You probably spent ages looking for the perfect holiday, comparing hotels, flights and most importantly prices.
Make sure you don't throw all that money saving effort away by getting a poor deal on your travel money.
Getting the best deal on US Dollars can save you over £100 on the average holiday spends.
Where's best to buy US Dollars?
The golden rule is NEVER, EVER buy your dollars at the airport.
Airport travel exchange kiosks know they've got you trapped, so they can and do charge ridiculous commissions and offer rubbish rates.
These are known as "Walk in exchange rate". They are usually they are between 10-15% lower than you can get if you buy elsewhere.
If you want to get the best US dollars exchange rate, you should either use a fee free credit card, get a prepaid travel card or order your dollars's online and either collect them or have the delivered to your home or work.
The Post Office currency service offers a free click and collect service for dollars. Simply order online and collect two hours later at your nearest Post Office® .
How do I get the best US dollar deal?
To get the best US dollar deal look for the highest exchange rate.
The Pound to Dollar Rate GBP/USD will tell you how many dollars you get for each pound you exchange.
For example an exchange rate of 1.28 means you get 1 Dollar 28 Cents for every Pound.
So the higher the exchange rate the more holiday money you'll have to spend.
Paying for your US dollars
Make sure you pay for your dollars with your debit card and not your credit card. If you use your credit card you will be paying interest from day one of your exchange, even if you pay off your bill in full.
If you use your credit card at bureau de change it counts as a cash withdrawal, so there's a fee and interest even if you fully repay. This can easily wipe out any extra cash you've got by getting a good US dollar exchange rate deal.
So use cash or debit card if using a bureau.
If you are ordering from an online or postal provider, make sure you check their reviews. There’s no protection if the foreign exchange provider goes bust before you’ve received or collected your money.
How many US dollars can you buy?
The maximum amount of dollars you can buy depends on the provider.
Most exchanges will let you have a maximum amount on one transaction, and you will have to provide ID to meet money laundering rules.
The maximum amount usually is around £2500, but some will allow £15000.
Remember that if you are travelling outside the EU. You must declare to customs cash of €10,000 or more (or the equivalent in another currency) if you take it between the UK and any non- EU country.
Then on entry to the USA you will have to declare if you are carrying $10000 or more. Also make sure you have some documentation on you to show the 'source of your funds', bank statement, receipts etc.
If you do not want to take cash with you on holiday, you can take a prepaid travel card instead. You can then just upload money onto the card before you travel and use it to spend while you are away.
Should I buy my US dollars early or wait?
It's impossible to say. The pound is pretty low at the moment, hovering around $1.28.
Will the pound go up against the US dollar in the next few months? No one really knows.
The best thing to do is to spread the risk, order half the money at the best USD exchange rate you can find today. Then get the rest just before you travel.
At the moment the overall difference will be minimal.
Some exchange bureau's like Travelex , will let you book rates now, and collect from the airport up to 14 days later.
Then if you find a cheaper overall price on your travel money, they'll refund the difference.
Which countries take US dollars?
Lots of countries besides the United States use the US dollar as their official currency.
The US dollar is the most widely used currency in the world, with many countries employing it as an accepted alternative to their own currency.
Ecuador, El Salvador, Zimbabwe, Timor-Leste, Micronesia, Palau, and the Marshall Islands all use the USD. The dollar is also used in all US territories, such as Puerto Rico and Guam, and a couple of British territories in the Caribbean. Turks and Caicos and the British Virgin Islands all use the US dollar as their official currency.
There are also lots of countries that use the US dollar alongside their own local currency. Those countries include the Bahamas, Barbados, St. Kitts and Nevis, Belize, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Liberia, as well as several Caribbean territories.
Leftover currency? How do I sell my US dollars?
If you didn't spend up at Duty Free or on the plane home, you may be wondering what you can do with the dollars's you didn't spend.
Well you can either keep it for next time you go away, donate it at one of the charity cash bins at the airport, or cash it in to get pounds back.
You can sell back your left over foreign currency at over 2500 Post Office® branches nationwide. They won't need to see an original receipt to buy back any of the currencies that they sell. To find your nearest branch use the Post Office branch finder and select 'Foreign currency' under Products and Services
The exchange rate you get at the bureau de change on buyback are usually not great.
A lot do special rates for you though if you bought it from them in the first place, so check before you convert your pounds to US dollars.
If you used a prepaid travel card you can either leave it on the card till next time or cards like WeSwap allow you to move it to another currency, including pounds.
Where can you find the best currency buy back rate?
You can look for the best high street currency buy back rates, many supermarkets and shopping centres have bureau de change, so you could check next time you're doing shopping.
Many online providers also offer a buy back service by post, which can often get you a better exchange rate.