If you have had to save a little harder than usual to enjoy a summer holiday this year, then spending money is probably more precious than ever. That's why a new survey from Which?
, the consumer watchdog, on how to cut the cost of your holiday
cash is so very timely. The Which? team of researchers contacted 21 foreign currency providers regularly during February, March and April 2009. An online provider Eurochange
came out best overall (but we find the website confusing) and, probably unsurprisingly, airport Bureaux de Change desks were revealed as the worst. Travelex
came out as a particularly poor choice, in fact $500 was Â£40 more in Travelex than from Eurochange, and â500 was nearly Â£47 more expensive. Just to put it in perspective, if you had a Â£500 allowance for holiday spending you could lose almost 10% of it by purchasing your foreign currency from Travelex in the Airport! So, the message is clear: organise your foreign currency before you get to the airport. In general the best deals were all online, even the Post Office
offered much better rates to its online customers than to customers in store. What's more, ordering online is much safer than it sounds. You order the currency and it is delivered to your house by courier. However, you'll usually need to factor in a delivery charge for this service when comparing rates. The Post Office stands out here by offering a 'best of both worlds' scenario, order online to get the best rate and then collect in store to avoid delivery charges! Saga
is another good online choice as they offer free next day delivery for orders over Â£300 and do not charge for using Visa or debit cards. Here a few other tips to help you get the best foreign currency deal:â¢ Don't be fooled by flash promises of 'no commission' as this is fairly meaningless. Currency exchange providers make their money by what they charge over and above the official exchange rate, meaning a provider that charges commission could still be cheaper than one that doesn't.â¢ Remember to ask your bank what you will be charged to use your cards abroad so you know which will be the cheapest. You may even want to take out a new card for the holiday as cards which are cost-effective for spending abroad are usually uncompetitive for use in the UK (and vice versa).â¢ If you would like to have some contingency money with you, just in case of emergency, then get a UK Sterling traveller's cheque as you won't waste money on exchange rates and its less easy to spend on a whim.Two other top tips from personal experience - do not carry more cash than your travel insurance covers and remember to let your bank know your holiday dates so they do not freeze your account! Happy travelling and enjoy the savings you are (hopefully) about to make . . . PS - one other money saving tip is that Vodafone
is abolishing roaming charges from 1 June to 31 August 2009, this represent s a 75p saving for every text or phonecall home made via Vodaphone!