Working Holidays

How to Cope With Currency Exchange

Thinking about taking a working holiday? Great! Make sure though, that you know the difference between a working holiday and a holiday holiday. Aside from the obvious working part, these differences lie mainly in the preparation you'll have to do before you leave.

In this article, we're offering advice on currency exchange when you're spending an extended period abroad. Whether it's for one month or twelve; you're going to have to think seriously about how you manage your money.

For shorter trips abroad – most travellers exchange a lump sum of cash before they go or resort to withdrawing from cash machines with their debit card once they get there. For those of you thinking about spending longer abroad; neither of these options are practical. A lump sum would be inappropriate due to the security risks it presented. And withdrawing from cash machines on the go? This presents very bad value. Though many short-term tourists are happy to negate value for convenience; this would be unwise on a longer trip.

Instead, if you want to access money from home while you're abroad – think about purchasing a travel card before you go. These cards are being offered by many banks, and allow soon-to-be travellers to pre load them. Simply transfer a sum of money from your bank account to your travel card before you go. These cards tend to offer fairly reasonable exchange rates (though do shop around to find the best one possible) and when you pre-load the card it exchanges the sum all at once. Then, when you're abroad, use cash points to withdraw money from the card without paying for each withdrawal.

Travel cards provide the same peace of mind as a debit or credit card would – as they're traceable and can be replaced in the event of theft or loss. They also allow you (or family members) to transfer additional funds at any time. This is great if you are without an internet connection and need someone back home to send you some more money.

Of course, some banks and credit card companies are offering similar deals on existing debit/credit cards. Shop around and make sure you pay close attention to exchange rates and any additional charges that you might be subject to. Also be aware that deals are often only available if you use cash machines from certain banks abroad. Make sure to check how common the banks are in your destination country!

Working abroad, whether it's for six weeks of six months, can be a wonderful experience. However, we would advise that you took the time to do a little bit of prior thought and research about money and foreign exchange before you go. This will mean that you can forget about it once you're there and really enjoy the experience!

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