Buying Foreign Currency

This article contains my advice on buying foreign currency. What ways are there to buy travel money?

You might find it useful if it is your first time buying foreign currency.

When I know I'm going to go abroad for my holidays or on a business trip, I know I've got to buy foreign currency to spend while I'm away. Unfortunately, it is hard work trying to understand all the different options and then to find the best deals, so hopefully the following pages will help you understand things a bit better.

How many ways are there to buy travel money?

Well, in the distant past, you only had the choice to convert cash from one currency into cash in the other currency. Then came travellers' cheques (or travelers' checks) and credit cards. Now you can take travel money in cash, or travellers' cheques, you can use your credit card, or you can use the debit card connected to your home bank. You can do wire transfers, or there are pre-loaded foreign currency cards that work like a debit card and can be used where credit cards are accepted. You can even (quite easily) open a foreign currency bank account that you can access overseas like you would at home. Each has their pros and cons, their positives and negatives, as well as different fees and costs to use them.

How do I go about buying foreign currency?

First of all, I decide on the type of money I need. Click on each heading below to read more about each type:

Then I check the rate to get an idea of how much I'd get when I convert my money. Use my currency converter (opens in a new window) to get an idea of the rate and enter the amount of your currency that you think you'll need, then click convert to find out how much of the foreign currency you will get for your that amount. Then you have a standard exchange rate figure to compare prices from your usual providers - Post Office, Banks, Travel agents, some large retailers, bureaux de change / currency exchanges, etc. Personally, I don't like to pay too much so I shop around. However, looking for the best value can be quite difficult to do and is sometimes time consuming.

The rate from my converter is the latest standard bank rate from the last 24 hours. Banks and other providers offer a slightly different rate depending on what they want to charge their customers.

Summary:

  1. Choose the type
  2. Find out the exchange rate
  3. Shop around
  4. Pay your money and buy from your chosen provider

And finally, I hope you have a really good trip!

Also, feel free to check my safe travel tips page.



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