Everything you need to know about getting your holiday cash

When it comes to travelling abroad, you know you’re going to need to exchange your money for the currency used in the country, and using a pre-paid travel card is one of the best ways to ensure you're getting your holiday money swiftly, safely and without any fuss. Monitoring exchange rates and looking out for the best deals can feel like a mammoth undertaking, so we have outlined some key things to look out for to ensure that you're getting the lowest fees and best rates, and ways that you can make the most out of your holiday money.

Start looking early

If you know you’re going abroad, keep an eye on the rates for your desired currency. The general rule of thumb is to start looking around a month in advance of when you want to go.

After about a week or so of checking you will probably start to notice a trend, whether that rate is going up or down. This can help you judge when you might want to buy.

You can find a live currency tracker on the Caxton website which will show you how much you would get if you were to load your card at that moment. Head over to the Caxton Card page and scroll to the bottom to find the Live Tracker.

If you have a Caxton account already, you can set rate alerts to be notified when your chosen currency hits a certain rate, instead of having to constantly check.

Don't leave it until the last minute

Never exchange your money at the airport! You will be getting one of the worst rates as you are a captive audience, and they charge you accordingly.

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Get a pre-paid currency card

As technology evolves we are moving closer to a cashless society, so unless you are going somewhere with relatively poor infrastructure, it is often better to carry as much of your spending money as possible on a pre-loadable travel card. Pre-paid travel cards are a great way to get a good exchange rate and not have to carry a lot of cash around with you.

Currency cards can also offer you an extra layer of security that physical cash can’t. With the ability to block your card if it were to get lost or stolen you can feel safer bringing larger sums of money abroad, perfect for a holiday shopping spree!

Caxton offers a pre-paid currency card that you can hold up to 15 currencies on at any one time, exchange between your stored currencies, and top-up via our website or app. You can also (un)block your card and the tap of a button on our website or app too, so feel safe taking your money abroad with us.

It is often a good idea to carry small amounts of cash for tips and emergencies, but in today's connected world there is no reason to carry the majority of your holiday money in cash.

Buy half now, half later

If you’re new to monitoring the currency market and are still not sure if you’re getting a good deal you can hedge by buying half of your spending money now, and the other half later. What this will do is ensure that half of your money has got a better trade deal.

For example, if you wanted to exchange £1,000 for Euros, you could buy £500 worth of Euros now, and then the other £500 closer to when you go. The first trade could be 1.20 and the second could be 1.25, meaning that your second trade got a better exchange. On the other hand, your second trade could come in at 1.15 which means your first trade got a better exchange.

It’s key to understand that major fluctuations are rare and the change in exchange rates could be very minimal. This approach is good to use if you are not yet savvy with currency exchange rates but would like to try to get a better exchange with a lower risk.

Get smart with your holiday planning

With the cost of living rising, planning ahead is crucial to know exactly what you need to exchange to cover your base costs and your spending money. Within your plan, it is always good to overestimate how much spending money you will need to take with you, as there could be an emergency purchase that hasn’t been accounted for.

A good tool to help with this that Caxton offer is a Buy Back Guarantee on card loads over £299.99, which means that any extra money that you haven’t spent whilst you are away we will buy back from you at the same rate you purchased it at.

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Look for other ways you can save money when exchanging

Using available services like our International Payments is a great way to save money when paying for hotel deposits, airport transfers, or activities. Using an international payment can ensure that you are getting a good exchange rate so that the overall purchase will cost you less.

If you’ve never used an International Payments service before, chat with one of our specialists who can help you work out what is right for you.

Being savvy when it comes to booking your holiday means that your hard-earned cash can stretch further, giving you more to play with on holiday. Remember that Caxton is always just a phone call away if you need advice on making your money go further and make your holiday all the more memorable.

Interested in having Caxton be a part of your next holiday? Check out our pre-paid travel cards, travel extras, and international payments services to see how Caxton can help you.

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