I’m in a panic. Darling Son is jetting off to Tuscany this week and needs some euros. It’s a school trip – his choir is singing in various wonderful churches – so he won’t require too much cash. The organisers say 100 is enough. That sounds like too many souvenirs to me, but hey ho.
Normally, travelling as a family, Team Minted would use a pre-paid card such as Revolut. This allows you close to ‘perfect’ rates (ie what the banks charge each other) on foreign currency. You manage your account with a mobile phone app and the card works like your normal debit plastic. But you need to be 18. Darling Son is 12.
I did think about whether he could use his Lloyds card at a local ATM. He has an Under-19s account and the card will work in foreign cash machines. It’s just finding one, and being apart from the group long enough to use it, which could be problematic.
So it was back to the hard currency option. Running out of time and with a hundred other events (why is summer term so busy?) to attend/organise claiming my attention, I had to rely on what was available around home. The Little Cashington branch of Lloyds had actually run out of euros so I went to the post office. They ripped my face off, I think is the expression. I got 1.04 euros for my pound whereas the interbank rate on the same day was 1.14.
Shocking, shocking. But my fault for being disorganised. This is what I should’ve done: ordered online and in advance from bureaux such as Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Travelex. And be prepared to pick it up because there is often a delivery charge. This is usually about £5, but can be as much as £10, which could wipe out any savings on small transactions.
There are two very helpful comparison websites at http://travelmoney.moneysavingexpert.com/holiday-money/ and https://www.compareholidaymoney.com/buy-currency/euros.php. According to the latter, Debenhams today offered the best rate for 200 euros plus some nice little instore freebies. You have to pick it up yourself though, but then what Jasper Conran bits could you also collect on the way?
See the SMM guide to grown-up holiday money here.