Travel money: what are your options?
It’s natural to feel nervous about carrying large amounts of cash – whether you’re in your own home or out and about. That feeling is often multiplied ten-fold when you go on holiday, especially if you’ve read your fair share of holiday scam stories.
However, there are plenty of different, safe ways to carry money abroad, be it cash, cards or travellers cheques. The important thing is finding a travel money option that suits your plans. Want to find out more? We’ve put together a list of some of the web’s best sites for travel money ordering and advice.
Choosing between cash or cards on holiday
The Money Advice Service’s page on travel money options is a great starting point. Here, you’ll get a broad overview of the many options, including taking foreign currency with you; using debit, credit and pre-paid cards; the pros and cons of travellers cheques and valuable tips on how to make the most of your money. Essentially, the Money Advice Service – a free, independent site sanctioned by the UK government – recommends a mix of payment types. This means you can pay with cash when you need to, but also gives you the option to pay for larger amounts with plastic.
Nevertheless, while credit cards may be convenient, it’s important to remember that your bank may charge high fees for using your card abroad. This is where MoneySavingExpert.com comes in – their page on cheap travel money is indispensable if you’re looking for the top cards to use overseas. There’s even a handy tool that lets you check whether your card is a “debit card from hell”; discover this several weeks in advance and you could have a chance to switch to a better provider before you set off.
If you’re still not sure what’s best for you, read Money.co.uk’s comprehensive article on how to spend money overseas. It analyses the pros and cons of all the options available to you, and could help you make a decision on the best way to order and spend travel money.
As always, Which? online consumer guides come up trumps too. The Which? travel money guide contains a variety of valuable advice but you need to be a member to read this content in full.
Where to order travel money online
You can still pick up travel money, pre-paid cards and travellers cheques in high street branches, but ordering the amount you need online can be much more convenient. Both the Post Office and Tesco, for example, let you order travel money online to collect in a branch or shop. You can also order cash from travel companies like Holiday Extras – this option may be particularly advantageous if you’ve also booked airport parking, airport hotel stays and travel insurance with the same provider.
But before you order your travel money, remember to shop around for the best rate first. TravelMoneyMaxx.com – part of MoneySavingExpert.com – helps you compare the best online rates. It even lets you know where you’ll find the best buyback rates, if you have any currency leftover on your return. MoneySupermarket.com also has a comprehensive travel money comparison tool, with a useful pros and cons list displayed for every option shown.
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