Maximise your holiday money while the pound is low

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We look at how you can maximise your holiday money while the pound is low because it’s no secret that the pound has been performing badly over the past couple of months, having lost over 5% of it’s value against the euro since May. Some currency suppliers are offering their lowest exchange rates since August 2017, and many high street providers are offering their customers just above parity on the euro.

Supplier Euro rate (11 June)
Debenhams 1.0947
Post Office 1.0912
Sainsbury’s 1.0905
NatWest 1.0621
Barclays 1.0500

However, if you haven’t bought your travel money yet – don’t despair. We’ve put together our list of top money-saving tips to maximise your holiday spending money.

Before I start, I want to take a minute to put these exchange rates into context because the thought of buying currency when the pound is low can be off-putting for many, especially if you’ve saved all year for your well-earned holiday.

The truth is: unless you’re spending tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds, the day-to-day fluctuations in exchange rates are not going to make a huge difference to the amount of money in your wallet.

For example, one year ago the best euro rate was 1.12 compared to 1.10 today which means you’re getting €20 less per £1000 than you would have back then. The euro rate in July 2017 was even worse; reaching a low of 1.066, so you’re actually better off buying now compared to two summers ago.

With this in mind, check out our top tips below to maximise your chances of getting a good travel money deal:

1. The best exchange rates are always online

The best exchange rates are always offered by online providers who have lower overheads than bricks-and-mortar stores based in the high street. You can order your currency online for free home delivery: see our comparison of today’s latest exchange rates to find the best deals.

2. If you buy currency in the high street, reserve online first

Here’s a secret: many high street currency providers offer better exchange rates if you reserve your order with them online first. Specific details on this are patchy because it can very from supplier to supplier and even store to store, but always check the supplier’s website (ideally a day or two) before ordering. You can reserve online at a better rate and collect your order in-store. Use our click and collect service to find your nearest travel money store.

3. Avoid buying at the airport

I hope this is becoming common knowledge by now, but it still warrants a mention – don’t leave your currency until the last minute because airports (and seaports for that matter) offer the worst exchange rates of all. If you have absolutely no choice, use our store finder to check for kiosks at your airport departure lounge and you’ll at least get a slightly better rate than you would have if you turned up unannounced.

4. Don’t pay commission

Signs advertising ‘zero’ or ‘0% commission’ are a familiar sight in many bureaux de change. In reality, nobody charges commission on travel money anymore (they build their profit into the exchange rate they give you) so if you’re charged any kind of commission or fee on top of your currency order you should reconsider the transaction unless you’re getting a phenomenal exchange rate!

5. When using your bank card overseas, always pay in the local currency

If you plan on using your UK bank card overseas, you might be given the option to pay in pounds sterling or the local currency when you come to pay. Always chose the local currency. This practice is called Dynamic Currency Conversion, and if you chose to pay in pounds sterling it will allow the merchant to set their own exchange rate (which will never be in your favour) instead of the spot rate used by your bank or card issuer.

In summary, don’t worry too much about what the exchange rate is doing – you can’t control it anyway and the difference is negligible on most holiday budgets – but follow our simple tips above to make sure you are getting the best deal on your travel money.

Feature image by Hans Ripa

Posted by Dan Morley


Dan is the co-founder and Technical Director of Compare Holiday Money.

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