With holiday season well and truly in swing (why do I always take mine so early) it’s time to jump on the travel post band wagon… Mainly just so I can use some of my pretty pictures from Corfu and La Palma. When it comes to travelling and packing I am as organised as can be, yet when it comes to the important stuff like taking cash, getting money exchanged and sorting my phone out I am terrible.
Holiday money is always one of the first things to get sorted before jumping on the plane for most people. It’s usually a mad dash to try and find the best rates last minute, and if it turns out you need to order the currency, you’re probs cutting it a little close.
With the exchange rates being slashed since the Brexit, your best exchange rate options may be away from the banks, building societies and the travel money counters at your local post office. A recent study by Book Mallorca, found that 63.5% of people still prefer to take cash abroad with them, but these days there a good handful of exceptionally good travel money cards on offer, that will let you get your holiday money at a much better rate. Trust me, don’t just go draw cash out using your standard debit card as the exchange rate is always lower and some banks pop a nice little admin charge on too.
Whether you’re travelling alone or in a group, taking your money on holiday and keeping it safe and secure is one of the biggest worries – or losing it, if like me you cannot be trusted to look after your sun-cream let alone a wad of notes. Taking cash has many pros, for example you can easily keep track of the amount you have left to spend and you can physically see the money, which sometimes can stop you from going OTT on the souvenirs. However taking a travel card loaded with money can be useful in the event of being pick pocketed. If you lose the card or it gets stolen, it’s usually easy to ring up and get it blocked or cancelled, saving your money from being squandered by thieves.
Taking a mixture of both cash and a card topped up with a set amount of your holiday budget, is your best and safest option when it comes to carrying your money around on your adventures. Try getting around 70% of your travel budget exchanged into cash, then load the remaining 30% onto a travel money card. This way, you have the security of knowing that as soon as you touch down in the airport, you can pay for any taxis or transport you may need to get.
You may even find this is a good way of controlling your spending, especially if there’s a Sephora anywhere within reach. You will probably be more likely to spend your cash first, and you may find that by the end of your holiday, you’ve not touched the amount on your card, a nice surprise to return back home to!
Travel money cards have come a long way in the past few years and these days, the debit card style top-up cards are ideal if you go on holiday once or twice a year. These types of cards let you top-up whenever you like and use the card like you would a normal debit card when you are away. Some of the leading travel money cards are Revolut, which comes with a handy app that allows you to convert your loaded balance into GBP, EUR or USD. The Post Office also offer a prepaid travel card along with WeSwap and FairFX.
So no matter where you’re off on your holidays this year, have a think about how you’ll be paying for your adventure when you get there and start planning whether you’ll be taking cash or card along with you.
Are you jetting off anywhere this year, and how will you be taking your pennies away with you?