How To Beat The Bureaus On Travel Money

We are delighted to have our first guest post on the Holidaysplease blog. Giving us his expertise on getting the best travel money rates, is the co-founder of OPP award winning comparison websites, and Daniel Abrahams.

First and foremost, thank you very much to the team at HolidaysPlease for inviting me to share my experiences.

Around four years ago, I was living and studying in Sydney, Australia. Every few months, I needed to make the (very) long trip back to the UK and as a result, having to deal with foreign currency became an almost monthly headache. I knew I was getting ripped of, but it only hit me badly after delving deep into the numbers.

In this post, I’ll try to share some tips I have learnt along the way. Getting a good travel money deal is easy. With the right guidance, you can avoid the mistakes I made and save an absolute fortune on currency.

The first golden rule to remember is that ‘0% commission’ slogans are simply marketing fluff. It’s merely designed to confuse and conceals the true profit centre of currency companies. In no way, shape or form does bold offers of ‘‘we offer 0% commission’’ equate to a free travel money deal. On Bondi Beach, I should have studied closely the rate of exchange, instead of fluffly 0% commission signs!

All currency bureaus make money in exactly the same way. They add a ‘‘markup’’ on the ‘‘ real rate of exchange’.’ The closer the travel money rate you are offered is to the ‘‘real’’ rate, the better the deal. Next time you need to make a foreign currency exchange, check out a reputable currency converter tool that will help you calculate the true cost of conversion.Money1

At, we work on a weekly mystery shop that compares airport bureaus, the high street and online currency suppliers. Week on week, we find that airport bureaus remain the world’s most expensive place to exchange currency. Essentially, you are a captive customer and combined with airport rent being amongst the most expensive in the world, you end up getting a raw deal.

Our independent research shows airport currency bureaus apply markups nearly 10% away from the real interbank exchange rate. In real money terms, this means you are literally handing to the bureaus £50 in true commission on every £500 you exchange.

Our research proves that buying holiday money through an authorised and regulated online supplier works out overall cheapest, with suppliers adding markups of little over 1% away from the interbank exchange rate. Online suppliers will deliver money to your front door, via Royal Mail Special delivery. If you are dead set on picking currency up at the airport, suppliers such as Travelex and Moneycorp allow you to order online and pick up in departures.

Good luck!

Thanks again to Daniel for his guest post, and i’m sure all of our customers will appreciate the advice 

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