Organising your travel currency before you leave on holiday can leave you hundreds of dollars better off.
Organising your travel currency before you leave on holiday can leave you hundreds of dollars better off.

Get the best currency exchange rates

SETTING off an overseas adventure can be expensive and often one of the last things on travellers' minds is exchanging currency.

Whether it be taking foreign cash, a travel card or using your own debit or credit card, it's important to weigh up options before setting sail to avoid getting stung with hefty fees and charges.

Here's what you must consider before boarding your flight or stepping onto that overseas cruise.

1SPENDING MONEY

Citi's head of banking and wealth management distribution David Zammit said first you should calculate "how much money you are looking to spend in the foreign currency."

Work out how many days you are away for and then budget how much you think you will spend each day to work out the total amount of spending money you will need.

From here you can work out what you plan to take in cash and on card.

Some experts recommend you take 20 per cent in cash and the balance on card.

2TAKE MULTIPLE FORMS OF CURRENCY

A holiday can become extremely stressful if you aren't prepared for the worst when it comes to spending money - for instance getting pickpocketed or even having your bank cards compromised.

Travellers should take multiple payment methods when going on an overseas holiday.
Travellers should take multiple payment methods when going on an overseas holiday.

Mr Zammit said travellers should arm themselves with currency in multiple forms so they always have a back up plan if something does go wrong.

"Have a couple of cards there you can use for emergencies,'' he said.

"Most people would take a couple of cards overseas, there's a lot of fraud that happens on cards so banks will block them."

3FIND A GOOD CURRENCY EXCHANGE

Travelex's managing director of Australia and New Zealand Dion Jensen said it's vital travellers "find a reputable foreign exchange specialist".

"Know that you can get good quality notes or take different forms of foreign currency, whether that be cash or card or a mixture of both,'' he said.

And allow enough time to get the currency before you leave - some exchanges won't stock enough cash in the currency you need so it may take several days before it has arrived.

Customers should allow some days or weeks to receive currency before leaving on an overseas adventure.
Customers should allow some days or weeks to receive currency before leaving on an overseas adventure.

For the very organised traveller they may organise money well in advance and some lock in their currency rates on preloaded travel cards to avoid fluctuations.

If you are preloading currency Mr Jensen said allow up to 48 hours for the funds to transfer over.

4FEES

Whether it be using a pre-loaded travel card or using your own credit or debit card to transact, consumers should be mindful of the costs incurred on these payment options.

Fees can sting hard - travel cards can come with charges including exchange rate fees, initial card loading fees, cash reload charges and ATM charges.

Make sure you do online comparisons to see how different cards stack up pricewise.

Currency rates differ greatly depending on where you get your money so it’s important to do you research to get the best deal.
Currency rates differ greatly depending on where you get your money so it’s important to do you research to get the best deal.

5HEADING OFF

Making sure your money is safe is critical to safeguarding yourself against thieves, Mr Jensen warned.

"Once you have your currency, make sure you pack it away safely in your handbag or travel wallet depending on the destination you are going to,'' he said.

"You might want to invest in one of the undergarment currency holders so it's always close to your body so you can avoid pickpockets."

Some banks will require you to let them know you are travelling overseas so they don't block your card if overseas transactions pop up, so make sure you call them before you leave.


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