3 Essential Tips for Taking Currency Abroad

In the run-up to your next holiday, what’s the thing you’re most excited about? If you’re anything like us, sorting out your travel money is at the bottom of the list, just below packing.

From buying foreign currency to keeping it safe while you travel and, most importantly, spending it, travel money can be a headache. That’s why, according to The Telegraph, UK holidaymakers are ‘wasting £1.3 billion a year’ on unnecessary fees across buying foreign currency and spending it overseas.

To make life easier, we’ve put together our three top tips for taking currency abroad.

#1: Get the best currency rate

For those of us that don’t carry a calculator, making sense of exchange rates can be a challenge. That’s before you even consider the web of fees, commissions and delivery charges you might run into.

The longstanding rule of exchange rates is to steer clear of the bureau de change at the airport or hotel. Instead, plan ahead to get your money organised before you travel. However, today’s dramatically fluctuating exchange rates and unpredictable markets mean it doesn’t always pay to plan too far in advance.

Our advice: make sure you have a way to exchange currency close to your trip – but never at the airport or once you arrive.

#2: Focus on plastic

Carrying all your holiday money in cold harsh cash comes with an obvious risk. With all your eggs in one basket, you’ll be one misplaced purse away from a holiday that’s unforgettable for all the wrong reasons.

However, while it’s a good idea to make use of debit or credit cards, you should carefully check the terms of your account. In many cases, you could:

  • Encounter fees for using your card overseas
  • Get stung by awful exchange rates
  • Pay a premium if merchants process your transaction in your home currency


It can also be harder to keep track of your spending on a card compared to cash.

Our advice: take carefully-selected credit or prepaid cards and make sure you keep an eye on the balance.

#3: Don’t forget your cash

While the majority of your holiday budget is best-off on a card, there’s no need to abandon cash altogether.

Many of us feel more comfortable carrying some cash. When it comes to leaving a tip, paying for a taxi, or exploring a tucked-away café without card processing systems, it’s essential. So, take a small float of non-essential foreign currency with you as well as your card.

Finally, if you plan to withdraw cash on a card overseas, check the associated fees before you travel and be sure to consider daily withdrawal limits on foreign ATMs.

Our advice: order some cash from a low-cost travel money firm – just watch out for exchange rates and delivery fees.

take cash on holiday

A simple way to take currency abroad

At Not Just Travel, we recommend WeSwap as our preferred travel money provider. That’s because their innovative way of handling currency goes beyond a draw full of foreign cash or a basic pre-paid card.

With a unique peer-to-peer approach, you don’t swap currency with the bank or an expensive bureau de change – you swap currency with other travellers from around the world. Just load your pre-paid card, then swap it into any of 18 different currencies from a quick and easy iOS and Android app.

It’s simple, transparent, and as much as 90% cheaper.

Find out more about WeSwap