Travel money tips while you are away

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Recent reports suggest that Brexit uncertainty is encouraging more British Holidaymakers to travel to destinations other than Europe. Japan and other Asian countries have seen a rise in UK visitors and the Turkish lira exchange rate is making holidays in Turkey very good value at the moment.

Most European destinations are a safe haven for British tourists so Compare Holiday Money had a look at potential travel money pitfalls you should look out for when you travel further afield. 

Safe exchange

If you need to change your money at your destination it is always good advice to change it in banks or large hotels. Avoid street sellers and small back street exchange bureau even if you get offered a good deal. ATM’s are common in most countries but it’s always good advice to use them in the foyer of banks, hotels and airports and avoid using them in at night in deserted areas or areas that are not well lit.

Even in some popular tourist countries such as Egypt, you may not be able to exchange Scottish and Northern Irish banknotes and it is becoming increasingly difficult to cash travellers cheques. A lot of international banks will not accept travellers cheques these days so think about alternatives like pre-paid currency cards, if you don’t want to take  all your spending money in cash.


Major hotels will usually accept payment by credit card. However, smaller hotels and guest houses may expect payment in cash and in hard currency. Medical facilities will usually accept payment by credit card or cash. If you are not sure it’s best to check with your bank or your card provider that your card will be accepted at your destination. Japan for example, is an increasingly popular destination but is a largely cash based society and most western credit and debit cards are not accepted. On the other hand, Sweden is vying to be the first cashless society in the world and as such many places, including shops and even parking metres will only accept payment by card. Unlike many countries, Sweden is actually dismantling it’s ATM’s and encouraging it’s citizens to use an electronic payment app.

Other Scandinavian countries like Norway and Denmark are also heading down the electronic payment road as is China. China is is becoming increasingly less reliant on cash and is embracing QR code technology for payments. This doesn’t mean to say you shouldn’t take any holiday cash and that situation won’t arise anytime soon, Cash is still very important in most countries and is fundamental to the worlds economy. However, it is wise to research your destination to find out whether or not you may need an alternative as well as cash.

Travel money tips while you are away 200 euro banknote image

Fake currency

You should be careful about fake banknotes particularly in higher denominations. If you’re found with fake banknotes the police could be called and you may be prosecuted. Several British nationals have been convicted and imprisoned for possession of fake euros. There are some simple checks you can make to check your euro notes:

  • The front of a euro note bears the initials of the European Central Bank in five different languages. They should look like this: BCE ECB EZB EKT EKP, in that order.
  • They should have a raised print, a watermark, a security thread and a see-through number.
  • If you tilt the banknote, you should see a shifting holographic image.
  • On the back of €5, €10 and €20 notes you should see a glossy strip and on the larger denominations, a number that changes colour.

Outside of Europe the US dollar is one of the most counterfeited currencies in the world along with the Chinese yuan. It is a problem for Governments the world over and new security measures are constantly being introduced to new issues including holograms, new polymer and fibre content of banknotes, micro-text and special dyes. It is very difficult for the untrained eye to spot fake currency particularly if it’s not a currency you handle every day. The best advice is to always obtain your travel money from a reputable source. 

Up to date information on all aspects of travel to any country, can be found on the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice website.

Feature Image by Emma Blowers from Pixabay

Posted by Graham Morley

Graham Morley

Graham is the Business Development Manager for Compare Holiday Money.

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