How to carry cash on a luxury trip abroad

Whether you have just booked a round the world trip of a lifetime or five star cruise, the time will come when you need to start thinking about buying foreign currency. In the past this may have involved a trip to your bank or you may prefer to leave currency exchange until you get to the airport. Whilst these options are quick and readily available, they can also cost you more than you realize.

When it comes to buying travel money, it makes sense to ensure your money stretches as far as possible. You’ve worked hard for your luxury holiday. Let your funds work hard for you. Here are 5 ways to ensure you get the best foreign exchange rate and avoid hidden charges and marketing hype.

1. Avoid the bank and the airport counters

Wouldn’t it be great if you could have total peace of mind that you got the best exchange rate and your holiday money delivered direct to your door? Well, there are many currency exchange companies that can promise just that and they won’t charge you high rates of commission or give you a poor exchange rate.

Airport

Your bank and the airport bureau de change on the other hand might be able to promise 0% commission, but you can be sure they will take their profits by giving you a less than competitive exchange rate. It is only when you compare live foreign currency exchange rates online that you realize just how much you could have saved.

2. Try not to draw out cash on your credit card

Did you know that by drawing out cash on your credit card you get hit three times? First there is the foreign currency charge and a cash withdrawal charge and then on top of that (if you don’t pay off your balance in full) the mounting interest that starts accruing from the moment you make the withdrawal.

Cash machine

If you like the reassurance of a credit card in your pocket for those emergencies abroad, there are some credit cards that charges no foreign currency charge or withdrawal charge. However, the interest rate is higher than most so if you do use your card, aim to pay off the balance once you get home.

3. Tell your bank you are travelling

Fraud is forever on the increase and banks are becoming increasingly careful when it comes to the use of debit and credit cards abroad. You may have even experienced a block on your card when on holiday and the lengthy process of proving that you are indeed you and that it was a legitimate transaction. You can avoid this inconvenience by informing your bank of your travel plans. They will put a flag in their system that you are travelling along with your destination and dates of travel. This will help to ensure uninterrupted use of your card and save you the embarrassment of having your card declined or swallowed up by a machine.

4. Compare the currency market

You don’t have to be a foreign exchange expert to get the best exchange rate. In fact, all you need is an internet connection and a computer or mobile phone. There are many currency comparison websites that will allow you to check the latest rates being offered by some of the best currency exchange companies in the country. Whether you are looking for more bang for your buck, euro or yen, it is online where the smart travellers go.

5. Consider a pre-paid currency card

If your spending large sums of money abroad, a prepaid currency card gives you all the benefits of a debit card but allows you to top up your card with a prepaid amount. This means you can leave your debit cards safely tucked away in your hotel safe or even at home whilst you use your preloaded card. Cards are accepted in all stores and restaurants the world over where Visa or Mastercard is displayed. Before you decide which card to use, it is worth doing a little research as most cards have withdrawal and load fee charges associated with them.

A little planning ahead can go a long way

Researching the latest exchange rates can really help your money to go further abroad. Whether you are planning an exciting itinerary of excursions whilst you are away, a theatre trip or an anniversary or birthday surprise for a loved one, that great deal you got on your currency exchange is sure to come in very handy.

Daniel Abrahams is Co-founder and CEO of MyTravelMoney.co.uk.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Comments (1)

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  1. Charmaine says:

    I found that this article told me how not to carry cash, rather than how to carry cash…

    It is a very informative article on where best to buy foreign currency and how to carry it around as a piece of plastic, but I was expecting to read something totally different when I read the title…

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