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Between prepping meeting materials, packing the bare essentials into our hand luggage and scanning a map to see if any nearby volcanoes are due to erupt, it's no wonder that changing money for a trip is often left until the last minute. But forward thinking and a little research is crucial to finding the best deals.
Before you even open your wallet, you should take time to plan how much money you'll need. Unless you are exchanging to a currency you will use again, you should avoid buying too much or you will lose out when you change it back as the transaction is made at a different rate.
Equally, you need to exchange enough to avoid withdrawing cash (and being charged a fee) from ATMs when abroad. Check with your bank to see how much you will be charged and you will see rates vary widely.
Barclays, for example, will charge you a 2.75 per cent foreign exchange fee every time you use your debit card for purchases and withdrawals abroad, plus an additional 2 per cent transaction charge if you withdraw cash overseas via an ATM or in a bank. So if you were to take out $122 from an ATM in France, Barclays would charge about $6 for the privilege.
The convenience of changing money at the airport can be tempting, but this is one of the most expensive options …