12 September 2017
Read Time: 4.1 mins
Whether you call it Great Britain, the British Isles, the United Kingdom or Ol’ Blighty, the UK is a destination that’s at once familiar from our TV sets, and also chock full of surprises, with history, quirky festivals (cheese rolling and bog snorkelling, anyone?), cool cities in London, Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff, and inspiring countryside. It’s a destination that’s perennially popular with Aussies wanting to experience it all, as you can cover so much in the one small(ish) island.
Right now is the time to take advantage of earlybird discounts to the UK where you can nab amazing deals on airfares and tours at this year’s prices if you book now for travel in 2018.
While money is on your mind, it’s a good time to look at what currency you’ll need for your UK holiday, and what you should budget for daily expenses. Travel Money Oz are the foreign currency experts, so we asked them for their top travel money tips for the UK so you’ll be sound as a pound!
1. What currency will I need?
The Great Britain pound (GBP) is the currency you’ll need on your travels around the United Kingdom. The Bank of England is the central bank for the pound sterling, as the GBP is officially known.
While private banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland print their own banknotes, these pound notes are still legal tender throughout the UK, although acceptance varies. If you’re tripping through Wales, England, Northern Ireland and Scotland on your holiday, you can swap the different notes at banks if local merchants do not accept them.
2. How much money should I exchange?
It varies depending on how long you’ll be away in the UK. It’s a good idea to have some cash on hand when you land so you can buy any incidentals you might need at the airport.
Ask your Travel Money Oz expert for some smaller banknotes when you exchange your currency so you’ll have GBP to cover you for your first day and get you used to the different currency denominations and notes. Stash the remainder of your pounds somewhere safe, either on your body or in your carry-on luggage for easy access.
3. The best way to carry cash
Travel Money Oz recommends carrying your GBP in a variety of monetary methods so you’re never caught short. A mix of cash, credit cards and a travel money card will mean you’ll have pounds on hand for incidentals as well as plastic for any big-ticket items.
A travel money card, such as Key to the World, is another great way to carry your cash. Available in 10 different foreign currencies, including Great Britain pounds, Key to the World (KTTW) is a pre-paid travel money card that allows you to lock in the exchange rate and access your own cash at overseas ATMs like a debit credit card and also use like a MasterCard for goods and services. KTTW is available to purchase from Flight Centre and Travel Money Oz stores.
4. More about travel money cards
Not only does KTTW allow you to lock in your exchange rate and provide a safe and effective way to access your money overseas, there’s a heap of other great benefits you can tap into while travelling in the UK.
KTTW is also an online portal for your Cover-More travel insurance, global SIM and trip itinerary, so all your travel plans and details are easily accessible at your fingertips.
5. How to get a good exchange rate
According to Travel Money Oz, you’d need a crystal ball to know the ideal time to purchase your pounds as the market fluctuates daily. Chat to the team at Travel Money Oz to know how and when to get the best exchange rate for your trip.
6. When to buy UK currency
It pays to plan ahead and avoid high commissions and fees at the airport by buying your Great Britain pounds before you fly. You can order your foreign currency online or in store at Travel Money Oz, and even set up a Currency Alert, which allows you to select your preferred rate and then Travel Money Oz will email you once the exchange rate hits that mark.
7. Holiday budgets
With the historically strong pound sterling, Aussie travellers might be wary of the costs associated with a holiday in the UK. By taking advantage of airfare deals and tour discounts, or looking at travelling to the UK in the low or shoulder seasons to nab cheaper airfares and accommodation, you can save on upfront costs for your Great Britain getaway.
The cheapest month to fly to London and the UK from Australia is February, while March to May and October are other good times to fly and save money on your airfare tickets. Chat to your Flight Centre Travel Expert for more info on flights to the UK.
8. Everyday costs
Once you’ve bagged a bargain on your flights, accommodation and tours in the UK, how much should you budget for daily expenses on your holiday? The foreign exchange experts at Travel Money Oz have crunched the numbers so you’ll know some of the everyday costs to expect. For example, a cup of coffee equates to AUD$4, a bottle of wine will set you back around AUD$15, and a pint of beer and a roast in a London pub is AUD$6.50 and AUD$15 respectively!
9. UK tipping etiquette
While you’re budgeting for your UK holiday, you can take tipping out of the equation. Although it’s appreciated, tipping for services is not expected in Wales, England, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Most pub patrons will generally just buy the bartender a drink or leave a few pounds!
10. Leftover currency
When your UK holiday is over, Travel Money Oz can help with any leftover British currency you may still have. Head in store to swap those GBP for AUD, or perhaps you can exchange those pounds for the foreign currency you’ll need for your next overseas trip….?
All images: Getty