While travelling abroad for holiday can be expensive, it is super important to make sure that you make the right decision when it comes to your travel currency and how you will spend money abroad. Start by preparing in advance giving you plenty of time to organise your travel money requirements.
With a wide variety of travel currency options available and each solution varying hugely in cost, The Currency Club guide will enable you to make the most informed decision when choosing the best ways for you when spending abroad.
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1) Budget your Spending
Think carefully the amount of travel currency you will actually need. You can start by researching the cost of goods in the country you are travelling to. A handy guide to find information on the cost of living of the country that you are travelling to is to use Numbeo
Make deductions from your travel money budget towards any inclusive accommodation etc and hopefully you will then be able to work out the final amount of spending money that you will need.
2) Research the country that you are travelling to and look into spending options specific to that country
Now you have your budget in place. You need to think carefully about where you will be travelling. Its always good to answer the following questions:
1) Does the country I am travelling to take mainly cash payments?
If you are travelling to parts of Asia or Africa for example, this may be the case, and it could be that your payment card may not go so far when it comes to spending abroad. It could be that your payment card is accepted, but expect to pay extra charges to the merchant in some instances.
Did you know cash sometimes helps smaller vendors in countries abroad? Many shops and stalls in countries abroad may not have the means or know how of accepting electronic payments and by having some travel money on you in cash will support them.
There is however the exception that you are travelling to a place where electronic payments are widely accepted and therefore you should be able to use your payment card when spending abroad.
2) Are there sufficient ATMs where I am travelling to?
If you have a payment card, you want to make sure that the place you are travelling has plenty of ATMs in the event that you need them to withdraw travel currency. If there are insufficient ATMs available then be prepared to pay extra fees to use them, and in these instances its sensible to buy travel currency in advance to make sure you're not stuck without any money while abroad.
3) Are there places to exchange money if I need to?
If you are in a position where you really have to, or there are currency exchange controls, it might be handy to research in advance if there are licenced money services business in the place you are travelling to. If you then need to exchange money when landing, you will have done a rate comparison in advance to check you are getting the best deal. Always use licenced money services businesses only when exchanging travel currency. You can always use our handy currency converter tool on our home page to compare your exchange rate .
4) Be aware of currency control restrictions
If a country you are travelling to has currency control restrictions, this may either restrict the amount of travel money that you can take into that country or you may not be able to buy travel currency or sell currency outside of that country. Therefore it may be important that you exchange only what is needed and spend all of your travel currency in that country before coming back.
Convenient, quick and widely accepted if its Mastercard or Visa. Security of funds - if your card is lost or stolen you may have protection from the card issuer. Not many, but some specialist credit cards charge zero FX loading fees as an introductory offer. However be aware that the merchant or ATM in the country can also charge fees. Also credit card company terms are subject to change so keep an eye. Can be extremely costly, card issues can charge as much as 6% on to use certain credit cards abroad. Cash advance fees also apply and interest is payable on cash withdrawals even if the credit card is paid off entirely at the end of the month in full. Check the details of the credit card in advance of your travels.
Again like credit cards, debit cards are convenient if there are lots of ATMs and card payments are widely accepted Debit card loading fees can work out extremely expensive so check carefully. We have seen them as high as 6% from the interbank exchange rate.You may also be subject to ATM withdrawal charges and fees from the merchant in the country that you are travelling to
Widely used and accepted throughout any countryOnline currency specialists in the UK supply currency at extremely competitive exchange rates which in some cases we have seen as low as 1% so make sure you exchange money in the right places!
If you are wondering why travellers' cheques is not mentioned, then visit our handy guide on travellers cheques here.
In sum, the process of deciding what method to spend money abroad can feel like a minefield. What is important is that once you find the balance of travel currency options that you would like to use, you can then work out what the cheapest options. As explained earlier, preparing in advance can ensure that you are not left with any last-minute costly surprises!
The Currency Club is the UK's leading online transparent foreign exchange specialist. Whether you need to buy travel money or send money internationally at low cost, transact at the live interbank exchange rate every time with our low transparent fee structure.