Going to US in October and had a wee brain-wave about our holiday money. Seems to make sense to me but wanted some other opinions on it.
Rather than running about trying to get a good exchange rate etc, I'd thought about taking a small amount of dollars with me, and hopefully using a credit card for the rest of our spending (one that doesn't charge for overseas transactions, if such a thing exists). Use cash for small incidentals, and the credit card for meals/fuel/park entry/shopping etc. Therefore only spending what we need and not having (1) money left over that you lose out on when you transfer back to sterling, and (2) not having to spend all our money to avoid coming home with money.
Makes sense, yes? Any thoughts/potential problems welcome. Thanks.
I always do this. I actually load my spending money onto the credit card (well reduce the balance by that amount). You can withdraw cash from the machines over there you know. I haven't changed money up for donkey's years.
We take maybe $1000 dollars and then withdraw money using our debit card.
It would be in your best interests to inform any debit/credit card people that you will be using your card abroad before you go, otherwise they may stop your card thinking it is being fraudulently used.
Don't withdraw cash from a machine on a credit card unless you pay it back before the interest kicks in! If you exchange money at the airport (Travelex) you can guarantee the buy back rate is the same as the purchase rate for £2.99. And a prepay card is a paid for service as well. Whichever way you look at it you get charged for currency (debit card withdrawals usually attract a fee and the eventual conversion rate back to GBP is shoddy). But for a trip to the US the amount spent on currency will probably be minimal compared to the amount actually spent on the holiday. And a lot of credit cards now charge a commission fee when used abroad (Amex do as well).
I use a FairFX prepaid card for overseas travel. Mine's a Euro Mastercard but there are also Dollar cards. The rates offered are far, far better than the ones you get on the spot when using a CC overseas, or at exchange places in airports. There's a small fee for using cashpoints but that's true of any debit card. Can be topped up quickly using a mobile or via the internet so you're never stuck looking for banks. If it goes missing, you're protected as you would be with a credit card but the maximum loss is the balance remaining on the card... not some £thousands credit limit.