help you to make the most of your money and your trip!