What is travel money?
It is the currency you use to pay for things abroad, instead of pound sterling.
What currency do you need?
It depends on which country you are visiting. Most have their own currency but some share with other nations.
Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
Some countries also use another currency on a more informal basis, like in Mexico where the U.S. dollar is accepted alongside the Mexican Peso.
You can check which currencies to use for all the countries worldwide at fxtop.com.
What is an exchange rate?
It tells you how much foreign currency you can get in exchange for your existing currency.
For example: If the pound sterling to euro exchange rate was 1.37, you would get €1.37 for every pound you exchanged.
Exchange rates change over time and differ from one company to another, so make sure you shop around and compare rates to find who will give you the most travel money in total.
Some travel money companies will give you a better rate if you buy a large amount. Even if it is only slightly better it could save you money if you are exchanging a big lump sum for yourself or a group.
You can pick up tips on getting the best deal on travel money by reading our guide.
The higher the exchange rate the better. e.g. 1.37 is a better exchange rate than 1.25.
Nothing. When you buy your travel money you get the exchange rate available at the time of purchase, it does not matter if it changes later.
No, you can only sell foreign currency in exchange for pounds sterling in the UK.
How much travel money will you need?
This depends on how much things cost, what you plan to do and how long you plan to visit.
Set a budget on how much you want to spend and make sure to set aside a little extra in case of emergencies. Work out how much you can afford to spend on the following:
Eating out, e.g snacks, breakfast, lunch, dinner etc.
Drinks, e.g water, juice, pop, alcohol etc.
Shopping, e.g souvenirs, clothing, toiletries.
Transport, e.g taxi, bus.
You may not need to budget for everything. If, for example, you are going on an all-inclusive holiday you may need less money to pay for your food while you are away.
You can compare the cost of common expenses in each country by visiting the Numbeo website.
How much travel money can you buy at once?
It depends on the travel money company, as each has their own minimum and maximum amount they will let you order.
Although you may not be planning on taking a large amount of foreign currency on your trip, be careful of any cash restrictions for taking money in and out of the UK, for example:
If you take more than the equivalent of €10,000 from the UK to a non-EU country you have to declare it to customs or risk your cash being seized. Find out how on the GOV.uk website.
Where can you buy travel money?
Online - There are lots of travel money companies which let you order currency online with the option of home delivery or collection.
Bureau de change - You can visit travel money companies on the high street or at the airport to convert your pound sterling into a foreign currency in person.
Abroad - You can withdraw money using your debit or credit card at a foreign ATM, but this can be quite expensive due to foreign usage fees.
Take a travel money card instead - Lots of travel money companies offer prepaid travel money cards online and in store. You just top up the card with pounds sterling and withdraw foreign currency* from an ATM abroad.
You could use a prepaid card or exchange your money after you arrive, giving you access to closed currencies too. Read this guide to find out which is the best way to spend abroad.
It is a currency which is only available in its country of use. Countries such as Morocco, Tunisia, Cuba and Vietnam all have closed currencies and it is illegal to leave the country with any of their money.
Never buy at the airport
Buying at the airport is very similar to buying on the high street, but it is usually much more expensive.
If you have to get your travel money at the airport, pre-order it online first to get a better exchange rate.
Travel money FAQs
Can you buy travel money when abroad?
You can exchange travel money in foreign airport travel money kiosks or withdraw cash abroad using your bank cards.
Can you have travel money delivered?
Yes, but only in the UK. You can have your travel money delivered to your door or a specified location for collection, but this service often comes with a charge.
What happens if your money is lost in the post?
Call the travel money company and explain your situation. They will start an investigation and either offer an alternative delivery, a refund or send you a replacement order.
How many currencies can you buy at once?
As many as you want, as long as you do not collectively exceed the maximum allowance of your chosen travel money company.
Can you specify the notes that you want?
Yes, but only if you buy in store and at the discretion of the travel money company.