When you’re going abroad, whether for business or pleasure, you’ll want to have money you can spend on practicalities and things you enjoy. The last think you’ll want is to lose a lot of it on the exchange rate – yet because rates are constantly changing, this is all too easy to do. How can you ensure that you get the best available deal?
Don’t leave it to the last minute
Far too many people only start thinking about currency exchange a few days before they leave. This is a recipe for getting ripped off. If you change your money at the airport or a tourist kiosk, you’re almost guaranteed to get one of the worst deals available. Instead, start planning about a month ahead – then you can make your move at the optimum time.
Track the exchange rate
Following the exchange rate for some time before you set off will help you pin down the best time to make your currency transaction. If you do this using a broker – this TorFX review illustrates how they work – then you can use advanced tools to see how the rate has moved historically, and you may be able to access expert advice on how it’s likely to change in the near future. Where more volatile currencies are concerned, this could save you a lot.
This probably goes without saying, but don’t just change your money at the first place you find. There are lots of different kinds of places to choose from, including brokers, banks, travel agents, bureaux de changes and even supermarkets. It’s often, but not always, cheapest to change your money online and get your new currency delivered to you, but this may not result in savings with smaller amounts, because there will be a delivery fee to pay.
Beware of fees
Fees are something you need to be careful about in general. Make sure you understand thoroughly the way that they’re applied before you agree to anything. Don’t get too excited when you see outlets offering fee free services because they’ve usually just hidden that cost somewhere else, for example, by making the exchange rate itself higher. One thing worth noting is that purchasing your new currency with a credit card usually entails a fee but purchasing it with a debit card does not.
Most people assume that once they’ve decided on what looks like the best place to buy from, that’s it – but you might be surprised by what you can get away with if you try. It’s not all that unusual for currency traders to offer you a better deal if you haggle. Bear in mind that even if they don’t profit from you quite as much as they’d hoped to, they’re still making money which they wouldn’t get if you went elsewhere – while you really don’t have anything to lose by trying.
Saving money on currency conversion can leave you with quite a bit extra to enjoy on your travels, so don’t let yourself be cowed into accepting a bad deal – you can do better.