How to Buy Travel Money

buy travel money

Did you know that spending money abroad the wrong way could see you waste precious pounds every time you make a transaction? Combine all that extra cash for frequent travelers, and you have thousands of pounds in wasted monies. If you’re planning to take a tour abroad, then it’s imperative to find out what the best options are for exchanging your currency.

Now, whether you’re a greenhorn flier or a veteran adventure seeker who’s explored all corners of the globe, there’s one thing we agree on. It’s always a good idea to have travel money in the form of the local currency, no matter how you want to pay for things abroad. Think about it; how are you going to pay for essentials like food, drinks, transport, tips, and accommodation?

This is especially important for those travelers who receive money from abroad for working remotely, doing freelance work, or simple travel jobs to push the adventure going on for a few more days.

Getting your foreign currency in advance not only saves you money, it also helps you plan for a significantly more affordable holiday, trip, or vacation. However, it’s never advisable to carry large amounts of cash on your person; common sense calls for other safer, and more convenient, options. If you’re already planning your next trip abroad, we’ve compiled a host of tools, tricks, and tips on how to buy travel money the right way, as well as ways to get more bang for your buck.

1. Click and Collect or Get it Delivered

If you want to exchange your currency and get the best rate, then one option is to order and reserve your currency online. Typically, services like banks (Barclays for instance) , travel agents, larger supermarkets, brokers, the Post Office, and Bureaux de Change have online platforms for you to reserve currency and physical locations for collection. Buying it is the easy part; now you need to choose between going to collect the travel money yourself and having it delivered. Fortunately, our site deals with both these methods. Here’s a breakdown of how you can get your travel money, once you have reserved it.

a) Delivery

This is, without a doubt, the most expedient and stress-free method of buying travel money. After you have made an online order, from the comfort of your living room, you won’t even have to go out and get it. Someone will show up at your doorstep with your order as requested.

The great thing about getting your travel money delivered at home is that you could qualify for free delivery, depending on where you buy the currency and how much you exchange. However, smaller amounts tend to attract a small charge. The downsides to delivery are that you might not get the option to choose your notes, and you will have to be home to sign for your package when it arrives.

b) Collecting in Branch

According to the personal finance experts, the worst thing that you could do is try to exchange currency unannounced. You could actually save a whole lot of money in exchange by planning ahead. First off, impromptu physical or airport cash exchanges tend to come with certain fees that we’ll expound on later.

This is why more and more customers prefer to order online, taking advantage of the better rates and collecting the money at their local branch to save time. It’s also worth noting that while all companies offer delivery, not all will offer branch collection at the same price. So, collecting the travel money yourself at the branch may be cheaper and faster than waiting for it to be delivered.

2. Cash to Cash Exchanges

Ask any financial expert about foreign exchange and they’ll all agree that there’s nothing more expensive than cash to cash changes. It doesn’t matter if you’re at the Post Office, Bureaux de Change, bank, travel agent, supermarket, brokers, or any other exchange location.

An unannounced, impromptu appearance at a branch means that you’re susceptible to certain fees and market shifts. In most cases, there is no commission for foreign currency. However, the spreads offered by different providers may vary significantly from live market rates. Similarly, cash to cash exchanges will always be more expensive, since the branch has to pay for things like rent, staff, and other expenses.

3. Prepaid Currency Cards

Prepaid currencies are the safest, cheapest, and most convenient way to spend your money abroad. Prepaid cards offer both the flexibility and chip-and-pin security of a standard bank card with far better exchange rates and absolutely zero commission.

Typically, prepaid currency cards work by loading it with an initial amount of money. Depending on the type of currency you want, you will be offered an exchange rate that is similar to if you were buying travel money with cash. This exchange rate is used to calculate the funds that will be added to your card. Purchases made on the card are then deducted from the overall balance, which can be topped up using your phone or credit card. You can opt for cards like Euro Cards for the whole of the Eurozone, US Dollar Cards for the USA, and multi-currency cards for international use.

4. Travel Credit Cards

Travel credit cards are an essential tool for savvy travelers, offering a range of benefits that can make your journeys more enjoyable and cost-effective. These cards often come with perks such as no foreign transaction fees, travel insurance, and rewards points that can be redeemed for flights, hotel stays, and other travel-related expenses.

Benefits of Travel Credit Cards

  1. No Foreign Transaction Fees: Many travel credit cards waive the usual 2-3% fee on purchases made abroad, saving you money every time you swipe your card in a foreign country.
  2. Rewards and Points: Earn points or miles for every dollar spent. These can be used for future travel expenses, helping you save on flights, hotels, and more.
  3. Travel Insurance: Some cards offer built-in travel insurance, providing coverage for trip cancellations, lost luggage, and even medical emergencies.
  4. Airport Lounge Access: Enjoy a more comfortable pre-flight experience with access to exclusive airport lounges, available with certain premium travel credit cards.

Final Remarks

There you have it – all the best ways to buy travel money right at your fingertips. If you’re going abroad, these methods will serve you well. Financial experts also advise buying your currency before you depart and taking a mix of payments options with you for even more savings and convenience. Once you get back home, make sure you let your bank know and settle all your credit card debts to maintain a great overall score.