When you’re heading off around the world, foreign currency simplifies your spending abroad. If you’ve got an upcoming trip to Australia on your planner, you should start thinking about getting Australian dollars as soon as possible. Check the current AUD exchange rate and plan when and where you’re going to make your exchange.
You have a lot of options for buying a foreign currency. While it won’t be sitting on a supermarket shelf, you’ll find that many more places offer currency exchange than you might think.
Exchanging Before You Leave
It’s recommended to exchange at least a portion of your currency before you leave to your destination so that you’ll immediately have something to use when you get there. You don’t have to exchange all of it at once if you’re afraid of poor exchange rates, but consider buying some Australian dollars ahead of time in your local area.
You never know what kind of situations you’ll encounter when you’re traveling. Being prepared is better than leaving it up to chance. It’s possible you’ll need to make a purchase right away in Australia and will be unable to use your card for it. In this case, you either need to already have some Aussie dollars with you or you’ll have to rush to find a place that exchanges GBP to AUD. Desperation is likely to lead you to a place with poor rates instead of allowing you time to research and find the best rates available to you.
Exchanging after Arriving
If you have some Australian dollars with you and you want to exchange the rest while you’re in the country, you do have options. However, it’s important that you don’t take for granted how simple or difficult it may be to exchange currency once you arrive.
Australia has similarities to the UK, but it’s not exactly the same. You may assume based on your experience in the UK that you’ll have a specific set of options available for exchanging currency once you arrive, but this may not be the case.
For example, it used to be a common practice to take a travelers’ check from the UK and cash it in a foreign bank to get the currency you need. Today, this practice may not be as accepted around the world. As bank branches become a little less common in favor of ATMs, it may also be difficult to find a bank that will accept the check in a more remote location.
Modern bank cards can typically withdraw cash in the local currency, regardless of what currency your bank account holds. When you don’t need a lot of cash, this could be a good option for you. ATMs tend to give a competitive exchange rate, although they do regularly charge foreign transaction fees which vary between banks.
Where to Exchange GBP to AUD
While in the UK, you have a lot of options for GBP AUD exchanges. It’s then up to you to see which one will get you the get AUD exchange rate. These are your most common options for currency exchange:
Many websites online act as brokers for foreign currency exchange. Once you find a reliable online broker, the currency can be bought and either transferred to your online foreign currency account or sent to you as cash. If you don’t have a foreign currency account, you may have to have it sent as cash, which can take time and may incur extra charges for shipping and handling.
- Bank Branches
Many international banks or larger banks offer currency exchange service. In the UK, bank usually offer low transaction charges that remain consistent with large or small amounts of currency.
- Forex Bureau/Bureau de Change
For small currency transactions, forex bureaus and bureau de changes can sometimes charge fees or give a less favorable rate. For transactions larger than $300-$500, a forex bureau will usually not charge a fee, but you do need to check on the exchange rate they are offering. While some bureaus may give a favorable rate for higher currency amounts, others give the same rate no matter how much currency is being traded.
At most international airports you can find kiosks and stores that will sell you Australian dollars. However, these businesses are unlikely to give the best rates, so they’re not recommended for larger sums of cash.
- Post Office
In the UK, you can order foreign currency from the Post Office. You can call and ask about the rate from 1 GBP to AUD before going or look online to find what official rate they’re offering that day.
- Travel Agencies
Not all travel agencies will exchange your currency, but some will if you’ve booked your trip with them. Travel agencies that do offer currency exchange may not be able to sell you a large amount of Australian dollars.
- Chain Supermarkets
Select supermarket chains may offer small-scale currency exchange. Before you make any assumptions about what you can get and where you’ll find it, contact your local branch to see if they’ll be able to sell you what you need and what Australian dollar exchange rate they’re offering. It may or may not be a good deal, but you should always check before you decide to buy it.
Always be safe when you’re purchasing a foreign currency. You want to enjoy your trip without thinking about having been cheated or scammed out of your spending money. Check your options to look for the best GBP to AUD exchange rate to help you keep your hard-earned money in your own pocket.