Holidays: Expert shares why now is the best time to buy travel money for future holidays

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The pound to euro exchange rate is not something the average person tracks closely but monitoring its movements can prove key to getting the most bang for your buck when buying travel money. Timing is key – which is why right now could well be your best chance to bag a good rate, experts have said. There has been very positive news regarding the coronavirus vaccine this week, lifting hopes that the travel sector will re-open soon.

Travellers have been urged to buy travel money imminently before the market becomes saturated once again and exchange rates weaken.

“For those consumers looking to book any holidays in 2021 and 2022, it would be wise to start buying up their foreign currency now before the value of foreign currency increases massively again,” Shon Alam, founder of currency exchange platform Bidwedge, said.

“Next year, there will be a mad dash for Euros and Dollars, so British holidaymakers would be best placed to get ahead of the game.” spoke exclusively to Alam for his travel advice on how best to buy money at this time – and make sure you’re not getting ripped off.

“Don’t wait till the last minute; don’t buy from the airport – but most importantly, never use a credit card to buy money,” Alam explained.

“If you buy travel money on a credit card, the card company sees this as taking money off the card in cash, therefore it attracts a higher interest rate and an extra charge as with all card companies.

“It is also worth noting that with exchange services, credit card purchasing can – and does – charge a higher overall cost.”

It’s important holidaymakers protect themselves appropriately, too.

“If you use an online supplier, do your research and ensure they are a real vendor to avoid losing your money to a scam,” Alam warned.

However, it’s still worth having money as cash as well as on a card.

“Regardless of the scaremongering stories, cash is still very much king,” said Alam.

“You always need cash and it’s the cheapest way to pay for things overseas.

“The card industry has been telling us all that everything is free, and now that myth is starting to erode.

“Cards are never free; there are always costs associated that you never see until afterwards. With cash, alternatively, it is in your hand, you have a relationship with it, and it is yours.”

Some British holidaymakers who are still too nervous to travel may well have found themselves saddled with foreign currency they no longer need after getaways were cancelled.

Changing your money back to pound sterling is an option – but it’s key to be careful.

“Owing to the pandemic and subsequent travel bans, the markets are volatile at the moment,” Alam cautioned.

“Consumers need to be careful, and should not be fooled by high numbers when selling back their currency.

“What holidaymakers actually need is the number to be low when selling their travel money to vendors.”

The expert explained: “As an example, if we say the interbank rate is that £1 buys $1.30, that is the rate the banks set. When the consumer comes along, purchases some dollars and gets to buy it at $1.20, this means the seller makes $0.10 for every £1.

“However, when the consumer sells their travel money back, the rate may be at $1.50 for £1, so the buyer makes $0.20 for every £1 returned, as the original bank rate was £1 for $1.30.

“In reality, this means that when selling back your currency, you really want a low rate and, when you want to buy, you want a high rate. Not many people know this, and it is as a result of misleading selling that the currency vendors have been profiting on for some time.

“This also means that as confidence does come back into the travel market, consumers’ money will have less value. My advice would be to sell it as soon as possible.”

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