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5 tips to make your travel money go further

Does overspending on holiday stress you out?

close up of euro notes

A significant proportion of British tourists worry about running out of spending money on holiday, according to a new poll. 

In a recent survey conducted by Nationwide Building Society, almost a third (29%) of tourists admitted they fret about having enough spending money, while one in four (24%) said they worry about overspending.   

These were the most common stresses suffered by the survey’s respondents while they were on holiday.   

However, there are plenty of ways to make your travel money go further, so you have more to spend while you’re away. Here, Which? arms you with five top tips to make the most of your dollars and euros.      

Find out more: Travel money – tips for finding the best deal on foreign currency 

1. Spend on a credit card designed for overseas use

If you don’t feel secure carrying foreign currency, you may prefer to pay with plastic while on holiday.

Although some credit cards charge hefty fees on purchases made abroad, there are plenty that are designed specifically for overseas use and won’t charge any foreign-loading fees.  

You’ll also get extra protection against the threat of buying faulty items, through Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act on all purchases between £100 and £30,000, or through chargeback on other purchases. 

Make sure you repay the balance in full by the end of the month if you want to avoid paying interest on your purchases.

The Which? Money Compare credit card tables let you search cards from providers large and small to choose a great deal based on quality of service as well as cost and benefits.

Which? Money Compare Table – Credit cards for overseas spending – our tables are updated daily  

2. Use a prepaid card

Prepaid cards can prevent people from spending beyond their means on holiday, as you have to load them with funds in the same way you would an Oyster card or a pay-as-you-go mobile phone.

The exchange rate is fixed at the time of loading, which can be an advantage if you expect rates to fall. What’s more, you’ll pay no additional foreign-exchange fees when making purchases, provided the local currency matches that on the card.

Our prepaid card tables compare dozens of cards, highlighting what fees you will be expected to pay for each of them.

Find out more: Prepaid card tables – find a great deal 

3. Get the best deal on your currency exchange

If you’re keen to have some foreign notes in your wallet, make sure you get the best available deal on your currency exchange.

The exchange rate you’ll pay may vary significantly depending on your foreign exchange provider, so it’s worth researching which provider offers the best deal.

Our research suggests that ordering online in advance of your trip, and either getting your currency delivered or collecting it at the airport, can often lead to getting the most competitive deals.

To help, our currency exchange reviews compare dozens of providers on their exchange rates, availability of currency and customer service.  

Find out more: Currency exchange reviews – dozens of providers rated 

4. Time your foreign exchange purchase

The value of the pound fluctuates compared to other foreign currencies all the time, and exchange rates will move up and down to match this.  

You can get more value out of your travel money by buying it when the pound is strong. For example, the pound is at an eight-year high against the euro.

Unfortunately, it’s tough to accurately predict whether exchange rates will drop or rise further in the future – so don’t spend too much time fretting over your timing.

5. Get compensation for delayed flights

Away from spending, getting an understanding of your rights can ensure that you don’t lose out if something goes wrong.

If your flight is delayed you may be entitled to compensation under the EU Denied Boarding Regulation.

Our Consumer Rights team has created a template letter which makes it easy request compensation for a delayed or cancelled flight.

Find out more: Flight delays – use our template to claim compensation with ease 

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Which? Limited is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited.

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