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Travel Guide

Changing Your Money: 5 Great Tips on Getting the Best Deals

Changing-Your-Money

Going abroad is exciting. Getting your money changed into the right currency isn’t. Nevertheless, it’s essential you have the necessary spending money available in the local currency. It’s no good turning up in Europe trying to pay with dollars. So get it sorted early and you’ll be on your way to having a seamless, enjoyable trip.

It’s surprisingly easy to get ripped off when changing money. Exchange rates vary depending on where you go (changing up your money at airports is never a great idea) and most banks will add fees if you use your card abroad. You can still get a good deal, though. Pay attention to the following five tips:

1. Get a pre-paid card

Pre-paid currency cards look just like a credit or debit card, but tend to be issued by specialist money changing companies. They allow you to preload money from your bank account onto that card, fixed at that day’s exchange rate.

Vouchercloud says prepaid currency cards are most cost effective in shops and restaurants, as some cards will charge you for withdrawing cash from ATMs, and outline the pros and cons as follows:

  • Advantage: a currency card is not linked to your bank account, and is easy to replace if lost or stolen
  • Disadvantage: don’t leave balance on a pre-paid card for your next holiday, as most have an inactive fee, sometimes as much as £2 a month

2. Choose the best pre-paid cards

However, not all pre-paid cards are equal. Rates and extra charges vary – so it’s important you pick the best. The prepaid Mastercard from Revolut is a good choice. It works alongside an app and gives you the rates banks give each other, which will always be far better than bureaux de change. It operates for most currencies, including euros and dollars. Other options include Monzo and FairFX euro and dollar cards. You can find out more from The Money Saving Expert.

3. Investigate your existing credit card deals

Unlike most specialist cards, some credit cards allow you to spend for free overseas. The Creation Everyday, Halifax Clarity and Santander Zero are top choices. It’s also worth finding out what your current card provider offers you for overseas travel.  According to the Guardian, good credit cards are a better option if you pay the balance off at the end of the month to avoid incurring interest charges. Pre-paid cards tend make money off people when they leave cash on the card (and get charged for it). Either way, you’ve got to be quite disciplined.

4. Always pay in the local currency

A lot of hotels, shops and ATMs abroad will ask you what currency you’d like to pay in when you use your card. This is especially commonplace in Spanish tourist resorts. But if you choose your usual currency, the retailer will do the currency conversion and rates are often poor. If you’ve sorted out a good card, it’s always best to choose the local currency and let your card sort the conversion with the rates you know.

5. Make the most of your money

Create the best deals for yourself by budgeting and making your money last longer. Richel Goes has previously explained how she got by on a budget of $25 a day in Manila. “Hard as hell, but possible,” she said. If you’re on holiday elsewhere, you might want to allocate a bit more for everyday – do a bit of research and find out how much you should be paying for accommodation, travel, activities and food.

How do you change your money?

Share your top tips with us.

Disclaimer: This is a guest post.

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42 Comments

  • Reply
    Kelly Jessica
    May 6, 2017 at 7:44 AM

    I haven’t been outside of the country lately (aside from Italy last January) but these are helpful tips! Keeping this bookmarked for future travels! 🙂

    • Reply
      Richel V.
      May 8, 2017 at 9:23 AM

      Have you blogged about your Italy trip yet? Have to look for it in your blog! Hope these tips help you in the future!

  • Reply
    shenna
    March 27, 2017 at 7:03 PM

    Thanks for the tip. I’m heading over to Europe later this year and really hope exchanging currencies won’t be a hassle. I’ve heard changing currencies in the airport is more expensive. Better to have it ready before flying right?

    • Reply
      Richel Vergara
      March 28, 2017 at 11:03 AM

      I’m excited for your Europe trip! That’ll be so fun. In most cases, it’s more expensive to change currencies in the airport. But it also depends in the country. Like, Taiwan, for example, you can only exchange in airports or banks and they’re at the same rate so it’s better to have your money changed in the airport. Banks closed from Saturday-Monday.

      • Reply
        Shenna
        March 28, 2017 at 11:19 AM

        Yes! I am so excited too. Thanks for the information Richel. I’ll follow you on Twitter and get updates lol

        • Reply
          Richel Vergara
          March 28, 2017 at 1:56 PM

          I’m excited to read about your Eurotrip!! It’ll be a few years before I get to go on my own hehe. Followed you back!

  • Reply
    Jan Limark Valdez
    March 17, 2017 at 10:46 AM

    Thank you Rachel for sharing these tips. Getting a keen eye with your Credit Card is a must!

    All the Best,
    Jan Limark | Brotherly Creative

    • Reply
      Richel Vergara
      March 17, 2017 at 10:58 AM

      Glad you liked them, Jan! 🙂

  • Reply
    Eena
    March 14, 2017 at 11:50 AM

    Mmmm. I love this list – very interesting to read. Haven’t travelled abroad in forever so obviously, never even thought of how changing into the local currency should be taken into consideration.

    cabin twenty-four

    • Reply
      Richel Vergara
      March 15, 2017 at 12:29 PM

      I always have to change currencies when travelling across Asia. Have any future travel plans?

  • Reply
    Teesh Osita
    March 13, 2017 at 6:36 AM

    $25 per day in Manila is actually pretty generous already. 😛 I agree with paying with the local currency, unless you can book it via card on discount sites (like KLOOK)

    • Reply
      Richel Vergara
      March 15, 2017 at 10:34 AM

      I want to try $20 per week pero baka magutom lang ako. Hahaha! I always do discount sites then transactions that can be done with a CC then local currency. I think more applicable sa US at EU yung pwede mong gamitin yung currency mo. We can’t pay other Asian countries with peso LOL.

  • Reply
    Chynna
    March 13, 2017 at 5:52 AM

    My grandma travels a lot and the first thing she told me was to never get my money changed at the airport. They rip you off BIG time, so I’ve always carried that advice around with me.

    I’ve been using a pre-paid card called WeSwap, which is great because you just load the money on in your local currency and then just swap it to the currency you need in the country you’re going too. At the moment it’s only the US and most of Europe but I think they’re looking to expand.

    When I recently went to the Philippines I used a pre-paid card called Revolut, which changes your local currency to their currency at the time of purchase so it uses the rates for that day. I used that card only because my WeSwap wouldn’t work in the Philippines, but Revolut is very good as well.

    • Reply
      Richel Vergara
      March 15, 2017 at 10:54 AM

      On my first trip abroad with just my friends, we were forced to exchange enough money for transpo at the airport since we didn’t know better. The rates were horrible. Haha.

      I think it’ll be better for me to look into prepaid cards when travelling to US and Europe countries. For Asia, I’m mostly okay by changing money to their local currencies. But I do have a pre-paid card from BPI that’ll do the trick for me too as long as they accept VISA cards.

  • Reply
    Nikaia
    March 12, 2017 at 11:47 AM

    I’ve never been out of the country, so I have no experience in this department. But I never knew about prepaid cards. I’ll keep that in mind when I get the chance to go abroad, soon! 🙂

    Nikaia | http://www.wheresnika.com

    • Reply
      Richel Vergara
      March 15, 2017 at 10:57 AM

      You can also use prepaid cards to just make payments here in the PH. They’re basically a debit card that works as a credit card. 😀

  • Reply
    Pauline
    March 12, 2017 at 1:11 AM

    I totally agree with every point you had here! I’m actually going travelling in 9 days and I got myself a pre-paid card to make it easier for me. I’m currently using Monzo, if you’ve heard of it? It’s so reliable!

    Thanks for sharing 😀

    • Reply
      Richel Vergara
      March 15, 2017 at 10:58 AM

      I haven’t heard of it, but I’ll look into it. Where are you heading, Pauline? 🙂

  • Reply
    Julia
    March 11, 2017 at 10:41 PM

    This is so informative to read! I don’t actually travel very much (ever) but I am taking a trip to Europe this summer so I’ll have to save this for reference. 🙂
    Julia || juliainbluhm.com

    • Reply
      Richel Vergara
      March 15, 2017 at 11:38 AM

      Have fun in Europe, Julia! 🙂

  • Reply
    rezinaprk
    March 10, 2017 at 5:50 AM

    This was really interesting to read! I’ve received a couple different prepaid cards as gifts and there was one that required you to make an account and enter in your social security number before using it, which sucked :/ So I agree that it’s important to do some research before deciding which one to get.

    • Reply
      Richel Vergara
      March 10, 2017 at 10:30 AM

      I have two prepaid cards that is like a mix of credit and debit card. Haven’t tried using it in another country tho.

  • Reply
    Gillan
    March 10, 2017 at 2:05 AM

    I haven’t been out of the country yet but I will keep this in mind when I visit Korea next year. Thank you for these tips! ☺

    • Reply
      Richel Vergara
      March 10, 2017 at 9:48 AM

      Excited for your Korea trip! 🙂

  • Reply
    Jeanne
    March 9, 2017 at 5:30 PM

    Great tips. I always exchange money from a trusted source.

    http://www.jeannieinabottleblog.com

    • Reply
      Richel Vergara
      March 10, 2017 at 9:17 AM

      Same here. I mostly change at my home country since there’s only a little difference on the exchange rate.

  • Reply
    ladymyx | myxilog.blogspot.com
    March 9, 2017 at 1:47 PM

    Hmm. Interesting. It is always credit card and debit card that I know, for it was just a swipe away no matter the currency is. But I think this can be helpful. Besides, havent been to any other country except Europe. :/

    http://myxilog.blogspot.com/

    • Reply
      Richel Vergara
      March 9, 2017 at 3:34 PM

      Well, I have to call my bank everytime I’m going out of the country if I want to use my debit card. It’s a bit of a hassle, haha. Which country do you want to visit if you have the chance? 🙂

      • Reply
        ladymyx | myxilog.blogspot.com
        March 11, 2017 at 7:45 PM

        It will be Japan and Vietnam, And oh, Canada. The first two, I just want to go there. My boyfriend always tell me stories about how good the food are in Vietnam. That’s the main reason why I really want to go . Hihi. And Japan, it’s awesome, new techs and gadgets. I am not a fan though, but I am curious of course. And Canada, I got lots of relatives living there. I just want to pay a visit. Nah, but these are all far from reality. I need to fill my bank account first and do lots of things. :/ Phew/

        • Reply
          Richel Vergara
          March 15, 2017 at 12:33 PM

          Also want to go to those places! But, yes, have to fill up the bank account first. Hope we can visit these countries! <3

  • Reply
    113thingstosay
    March 9, 2017 at 5:42 AM

    This was really interesting to read, I have never heard about pre-paid cards but I’ll definitely look into it! And I don’t know that it’s better to pay in the local currency, I’ll definitely keep that in mind (I just wanted to say when going away this summer but then realised that I’m not leaving the Euro zone haha) xx

    113thingstosay.com

    • Reply
      Richel Vergara
      March 9, 2017 at 3:35 PM

      Did you use Euro even when you were in America? I always have my money changed to the local currency, except to use some dollars in Duty Free. Haha.

  • Reply
    Nickle Love
    March 9, 2017 at 4:51 AM

    These are great tips. I haven’t been out of the country in years and this is helpful if in case I take a trip abroad.

    • Reply
      Richel Vergara
      March 9, 2017 at 10:01 AM

      Hope it helps you in the future. xx

  • Reply
    Diana Maria
    March 9, 2017 at 1:58 AM

    Paying in local currency is so important. as well as looking into pre-paid cards! I hadn’t done that when I first started travelling but have learned along the way. Thank you for sharing this love, I really could use tips on how to save, especially before the summer rolls around!

    http://mylovelierdays.com

    • Reply
      Richel Vergara
      March 9, 2017 at 10:03 AM

      I personally haven’t used a prepaid card before, but I’m looking into trying one in future trips – especially since I have a hard time changing currencies for my trip this weekend! Thanks for dropping by, Diana. 🙂

  • Reply
    Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's
    March 8, 2017 at 6:10 AM

    Thinking about this makes me really anxious! Doing adult things is scary o.o Thank you for laying some of it out for us! -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

    • Reply
      Richel Vergara
      March 8, 2017 at 11:21 AM

      This is one of the things I’m not too fond of when travelling. Sometimes, I get the best rates. Sometimes, I just feel like I’ve been ripped off. Haha.

  • Reply
    Anne
    March 7, 2017 at 8:34 PM

    I’ve never been out of the country yet but I’ve heard stories from friends about how troublesome changing currencies can be. I’ll make sure to keep these tips handy for the future. 🙂

    annescribblesanddoodles.blogspot.com

    • Reply
      Richel Vergara
      March 8, 2017 at 11:34 AM

      Just yesterday, I was stressing out where I’ll be changing money for my trip this weekend. Haha. Hope the tips would help you in the future! 🙂

  • Reply
    Karen
    March 7, 2017 at 12:54 PM

    I haven’t heard of such prepaid card! This sounds interesting.

    Someone also told me that it’s better to pay in the local currency. There’s a big chance that you’re going to get the worst exchange rate. I currently have a credit card that has dual currency billing option. All local transactions are in pesos, while international transactions are in US dollars.

    • Reply
      Richel Vergara
      March 7, 2017 at 2:33 PM

      It’s always better to use the local currency since you have the power to choose where you’ll change your money. I always use the local currency, just in case they’ll give me a crap rate when I use dollars. In some countries, it’s also better to withdraw money from the ATM – best rates, but you have to pay for a minimal free of around USD3.00.

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