How to get the best euro exchange rate in 2021

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If you have planned a holiday to Europe this year we will explain how to get the most euro currency for your British pounds. Holiday companies and airlines are reporting record bookings for later in 2021. Easyjet for example, have reported a 250% increase in bookings over the same time last year. It’s easy to see why. After months of lockdown, disrupted travel arrangements and stay at home orders we can see light at the end of the tunnel.

Many people will be looking to get away as soon as the restrictions are lifted not just in the UK but across the world as well. The vaccination programme should make that possible and confidence is high amongst would be holidaymakers, especially as many companies are offering Covid booking guarantees and travel insurance which covers Covid is now widely available.

So, if you’ve planned to take a European trip or holiday this year how do you get the best euro exchange rate? Here are some tips:

Never buy currency at the airport

Lots of people will not think about buying their currency until they reach the airport. All the airports and ferry terminals are well served by foreign exchange bureau. The problem is they have enormous costs in operating at these sites and as a result the exchange rates are the worst available. Many have also now installed ATM’s which will dispense currency quickly so you don’t have to queue at the desk. However, the exchange rate of these machines is not made very clear and many people feel they have been ‘ripped off’ when they sit down and work out the transaction. If you do forget about your currency and leave it until the last minute then:

Order for collection

Even the airport operators like Moneycorp and Travelex will offer slightly better rates if you order online for collection. However, you will always find the best collection rates by comparing online. With our dedicated click and collect section you can enter any postcode or location and find the best available rates. In most cases you should order the day before but many bureau and exchanges, including the supermarkets and the Post Office will usually have euros in stock and you may be able to pick up in a couple of hours. It’s important to note that you must order online to get the online rate. If you just walk in the rates will never be as good.

Avoid the high street banks

Traditionally, before the internet came along most people would get their currency from their bank. After all you have an account with them and they make it easy for you to pop in and pick up your holiday money. Nowadays of course, in most cases you can have it delivered by them as well. However, it’s fair to say that the high street banks have the lowest exchange rates we see outside of the airports. At the time of writing for example, the best euro exchange rate we see on CompareHolidayMoney  is 1.1192 followed by 1.1162 in second. By contrast HSBC were offering a rate of 1.0752 and Barclays a miserly 1.0729. This is nearly €50.00 less from the banks for an average £1000 worth of currency.

Compare exchange rates

We make it easy for you to do that and it is by far the best way to optimise your travel money. If you allow yourself a few days and order ahead of your trip you can search our euro page and find live up to the minute rates from a range of providers.

As euros are the best selling currency in the UK the competition is fierce to offer you the best deals. Some suppliers will also improve the rate the more you order. When we make our comparisons we always factor in any postage or delivery charges so you can see at a glance exactly how much holiday money you will get for your pound sterling. Our comparisons are not affected by advertising or promotional payments. We simply take all the live rates and sort them in order of best to worst so you know you will be seeing the best deals.

If you end up buying too much currency then when you return you can also search for the best euro buyback deals. So if you don’t want to save your currency for another trip you can exchange back to GBP just as easily.

Avoid exchanging abroad


It’s always possible to exchange your currency when you reach your holiday destination. However, the exchange rate may not be as obvious and almost certainly not as good as exchanging in the UK. Many countries still have unauthorised and unregulated money exchangers operating and apart from a poor exchange rate you could find yourself with fake currency. Another tip is to always pay in the local currency. In some places traders may offer you the choice to pay in pounds or euros. In all cases it’s best to pay in euros. If you pay in pounds you will inevitably pay more because the trader will have to exchange the pounds themselves at the end of the day. Cross-channel ferries and airlines usually give you a choice as well and in most cases it’s best to pay in euros.

Never pay commission

It’s rare to see bureau charging commission for exchange these days. In fact most will positively highlight the fact that they don’t charge commission. If you do see any kind of commission being levied then avoid it if you can.

Should you buy your currency when the exchange rate is good?

We get asked this question a lot. The exchange rate will fluctuate throughout the year for many different reasons and its almost as unpredictable as picking the right lottery numbers! Sometimes the euro rate will reach a new high and it will make headlines. If you are two or three months away from you holiday do you get in and buy or wait until you travel? One piece of advice is to hedge your bets. You could buy half your currency while the rate is high and half when you travel. That way if the rate is lower when you travel you have got some at a better rate, but if it is higher you will benefit further from the better rate.


Hopefully the tips above will help you to maximise your hard earned money when it comes buying your euros. We will always show the best live deals for euros on the website and you can follow the euro exchange rate by viewing our euro exchange rate history page.

Happy Holidays!

Posted by Graham Morley

Graham Morley

Graham is the Business Development Manager for Compare Holiday Money.


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