Pay less for your holiday money

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28 March 2012
Video,Money,Travel,Credit Cards,Travel Money

Although it can be tempting to leave sorting out your holiday money until the last minute, being organised can save you up to £10 in every £100 you spend. Our travel expert, Bob Atkinson, talks us through overseas spending options from cash to debit, credit and prepaid cards...

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While so many of us have got used to shopping around to get the best prices on our flights, hotels, car-hire and package holidays, too many of us are needlessly leaving it until the last minute to organise our holiday cash and just throwing money down the drain.

We'll show you how to organise your holiday money and get the best deal for your cash...

Make a budget

The best way to start getting organised is to make a budget, and include all the things that you're likely to spend on while you're away. Don't forget items such as food, transport, entertainment and any other hidden costs. And do some research into the cost of living at your destination to make sure you've factored in the cost of items locally.

And once you've got your budget, it's then time to start looking at the various options, and we at advise you to have a range of cash, prepaid cards and cards designed for overseas usage.


Now, starting off with cash. All of us need to have some cash when we're away, but did you know that you could be throwing away up to £10 in every £100 by buying from the wrong place, such as an airport exchange bureau?

We recommend you get yourself online, because it's here where you'll get the very best deals.

And if all of the jargon and numbers become too confusing, simply type the amount you want to take away into the website's currency converter and keep a note of who gives you the most cash for your money.

If you do end up leaving buying currency until the very last minute, and the airport is going to be your only option, go online and pre-order your travel money for collection at the airport, taking advantage of the better rates. The difference that this can make, compared to just turning up, is as much as 10%.

Pre-paid cards

If you don't like carrying lots of cash around with you when you are away, a pre-paid card could be a good option.

Simply apply for a card before you travel, load some money on to it and you're set.

You can use the card for everything from withdrawing cash and to paying for restaurant bills, but don't use your card for renting cars or checking in at hotels where a deposit is taken.

When comparing pre-paid cards, look out for ones with no set up fees, no purchase fees and no (or low) ATM fees. And don't forget to check how competitive the exchange rates on offer are.

Overseas credit cards

If you want to use your credit or debit card on holiday, check whether you will be charged to use it abroad - for cash withdrawals or for purchases.

If so, apply for a credit card designed for overseas usage and avoid any nasty surprises when you get home.

They are ideal for large and small purchases and are an absolute must for car rental and hotels. Good options include:

  • The Post Office Platinum Card
  • The Halifax Clarity Credit Card
  • The Sainsbury's Gold Credit Card
  • The Nationwide Building Society Select Card (you need a FlexAccount with Nationwide)

Compare prepaid cards, foreign currency and traveller's cheques in our travel money section >

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About This Author

Bob Atkinson

Travel Expert

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