Travel Money Guide

Welcome to our guide to Travel money, this is the basic guide to getting you started and ready to find the best deals for your holiday cash.

What is travel money?

Travel money is the local currency you use when you pay for things abroad, as opposed to pounds sterling.

Why use a comparison site for travel money?

The Compare Travel Cash site is designed to save you money by showing you the very latest exchange rates.  Our site is unbiased and gives you up-to-date information updated every minute.

What is an exchange rate?

The exchange rate is the amount of one currency you can exchange for another.  For example, the GB pound sterling (£) exchange rate tells you how much a pound is worth in a foreign currency.

For example: If the pound sterling to euro exchange rate was 1.14, you would get €1.14 for every pound you exchanged.

Exchange rates fluctuate regularly and differ from one company to another, so it is important you shop around and compare the rates (Compare Travel Cash does all the hard work for you!) this makes sure you find the best rates and gets you the most travel money.

What currency do I need?

Obviously, this will totally depend on the country you are going to.  Most countries have their own currency, although some share a currency with other nations, for example;19 countries use the Euro (€) (Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain!)

Some countries have a primary currency then a second currency that is less formally used. For example, in Mexico, the currency is the Mexican Peso but often the US dollar is accepted in larger establishments

Compare Travel Cash helps you find the currency you need for the country you are travelling to.

How much travel money do I need?

This depends on many factors:

  •  How long you are going for.
  • How many people you are taking.
  • What you are planning on doing and
  • How much things cost in that country.

It is advisable to set a budget on how much you want to spend and make sure you factor in a little extra in the case of emergencies.

Take into consideration:

  • Eating out (will you be eating out for 3 meals a day and any snacks or are you all-inclusive?)
  • Drinks
  • Shopping for souvenirs, clothes or even toiletries
  • Excursions
  • Transport (buses, taxis and transfers)

If you don’t have an idea of what things cost in the country you are visiting, you can compare the cost of common expenses in each country by visiting sites like Compare Travel Cash.

How much travel money can I buy at once?

The amount of travel money you can buy at once depends on the travel money company, each company has its own maximum and minimum amounts they allow you to order.

Where can I buy Travel Money?

  • Online there are many travel money companies that let you order online and deliver the money to your home.
  • Abroad – You can withdraw money at a foreign ATM using your debit or credit card, but this can be quite expensive due to foreign usage fees and hidden charges.
  • Bureau de change – You can visit travel money companies on the high street or at the airport to convert your pound sterling into a foreign currency in person, this makes comparing the exchange rate harder.
  • Take a prepaid currency card travel money card instead – Lots of travel money companies offer prepaid travel money cards online and in-store. You just top up the card with pounds sterling and use your card abroad or withdraw foreign currency from an ATM abroad.

Be warned  – Never buy at the airport!

Buying at the airport is usually much more expensive than buying online or on the high street with much higher conversion rates.  If you must get your travel money at the airport, pre-order it online first to get a better exchange rate. 


Jason is the founder of Compare Travel Cash, and has worked in the financial industry for the majority of his career.