Currency Exchange – The When, How and Where to Exchange Money before You Travel

What are the Cheapest Ways to Exchange Money before you Travel? 


I’m often asked ‘Where is the best place to exchange my hard-earned dollars over to get the best bang for my buck?’  While researching this, I came across this great article by The Currency Shop that broke it down into a short, sharp guide with a few videos that made it super easy to understand and to make an educated decision.


In the guide, The Currency Shop compare various ways to buy currency prior to departure from home, on your way to the airport and at the airport, while giving us lots of tips and different tools to ensure we get the best rate available based on your time frame.


The AIRPORT is the LAST PLACE you should EVER exchange money.

Check out this video below to find out why…



Quick Comparison from Cheapest to Most Expensive


In 2018 The Currency Shop compared the four available options to purchase foreign currency at Sydney airport and have ranked them for you:

  1. Ordering online through Travelex and paying by BPay is the cheapest option.
  2. Ordering online through Travelex and paying using a card was still the second best option despite having to pay the card fee.
  3. ANZ had a better exchange rate over the counter than Travelex for a small amount of US dollars.
  4. The most expensive option is using Travelex in store.

Visit The Currency Shop to learn more about why the options were ranked as they are.


Order Online & Home Delivery or Pick Up at Sydney Airport

A home delivery of your exchanged funds is available but you’ve got to be organised and order at least a week or so in advance depending on your delivery address.

Ordering online at least 4 business days in advance will generally give you a better rate than over the counter and you can organise your funds to be available for pick up at the airport.



Sydney Airport Options for Exchanging Currency


You have two options for changing currency at Sydney Airport:


1. The cheapest option by a country mile is to order your currency online then swing by and pick it up at the airport before departure.

Click Here To Order Currency


2. You have six options for purchasing over the counter at Sydney Airport. 

If flying internationally, head over to Terminal 1 and check out these 4 exchange shops:

If staying domestic, you have Travelex in both Terminal 2 and 3:


Best Ways to Save Your Hard ‘Moolah’


Please Sir, Can I Have Some More?

Money changers don’t like missing out on your sale and may give you a better exchange rate simply by asking.  The odds are increased if you are changing a larger dollar exchange.


Be Diligent and Research the Rates

If changing more than $1,000, compare exchange rates online or by phone. See the full guide for the best questions to ask.


Fees are the Enemy

Don’t limit your research to exchange rates only. While the exchange rate might be higher than others, the fees may far outweigh the benefits.  Online purchase of currency from Travelex or Travel Money Oz attract a 0.8% fee if paid by card, however, pay by BPay and the fee is waived (but delivery time frames differ). Currency purchased via ANZ have a commission rate of 1%.


Travel Cards or Travel Money

You can purchase travel cards at the airport but it does take a little more time so ensure you’re not racing to the airport with minutes to spare and expecting this to take 5 minutes.


It’s always a good idea to take a mix of options ie. local currency for taxis, tips, meals and activities.  For larger purchases such as accommodation or store purchases you can use travel cards and speaking from experience (‘why won’t this damn ATM take my card’), it’s always good practice to take your Australian ATM card/s as a backup.


Don’t forget to advise your bank you are travelling so they don’t put your cards on hold for suspicious transactions. Calling them from overseas and being on hold for 20 minutes does nothing for your sanity or your wallet!


For further information and the full guide, please visit The Currrency Shop’s website.

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