WITH the pound still struggling against most other major currencies, getting good value out of your holiday money can be a bit of a challenge.
Here are the golden rules to remember whenever you’re buying euros, including why you should always pay in the local currency when you’re abroad.
What is the pound to euro exchange rate?
How many euros you get to your pound will depend on the exchange rate on international currency markets, known as the “spot” rate.
The pound to euro exchange rate, influenced by big investors like banks and hedge funds, determines how much each currency is worth in comparison to one another.
If a currency is strong, it means it’s worth a lot compared to other currencies, which in turn means you get better value when buying foreign currency.
The reverse of this is a weak currency, which results in poor value exchanges when buying money to spend abroad.
Where is the best place to exchange pounds for euros?
When you buy currency, you won’t be offered rates as favourable as the spot rate, which is reserved for big investors.
But how much bang you get for your buck will still be influenced largely by the underlying value of each currency.
Foreign exchange companies set their own rates, and often include a commission when they sell you foreign currency.
Because different sellers set different rates, and because they skim different levels of commission off the top, your value for money can vary wildly between euro sellers.
To cut through the nonsense and get a true comparison, ask the currency seller how many euros you’ll get for your pounds after all charges.
The best way to save money buying euros is to compare the rates offered by sellers in advance – and the most generous rates won’t necessarily come from the Post Office or Marks & Spencer.
Use tools like MoneySavingExpert’s TravelMoneyMax or compareholidaymoney.com to work out the best deals online and near you, based on commission charges and the exchange rate itself.
Ordering currency in advance can also save you money, provided you have time between now and your trip to wait for it.
Can cards save money when spending abroad?
One way to save money on foreign currency is with a specialist currency card, like the ones provided by FairFX.
You top these cards up online using pounds, and they work like a normal debit card when you’re abroad – but without the fees.
This has the added bonus of not exchanging a penny more than you need, and you’re saved the hassle of carrying loads of cash everywhere.
They also lock in the rate – so you know exactly how much money you have to spend.
But often it’s credit cards which will save you the most money, provided it’s a card with low or no fees for spending abroad.
Examples of good overseas cards include the Halifax Clarity Mastercard or Barclaycard’s Platinum visa.
It’s worth checking how much your card provider charges before you go away on holiday.
Should you spend pounds or euros while abroad?
If you can, you should always spend the local currency while you’re overseas.
When you pay by card and choose to spend in euros, your bank or card provider will work out the currency conversion based on their own rates.
If you pay in pounds, you’re forced to pay a local exchange rate on your purchase, which is likely to be far more expensive than your card provider’s.
Why should you never buy your holiday money at the airport?
Generally speaking, the one place you should never buy your holiday money is at the airport.
Airport currency exchange kiosks know they’ve got you trapped, so they can charge ridiculous commissions or offer rubbish rates.
If you do leave it until the last minute you can arrange to pick up your currency and secure a better rate.
Even if you ignore every other tip, just make sure you get your euros before you arrive for your flight.
CHECK YOUR CHANGE
There are FIFTY-FOUR different 50p coins in circulation – and our table shows some can be worth £100
ARE YOU MINTED?
Rarest and most valuable £2 coins in circulation revealed – do you have a design worth £72?
CHECK YOUR CHANGE
UK’s rarest £2 coin may hard to identify – but it could be worth SIXTEEN times its value
how much are your £1 coins worth?
Revealed, the rarest and most valuable £1 coins in circulation – and how to find out if yours is worth A LOT more than a quid
We’re not kitten
Here’s when the new Tom Kitten 50p coin is out… and how much it’s expected to be worth
Love me tender
These are the rarest and most valuable £1 coins that can fetch more than 30 TIMES their value on eBay