Let’s be honest, most of us forget to organise our foreign exchange until it’s almost too late. It’s usually one of the last things we do, in between getting travel insurance, packing our bags and making sure our passport hasn’t expired.
But this could cost you in the long run. If you have to arrange your foreign currency in a rush, you’re going to be stuck with the exchange rate available then and there.
To be savvier with your savings the next time you head overseas, here are a few things you can do to ensure you’re getting a great exchange rate for travel.
How to get the best exchange rate:
Step 1: Do Your Research
This is where you need a bit of time up your sleeve. Just as you took the time to research the best airfare deal for your trip, you should also wise up on where to find the best exchange rate for your foreign currency.
You’re probably aware that exchange rates change from day to day. Experienced travellers know to keep an eye on the morning news for updates on market movements (but keep in mind, the rate on the news is often not the rate available to the public). You can also check out historical rate charts to see if the currency you need has been in an upward or downward trend lately (FYI: this doesn’t mean the currency will sustain that trend – sorry, it’s not as predictable as that!).
We’ve compiled a traveller’s guide to exchange rate forecasting, which provides examples of what government and economic factors will influence the value of the Aussie dollar against other currencies.
If you don’t have time to research exchange rates all day, consider signing up for currency alerts. Designed to keep you in the loop, these alerts allow you choose a currency and your desired exchange rate. Once the currency hits your target exchange rate, we’ll send you an email to let you know.
Step 2: Shop Around
You should always do some online comparisons to check who offers the best deal, and it can’t hurt to call around the banks and foreign exchange businesses to enquire about the current exchange rate.
You can often negotiate exchange rates; just remember to ask for the total rate you’ll be charged, and not just the exchange rate. Many foreign currency retailers (including banks) display their rate of exchange, but then sneakily add on a commission fee. This means you end up paying more than you thought.
When shopping around, make sure you compare apples with apples – i.e. total exchange rate versus total exchange rate (including any fees). At Travel Money Oz, there are no fees or commissions charged on cash or EFTPOS foreign exchange transactions, so the rate on the board is the rate you’ll get. No thank you.
Step 3: Avoid Last Minute Airport Exchange Transactions
Don’t be that person at the airport running around in a panic trying to find a foreign exchange counter. One of the easiest ways to get a great exchange rate on your travel money is to avoid changing your money at the airport. But yes, this does mean you need to be a little organised and arrange your currency exchange in advance and not leave it to the last minute.
If you’re tempted to exchange your foreign currency at the airport, remember that convenience comes at a cost. Airports often have worse exchange rates because they know that, once you're at the airport, you have no one else to buy from.
Step 4: Lock In Your Rate With A Travel Money Card
One of the benefits of using a pre-paid travel money card is having the ability to lock in that day’s exchange rate when you load your card*. For example, if you load USD onto your card when the exchange rate works in your favour, it saves that total amount for future spending. Not a bad deal, right?
Using just an ordinary bank card means that on the day you spend or withdraw money, you’ll be charged at that day’s rate. Topping up your pre-paid travel money card in advance of your holiday is a great way to manage the risk of rates going down.
Step 5: Take Advantage of Our Best Price Guarantee
If you find an overall exchange price from an Australian competitor that’s better than the rate on offer at Travel Money Oz, we guarantee to beat that price*.
Bonus Step: Buy Online
We order our pizzas, groceries and fashion products online, so why not do the same with your travel money? You can often find a great exchange rate on the interwebs, and you don’t even need to worry about when the shops will be open. Simply order from the comfort of your own home and your cash will be delivered safely to a nearby store for you to pick up.
When comparing rates online, be careful to dodge any delivery fees. At Travel Money Oz, you can pick your foreign currency up from any of our stores (3 to 5 business days after you place your order) and you won’t be charged any delivery fees for your transaction.
Foreign currency can be confusing, and spending your money is far more exciting than actually getting it organised in the first place. But with a little bit of homework and forward-thinking, there are some pretty easy ways you can make sure you get the best exchange rate, leaving you with more cash to splash!
*Lock in your exchange rates mean the exchange rate is locked in for the initial load only. The exchange rates for subsequent reloads will be set at the prevailing exchange rate at the time of the transaction. Terms and conditions apply to Best Price Guarantee. See www.travelmoneyoz.com/best-price-guarantee for more details.
This blog is provided for information only and does not take into consideration your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether the information and suggestions contained in any blog entry are appropriate for you, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs. While we take reasonable care in providing the blog, we give no warranties or representations that it is complete or accurate, or is appropriate for you. We are not liable for any loss caused, whether due to negligence or otherwise, arising from use of, or reliance on, the information and/or suggestions contained in this blog.