Want to go abroad? Need to find some foreign currency and want to get the best deals? Read our quick guide to secure the best deals.
When you go abroad, you invariably need to have your foreign currency sorted before you get to the airport! Our first bit of advice is therefore for you to get prepared!
Buying currency and travellers' cheques from high street outlets usually carries a minimum charge of between £2.50 and £4, so buying online can often be cheaper. You own bank is also a good source as you may have part of the fee waived as an existing customer.
You will probably want to take some local currency, and depending on your destination you might also want to take some US dollars with you. US currency foreign exchange can be very useful in place of local currency for payment for food and lodging when travelling off the beaten track, as it is always possible to find someone who will take dollars in place of the national currency.
On a credit or debit card, your bank or building society will usually charge a commission or "loading charge". This is typically 2.75% of the total value for purchases, rising to 4.25% for cash advances.
You will be charged interest on your overseas spending in the same way as if you had spent the money in the UK. If you are charged interest from the moment the item is bought and you don't clear your balance regularly, the interest will make your holiday bargains all the more expensive.
If you plan on travelling outside big cities or in developing world countries, do not rely on being able to withdraw money from ATM machines or paying bills by credit card.
Really? Do these still exist? Yes, but are they the best thing to travel with?
Things to look out for when buying travellers' cheques are the commission charged and the exchange rate. High street banks charge between 1% and 2%, with minimum charges £2.50 and £4, but commission can be as high as 6%. You can save money by ordering them online. Nationwide charges no commission on online orders, but levies a delivery charge of £3.50. Thomas Cook also accepts online orders.
Bear in mind you will also be charged commission when you cash the cheques, although it is difficult to predict how much as it varies from country to country and outlet to outlet. In the UK, commission can be as high as 6%. Some overseas currency exchange outlets don't charge commission but offer a lower rate of exchange.
We suggest you take mainly cash or look for a preloaded currency VISA or Mastercard in order to reduce costs every time you want to access your own money.