Comparing Foreign Exchange Rates Can Be No Holiday; While the Euro May Have Simplified Holiday Spending in Europe at Least, It Still Pays to Shop around and Get the Best Deal on Currency Transactions. ADRIENNE McGILL Reports
Byline: Adrienne McGill
THERE are three main ways to take your cash when you are going on holiday: foreign currency, travellers' cheques and via plastic - both debit and credit cards.
In much of Europe, you'll be dealing with the euro, so you won't have to keep changing money if you're travelling through several countries.
But scouring around for the best deals when buying your holiday cash can be a laborious task, and the savings made are often not worth the energy spent.
Weigh that up with the time spent telephoning around various places, or trudging there in person, and it can make for a stressful start to the holiday.
Of course, it all depends on how much money you are changing and where you go to get your money changed.
A basic point to remember is that you don't have to pay commission. Plenty of places offer good exchange rates and don't charge commission, such as the Post Office, which has dropped its commission charge on currency.
Some well-known high street shops offer a Bureau de Change in store, as will your local bank. However, very few banks offer competitive prices or preferential rates for account holders.
Depending on the amount of money that you're changing, you may be better off paying a commission fee for a better rate of exchange. Also, holiday makers should consider the merits of a flat fee (usually about pounds 2-3), over a percentage rate (usually between one and two per cent).
While cash is convenient and can be used instantly it's not advisable to take more than your holiday insurance covers, usually about pounds 250. For this reason, many people use travellers' cheques which can be quickly replaced if stolen.
However, travellers' cheques are subject to a commission fee of between one and three per cent, with the exception of a few places, such as Marks and Spencer, who don't charge at all. The Post Office does not charge commission on American Express travellers cheques but does charge 1.5 per cent on sterling cheques. …