During a recent piece of Interchange market research, we were quite surprised to find that one of our biggest customer groups is the 18-25 year-olds – despite them being the generation that are most likely to make purchases online and will use their mobile phones for payments and so on when they can, many of them stated that they are always conscious of the need to stay within a budget, especially when travelling.  And the way to ensure that they do that, is to set themselves a spending limit and then withdraw that amount in cash…. And then only use that for the whole period of the holiday.

With just a few days to go until the start of the Christmas season, many of us will be thinking about (and worrying about?) how much money we will be spending, not only on gifts, food and drinks, but also for any holiday trips that we have lined up.   Once the Christmas spirit kicks in, many of us will go a bit crazy on spending, and then find ourselves in a bit of a mess comes the New Year.  Perhaps, therefore, it is worth taking a leaf out of the youngsters’ books – set yourself a limit, draw out the respective amount of cash, and then hide your cards away for the whole holiday period!

If that idea makes sense to you, then you might want to consider booking your currency online on the Interchange website; you can order however much you want and then collect it at a suitable cash exchange office.   The rates are excellent and you can collect it whenever it suits you – plus, if you are travelling abroad, Interchange stocks a huge number of exotic currencies which can also be booked online and collected at the airport.   But even if you forget to book your money in advance, it is worth visiting one of our cash exchange offices and discussing the rate that they can offer you; generally, the larger the amount of cash that you want to withdraw, the better the rate you will be offered.

Another reason for drawing out cash, rather than running up costs on your credit card, is that many of the places that you may be planning to visit this Christmas or New Year will only accept cash; most of the stalls at Xmas markets, irrespective of the city, will only accept cash, as will the smaller shops in ski resorts and the ski lifts themselves.    Restaurants are always happy to receive cash (especially for tips!) and don’t forget that in some countries, cash will give you the opportunity to negotiate a much better deal than paying with a credit card.

What about if your credit card fails or gets damaged or lost?   That can also cause more problems than usual during holiday time, when it can be difficult to contact your bank, or to get hold of a replacement card in a hurry.  Plus there are some countries where some debit and credit cards do not work, or they have to be unlocked in advance.   If you are worried about that, you can always ask a member of the Interchange team, who can advise you how on how and when this might happen and which countries are likely to be problematic.

If, having read all of this, you decide you do want to withdraw a chunk of cash for the Christmas period, then remember that Interchange can offer you a buy-back guarantee, which means that you can exchange more than you might think you need, just to be on the safe side, and then change it back when you want to.   We can also advise you with tax free shopping and how to get your VAT back if you have been travelling outside the EU.

Finally, if the worst comes to the worst and you find yourselves stuck somewhere without any cash and with a credit or debit card that doesn’t work, come to one of our cash exchange offices that offers Western Union – through Western Union, we can organise a quick and easy transfer from your bank to get you back out there and enjoying yourself.