Top mistakes when buying travel currency for your holiday

With the advent of the internet it’s easy to see what the most competitive travel money rates are. You would imagine therefore that the days of getting stung with poor rates are a thing of the past. However even seasoned travelers can get hit with charges if they fall into some all too frequent traps….Travel Currency Mistakes

Top 3 currency buying mistakes:-

1) Using your credit card to buy currency – Most people know that using your credit card abroad can be expensive. However one trap that many people fall into is thinking that using your credit card to buy currency from a currency provider in your home country is free/cheap. Wrong! It’s treated as a cash advance and so you will get hit with punitive cash advance charges. I recently fell into this trap and was charged £37 for using my credit card to buy £1000 of euros for myself and people in our holiday party. Ouch!

2) Buying currency at the airport – Travel exchange centres at airports know they have a captive audience of panic buyers and so they can give very poor rates. I have seen the same brand of currency exchange centre charge a 10% worse exchange rate for their airport branch compared to their city centre one. If you leave your currency buying until the last minute then at least try and find a currency exchange centre/post office away from the airport. The best advice is to plan in advance and buy your currency online using an online currency exchange site.

3) Buying too much currency – If you buy too much currency then the “buy back” rate for your spare currency when you return is often even further from the market rate than the “sell rate” you initially got. Budget in advance for your spending and only buy the minimum you need. If it’s difficult to budget then take advantage of some currency exchange services where they will buy your currency back at the original price.

When you have mastered the basics if you want to take your currency buying to a whole new level then you might want to consider using pre-paid travel cards set up specifically for foreign travel. You might also want to sign up to currency alert services so that in the weeks/months prior to your holiday you can get an alert if the currency hits a certain rate and then you can go online and buy it.

Currency buying is often seen as a travel headache but if you buy in advance you could end up with a rate better than the rate when you travel and there is nothing better than that feeling of extra free travel money. It all adds to the fun of the holiday!

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