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Travel money

Compare travel money with MoneySavingExpert

  • Buy travel money today
  • Choose the best exchange rate for your currency needs
  • Compare deals from 19 established brands

How does buying travel money work?

You can either buy your travel money online or in branch at a bank, building society, travel agent, bureau de change or participating supermarket, or from the Post Office.

Exchange rates are constantly changing, and travel money providers often offer different exchange rates – some better than others. Some will also charge commission for changing your money – always check and factor it into your calculations.

It’s wise to compare travel money deals to get the most for your holiday spending money. MoneySavingExpert's travel money listing tool helps you find great deals.

Why buy travel money online?

Buying your travel money online typically means better exchange rates than in-branch because of the reduced overhead costs involved. There is usually a broader range of currencies available online.

How does buying travel money online work?

You can either choose to enter how much cash you have in GBP, or how much cash you need in the foreign currency. The site will then calculate how much of the opposite currency you’ll receive, and apply any charges or commission, giving you a final price.

You can then pick whether you want your travel money delivered to your home (you may be charged a fee), or whether you want to pick it up from a local branch.

How do you pay?

Use your debit card to pay for the foreign currency you want at the exchange rate the provider is offering for that day.

How does commission work?

Companies often charge a commission to exchange sterling into a foreign currency. The commission might be a percentage of the transaction or a flat fee, but it should always be included in your cost comparisons.

Commission-free

Some travel money providers won’t charge a commission fee (a commission-free exchange). This can mean that the exchange rate they offer isn’t as competitive as other deals. So, it’s a good idea to compare the total cost you’d need to pay and the foreign currency value you would get if you exchanged with one deal over another.

Buy-back guarantee

If you’re worried about having leftover currency at the end of your holiday, some providers offer a buy-back guarantee. This means they will buy back your leftover currency from you at the same exchange rate that you bought it for and won’t charge a commission.

How to get the best travel money deals?

Different places will offer different exchange rates so it’s important to compare travel money deals to get the most for your holiday spending money. Here are our top tips:

  1. Consider the overall cost: Don’t just look for the highest exchange rate, take commission and delivery charges into consideration
  2. Pay with your debit card: Try not to use your credit card as you may incur extra fees
  3. Organise your travel money in advance: Shop around for travel money comfortably your trip so you can compare deals and make the most of free delivery options which take longer to arrive

When you use MoneySavingExpert's travel money listing tool, you can compare ordering and delivery options including all charges (fees and commissions). There is also a separate tool that will show you which travel money providers can offer you currency buyback.

How much money do I need?

The amount of money you need to take on holiday depends on several factors, including where you’re travelling to and what things cost, what you plan to do and how long you intend to visit.
Some things to consider when planning your travel money include:
  • Drinks and eating out
  • Travelling around (taxi, train, bus)
  • Daytime activities
  • Shopping

How much money can I travel with?

Each travel money company has their own minimum and maximum amount they will let you order, so it’s something to consider when you are comparing deals.

Rules on how much money you can take in and out of a country vary across the globe. You should check before you travel as you might need to declare it at customs.

If you take more than the equivalent of €10,000 from the UK to a non-EU country, you have to declare it to customs or risk your cash being seized. Find out more on the GOV.uk website.

Taking cash abroad

No matter how you want to pay for things while you’re abroad, it’s always a good idea to take some cash in the local currency to pay for essentials like food and drink, tips and taxis. Taking large amounts can be risky though, so here are the pros and cons of cash:

Pros:

  • It’s accepted everywhere
  • You won’t face any card transaction fees
  • It may help you stick to a budget if you only have a limited amount of cash to spend, instead of mindlessly swiping a card

Cons:

  • Travelling with large amounts of cash can be inconvenient and may cause stress if you have nowhere safe to keep it
  • If your cash is lost or stolen, travel insurance only covers you up to a certain amount (typically between £200 and £500). Check your travel insurance policy so you know what you’ll be covered for.

What are the alternatives?

If you don’t want to carry around large amounts of cash, there are other ways of paying for things on holiday:

  • Pre-paid cards: Lots of travel money companies offer prepaid travel money cards online and in store. You just top up the card with pounds sterling and withdraw foreign currency from an ATM abroad
  • Travellers’ cheques: Travellers’ cheques are pre-printed cheques with a designated balance which travellers can use worldwide across a range of currencies
  • Credit cards: A travel credit card can help you avoid overseas charges you might have to pay when using a debit or credit card, as well as giving you more competitive currency exchange rates
  • Digital banks: Digital banks like Monzo and Starling have all the same functionality as high street current accounts, but also usually offer free transactions and withdrawals abroad.

It depends on which country you are visiting. Most have their own currency but some share with other nations. You can check which currencies to use for all the countries worldwide at fxtop.com.

You might not be able to buy or change up some countries’ currencies due to local restrictions. It may only be possible to change your GBP or other currency up when you’re in the country, or you may be able to withdraw cash in the foreign currency from their cash machines.

Some countries may even let you pay in one of the major world currencies, but it’s a good idea to compare what the exchange rate would be if you paid in your own currency versus withdrawing the money or exchanging it in the foreign country.

Other countries, such as Cuba, have separate currencies for locals and tourists, which each have different exchange rates.

There are several places you can purchase money for your holiday:

  • Online: Lots of travel money companies allow you to order currency online with the option of home delivery or collection
  • Bureau de change: You can visit travel money companies on the high street or at the airport to convert your pound sterling into a foreign currency in person
  • Abroad: You can withdraw money using your debit or credit card at a foreign ATM, but this can be quite expensive due to foreign usage fees
  • Take a travel money card instead: Lots of travel money companies offer prepaid travel money cards online&and in store

Whether or not it’s cheaper to withdraw cash abroad rather than exchanging it in the UK will depend on the foreign transaction fee charged by your card provider to withdraw cash abroad, and the ATM fee charged when withdrawing money in the foreign country.

A travel credit card is designed for spending abroad, and can be a better option if you regularly travel or purchase items from international stores.

You can use a credit card to buy travel money, but you will usually have to pay a fee to do so.

 

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But you might have other questions. Do we provide access to all the companies operating in a given market? Do we have commercial relationships or ownership ties that might make us feature one company above another?

We commit to providing you with clear and informative answers on all points such as this, so we have gathered the relevant information on this page.