Travel Money: How to Get the Best Exchange Rate

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Beware of currency exchange services online and especially in airports. Do your research beforehand and you could save hundreds on your next holiday!

So, how do you get the best exchange rates?

Currency exchange services have been making a profit from uninformed travellers since Christopher Columbus started his voyages across the Atlantic Ocean. You are probably used to being told, ‘we don’t charge any fees and we take 0% commission!’ How fantastically kind of them, right? Wrong! Even if they claim to be free from commission, they will hide payment within their rates in which they deliberately set low to capitalise on each exchange. Anything above that, they get to keep.

Here’s a quick example; I typed in “1000 dollars in Thai Baht” into Google. Google tells me for 1000 US Dollars, the current exchange rate is 34860 Thai Baht.

exchange rates

For a more accurate reading, XE.com informs me that the conversion rate is 34,856.50 Thai Baht.

exchange rates

However, if I get a quote from a popular money exchange service, I am offered just over 4,200 Thai Baht less. At time of writing, that’s equal to 120 US Dollars!

exchange rates

Today, the best way to get travel money is by withdrawing it from an ATM when you arrive at your destination. Just make sure you are using the right bank. For more information and advice, use these websites and apps to help you find the best exchange rates.

Monzo

My new favourite travel tip for every traveller! Monzo is a challenger bank, questioning how we think about and spend money.

With free transactions worldwide, wholesale exchange rates, and a really cool App; there’s little they can do wrong. Get on the waiting list for a Monzo card now.

monzo travel money

Revolut

Another great option for a global-friendly debit card for people in both the US and Europe is Revolut. The challenger bank has similar benefits to Monzo. For frequent travellers such as myself, it’s worth carrying both.

Money Saving Expert

MoneySavingExpert.com is the UK’s biggest consumer website, with about 15 million users a month. The site’s dedicated to cutting your bills with journalistic research and a massive community – all focused on finding deals, saving cash and campaigning for financial justice.

Money Saving Expert

BONUS - Sending Money Abroad

TransferWise

Don’t get ripped off by PayPal or your bank, send money with the wholesale exchange rate. “There’s only ONE exchange rate. Any others are just works of fiction.

TransferWise
Dave Weatherall

Dave Weatherall

On the road since 2014. Living and working from 40+ countries, mostly in Asia. Blogging, building websites, and marketing management. My mission is to show other people, like me, the possibilities of an alternative lifestyle outside of the typical 9-5.

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