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Last updated: 20 May 2021
Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and social distancing policies set by the UK government, travel money providers are no longer offering collection services. However, delivery of travel money is continuing as before.
Travel money is the currency we take abroad to spend on our holiday. You'll need to decide how you'd prefer to pay for things while you're abroad. Some people like to take cash, while others prefer to take prepaid cards.
To get the best exchange rates, you'll need to compare currency exchange for travel money from a range of different places. The 'exchange rate' is a term for how much travel money you get in return for what you pay. For example, a US dollar exchange rate of 1.4 would give you $1.40 for every £1 you pay.
We're here to help you find brilliant money exchange rates on foreign currency exchange and share our top tips and guidance on holiday money.
We all love going on holiday, but knowing where to buy travel money can be tricky. Where will you get the best exchange rates? Where should you compare holiday money? How much travel currency should you take?
It's a good idea to do your money exchange online if you want to get the best exchange rates. You can do a travel money comparison online. You'll usually get a better deal on your travel money exchange if you do it online compared with the high street or at the airport.
The online exchange rate might be better or you might be offered a better deal overall if you buy foreign currency online. That's because the travel money provider's overheads are so much lower if they're online.
You'll find the best currency exchange rate and the best travel money deal by comparing as many providers as possible.
It's likely that you'll want to order currency online to get the best deal. Avoid getting your travel money at the airport at all costs. Airport holiday money providers charge sky-high prices as they have captive customers who are just about to board a plane! So it pays to be prepared.
The currency exchange comparison table at the top of this page will help you compare travel money. Then you can find the best euro travel money rate or dollar exchange rate.
When you're looking for your travel money, compare your options, paying attention to the following factors:
High exchange rates: The higher the number, the more travel money you'll get. Compare currency rates to make sure you get the best deal.
Delivery charges: If you do your currency exchange online, the cost of having your holiday money delivered to your home can vary
Special offers: Look out for any travel money deals because sometimes you can get a higher exchange rate or free delivery.
By doing this, you should be able to find the best travel money exchange rate online, before you go on holiday. You can find out more about travel money, best rates and other costs here.
Remember that exchange rates are constantly changing. You might get different rates from different providers on different days.
Commission is the service fee that a travel money provider charges to exchange your money. This charge is usually hidden within the exchange rate they are advertising.
You'll notice that many companies advertise 0% commission to exchange money online or on the high street. But they might still be charging you commission, by offering a less competitive exchange rate.
Yes, you can. But the amount you can exchange varies between travel money providers. The best online travel money holiday money providers might let you exchange up to £7,500.
The amount you pay will normally be rounded up or down to make sure you get a round figure. For example, if the pound-to-euro exchange rate is 1.29, you pay €400 (rather than paying £300 for €386.70). Some currencies can only be withdrawn when you're in the country you're travelling to. These are called closed currencies.
When you buy your currency online, it's normally sent with Royal Mail's special delivery service. This means you'll have to be home to sign for it.
Cash orders worth more than £2,500 will be sent as individual deliveries. This is for insurance reasons.
When you compare travel money, you'll see that some providers do offer next-day delivery. They send your travel money using Royal Mail's Special Delivery Guaranteed by 1pm service.
You usually pay extra for this and can see how much it'll be when you do your travel money comparison. You can also pre-order currency to pick up in store, and means you can avoid delivery charges.
Travel money providers usually have a three-letter code for each currency.
Some of the most popular ones for UK travellers include:
GBP (UK sterling/£)
USD (US dollar/$)
AUD (Australian dollar/$)
(New Zealand dollar/$)
CAD (Canadian dollar/$)
CHF (Swiss franc/Fr)
JPY (Japanese yen/ ¥).
Exchange rates are usually presented in pairs - you'll see, for example, 'GBP/EUR'. The pair shows you how much of the second currency it costs to buy one unit of the first currency. For example, if you see 'GBP/EUR 1.21' it means it takes €1.21 to buy £1. If the letter codes are the other way around, it'll be showing how many GBP it costs to buy €1.
How much travel money you need to take depends on your plans. You'll need to budget for your holiday to make sure you don't run out of money before the end.
where you're going
meals and price of local food
Some countries charge a tourist tax and others charge an entry fee or visa to enter. It's important to be aware of these before you travel.
If you've got leftover travel money from a trip abroad, you can use a buy-back service to convert it back into pounds.
The buy-back rate tells you how much sterling you'll get back.
Remember to factor in the rate and delivery costs, and compare exchange rates. You can check out the best euro-to-pound exchange rate by looking at our comparison table.
You might find that after you compare currency exchange rates, you decide that taking cash abroad isn't right for you.
You might like to think about how else you could pay for things while you're away. Some people like to take a little cash, and do the rest of their spending a different way.
Your options include:
Credit or debit card: You can use credit cards in most countries, but you'll be charged for each transaction. Tell your bank where you're going before you leave, so your card doesn't get blocked.
Prepaid card: You load these cards with pounds or foreign currency. You can use them around the world. Many will even let you withdraw foreign currency from free from local ATMs.
Travellers' cheque: With these, you convert pounds into a foreign currency cheque. You then sign it, and cash it when you're abroad. The usage of traveller's cheques is increasingly rare these days, with very banks offering them.
Try to do your research on the best way for you to spend on holiday. The costs to you can vary a lot depending on which option is the best at the time. It can also vary a lot depending on exchange rates.
As with anything, there are advantages and disadvantages to taking cash on holiday.
The benefits include:
You know you'll stick to a budget
Some shops and restaurants outside of major cities may not accept cards, or may charge you to use them
You will able to leave cash tips for restaurant staff, hotel workers and taxi drivers if customary
You'll lock in a specific exchange rate for your whole holiday (so if the exchange rate gets worse while you're away, you'll be glad that you exchanged your cash when you did)
The disadvantages include:
It could be lost or stolen
You might not want to carry all of your money on you
It's unlikely that you'll get the very best travel money rates with cash
Your hotel might require credit card payments
You won't get the same protections that you get with a credit card
If exchange rates get better while you're away, you won't benefit