Holiday money: How to get a good deal and be prepared

When it comes to securing the best deal for your holiday money, shop around - don't just take the first deal you come across; you may be throwing away precious pounds if you do.

Don't get suckered by misleading promises, such as "0% commission". Travel money providers wouldn't actually make any profit if they didn't charge commission. Those that promise zero commission simply take the commission factor into consideration when calculating their rates.

It's very important to shop around and work out precisely which is the best deal, making sure you take everything into consideration.

Hidden fees are another thing to be wary of as many currency providers will add processing charges if you use your credit or debit card. Often it makes more financial sense to withdraw cash via ATMs then exchange on a currency-for-currency basis.

Be prepared

Very few of us are expert wheelers and dealers when it comes to the confusing world of finance, but it''ll pay to prepare well in advance and watch the exchange rate between your chosen currencies for a few weeks. When the rates are on the rise, then that's the time to make your move. Make sure you're prepared - a last minute currency exchange at the airport is usually the most expensive thing you can do.

Get internet-savvy

Typically, the very best deals available are no longer to be found on the high street, but on the internet. It's always worthwhile cracking open your laptop and perusing a few sites to see what deals are available. Once you've decided, you simply order your cash to be picked up or delivered through the post.

Don't be a one-trick pony

If you feel uncomfortable taking large amounts of cash abroad you can always consider travellers'' cheques or pre-paid cards - again, shop around for the best deal. You may find your bank has low charges for debit card withdrawals or credit card usage abroad so this may be your best bet. Ring them to find out what they are likely to charge you. It's always best to have a range of options: a little cash, a few travellers cheques and your debit and credit cards, for example. If you just rely on cash and it gets misplaced or stolen on day one, then you could be facing problems.

A holiday is typically an expensive purchase, so it makes sense to waste as little of your hard-earned cash on rates and fees when it comes to loading your wallet with foreign notes. Make sure you shop around and arm yourself with the best deal that's out there.