When travelling, one of the most important things to plan and consider is how to make the most of your money when converting to another currency. If, like me, your currency is the pound (£), then you my friend are lucky as the pound is pretty strong all over the world. However, there are still some hacks as to how to get the most out of every pound.
*WARNING* A prerequisite: one must be organised!
Tip 1: Shop around before selling your money!
In general, most companies offer a similar rate but there are a few that buy money at a slightly higher (but significant) rate. When selling £1000 for Euros at 1.40 vs 1.44, that’s a difference of 40 Euros, enough to have a nice dinner one day or grab a cab from the airport! For me, the best exchange rates can be found at Thomas Exchange. Without fail, the rates at Thomas Exchange are always that bit higher than any other competitors. At the moment, the pound can be sold at 2.0090 in exchange for the Canadian Dollar (current stock exchange value is 2.06)! The Post Office are buying the pound at 1.97 for CAD!
Do your research, and don’t exchange everything in one go.
Tip 2: Use a credit card
Credit cards are amazing to stop the need for carrying large amounts of cash around all holiday, and being lumbered with unwanted cash at the end of the holiday. Credit cards can be used internationally and the exchange rate is calculated at the time of use. This is so incredibly convenient and something that I’ve begun using instead of trying to figure out how much money i’ll need for my trips. I would still advise carrying some cash, as some places don’t have card machines, and taking cash out from an ATM will land you with a hefty surcharge. One thing to note is that every time you use the card, you will be charged a very tiny amount – 0.00…% (dependent on bank). The value of this charge is less than what you would loose exchanging hard cash – so in the end, you’re better off using the credit card. Using a credit card is also good because the exchange rates fluctuate daily and so it is possible to exchange at a better rate when you notice strength in your currency.
Tip 3: Utilise any benefits i.e. student card
Students don’t have to be told twice! Student discount can be used worldwide – i’ve used my British student card as far as in Australia! However, if you want to be really sure, purchase an ISIC (International Student Identity Card) card and feel free to use your student discount for anything for cinema tickets, coach tickets and many more opportunities to SAVE SAVE SAVE – you’re welcome!
If you didn’t already know, here’s what to AVOID – and I mean, avoid it like you would avoid leaving the house when tube drivers decide to strike (for the umpteenth time)!
AVOID 1: Airports/ Stations
Daylight robbery is an alias for these booths. I mean, they are super convenient, and in the perfect position, like prey ready to catch its bait. The exchange rates that I have seen at airports and stations is almost laughable! Be disciplined, and organise the exchange of your money PRIOR to stepping onto your train or plane.
AVOID 2: Touristy areas
Also avoid ‘downtown/ central’ locations for the exchange of money. Obviously tourist hotspots, these locations are bound to be laced with stores offering rates that are not in your best interest, I promise!
Are there any other tips that you think would be helpful for someone exchanging currency to travel? Have you had any experience with exchanging currency at a very low or high rate?