Bureau de changeís can now be
found in banks, travel agents, airports, train stations, as
well as some supermarkets.
Many have their own terms and
conditions and will charge a commission fee, usually between
one and two percent, when you exchange pounds for the
currency you need. But rates from one exchange to another
will change. The more you shop around the more likely it is
that youíll get a good deal.
In the past travellerís cheques were the safest, and most convenient way of
taking money abroad. But the single currency in Europe and the prevalent acceptance of
debit and credit cards across the world mean that travellers can use
a combination of payment methods (Visa and MasterCard have outlets
around the world and are widely accepted, but it is always a good
idea to take more than one in case one gets damaged).
Travellerís cheques are still used by travellers going to the US
where dollar cheques (or checks) can be used to pay for goods
without needing them to be changed for cash beforehand. Cheques are
also handy for their security qualities, if you lose them they can
be stopped and replacements can be issued.
Generally credit and debit cards work out much cheaper to use than
foreign currency or travellerís cheques. Some lenders wonít
charge you for using your card abroad but before setting off its
always prudent to check with your card company.
Most travellers will always prefer to carry cash and will think
nothing of walking around foreign parts with their wallets stuffed
full of notes, obviously this could be a personal security risk and
it is unwise to put all your joeys in one kangaroo because, as
previously mentioned, taking a mixture of payment methods with you
when you go abroad is probably the safest option.
by James Quinton