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The Best Time to Exchange Your Travel Money

We all want to get the best currency exchange rates when heading abroad. Get it right and you'll enjoy favourable rates that pay for an extra cocktail (or two). Get it wrong and you'll miss out. We've broken down the best times, days and places to exchange your travel money.

Best day of the week to exchange currency

According to data from WeSwap and The Telegraph, you'll generally enjoy the best currency exchange rates on Fridays and Saturdays. Currency can fluctuate throughout the day too, with the morning or late afternoon cited as the best times to buy. These are just trends though and the currency markets fluctuate regularly, so keep your eye on them if you're looking to exchange currency soon.

Worst time to exchange travel money

The worst time, and place, to exchange money is at the airport before you fly. UK airports offer notoriously bad exchange rates and could give you a massive 13% less currency for your money. Always try and plan ahead or, at the very least, order your travel money for collection at the airport if you really don't have any other option.

How can I keep track of the exchange rate? is a great place to find the 'mid-market' rate for currencies across the world, which is the rate used by banks and currency traders, to compare providers' rates to. If you don't want to do this, you can use a comparison site to find out the best place to buy your travel money. You can also sign up to a free rate tracker from sites like Travelex, which will let you know via email if exchange rates change in your favour.

Should I exchange currency before I travel?

If you're visiting a country that uses a common currency like the euro or the US dollar, exchange before you go. You'll enjoy competitive rates on these currencies in the UK and it will save you hassle. If you're heading to a country that uses a rarer currency, you can often get better rates once you've landed. Always get some foreign currency before travelling in case you can't find an ATM/bank/currency exchange bureau straight away.

Check if UK sterling can be exchanged in your destination before travelling. If it's not, you'll have to use your debit/credit card and may get stung with high foreign usage fees, or find your foreign card isn't accepted at all.