Best currency exchange rates

We all want to get the best currency exchange rates when we're jetting off to another country. So, how can you make sure your money goes further abroad? We've got the answers.

Is it better to exchange currency abroad?

This totally depends on the currency of your destination. If you're travelling to somewhere that uses euros or US dollars, or another very common currency, you're likely to get a good rate in the UK. Shop around to find the most competitive rates, either using a comparison tool or manually.

If you're travelling somewhere with a rarer currency, you'll often get the best rates exchanging currency once you arrive. Make sure you always travel with a small amount of backup cash, just in case you don't find a currency exchange bureau straight away.

When should I exchange currency for travel?

Most people begin looking at currency exchange about a month before they travel, but it's never really too early. A great tip is to buy half of your travel money well in advance (particularly if you spot a fantastic exchange rate) and buy the other half in the few weeks before you set off, to give yourself a chance to access an even better exchange rate.

Make sure you exchange your money at least a week before you go, particularly if you're ordering a rarer currency in. If it doesn't arrive in time, you might have no choice but to put up with terrible exchange rates at the airport.

When is the best time to exchange foreign currency?

This will vary from day to day, but the morning (before the lunchtime period) and late afternoon have both been cited as good times to find the best rates. This is because significant political announcements, which could impact the value of the UK's currency, are often made at lunchtime and can cause temporary instability in the currency's value. Buying either side of this window generally offers a better, more stable rate.

Is it cheaper to withdraw cash abroad?

It's often more expensive to withdraw cash abroad. Most UK credit/debit card providers will charge fees and most foreign ATMs also charge for withdrawing cash from an account that holds money not in the local currency. This means you could be stung twice for withdrawing cash.

However, if you're travelling with a pre-paid travel card loaded with the country's currency, you won't be charged for withdrawals. Some debit/credit card providers also don't charge for foreign transactions and withdrawals, but check before you set off. Try and find an ATM that doesn't charge for withdrawals to avoid any extra costs.