1. Know your starting point

Knowledge is power, so they say and this should start with keeping up to date with the current exchange rate.

For instance, the euro has been decidedly volatile in recent times, so you'll always want to know what the going rate is. This will help you to understand exactly what constitutes a good rate. You could then run a simple search for 'travel money best euro rates' to see how the available options compare against this rate.

2. Travel money online - best rates?

If you're looking for the best UK travel money rates, your best bet could be to go online. Not only will this increase the number of options you can view, but many of the main high street retailers have opened up online services, offering discounts to tempt people online.

When you use this you will normally be able to have your money delivered to your home, so you'll have to ensure it'll arrive before your departure date and that you can be home to provide a signature when it arrives. Other providers have an agreement with the Bureau de Change which will enable you to collect your money at the airport.

3. Read the small print

When making a travel money rates comparison, a common mistake is to look only at the exchange rate. While the best rate travel money company may look attractive, they might make that up by charging a substantial commission. Likewise if you see adverts claiming 'no commission' you can bet your bottom dollar they're making that up in the exchange rate.

Others may only offer that rate for sums over a certain amount. Below that level you may find yourself having to pay a higher rate or even not being able to make a transfer at all.

In the end the only way to be really sure is to find out how much your money will buy you. Most companies will be happy to tell you precisely how much in your chosen currency you can expect to receive.

4. Be careful

Security is an issue in this world as it is not regulated by the FSA. This means that should your chosen provider go bust your money could be at risk.

You should find out, then, how your funds will be stored and what guarantees you have about its safety. When choosing online providers, many will provide an added sense of reassurance, by phoning you to verify the transaction before they complete it. Little touches such as that, provide an extra layer of reassurance.

5. Speak to your bank

Depending on the attitude of your bank you may get a cheaper deal if you simply withdraw money when overseas through an ATM.

Because these work on the rate banks charge each other, this can often be substantially cheaper. However, if your bank charges fees on foreign transactions then this can rapidly become more expensive than pre-ordering travel money online.

Before you travel it's wise to find out what your bank's exchange rate is and what their rules are regarding fees.

Other options such as prepaid cards should not be discounted. These allow you to load up a card with money which you can then use like a debit card while overseas. This avoids having to carry around large amounts of cash, but the exchange rates on these are often less than compelling.

If you want to find the foreign exchange best rates you can use our handy comparison table to compare travel money best rates.