If you're heading to the continent in the near-future, you'll want to you're your spending money go as far as possible. Well, a few tips and currency tricks can ensure you do just that, leaving you with more cash with which to enjoy that well-earned break.
According to research from FAIRFX, typical holidaymakers spend hundreds of pounds more than they need to by not being organised. Going over your baggage allowance, for example, can quickly ramp up your holiday spend – some airlines charge £100+ for a few extra kilograms – as can sloppy form-filling, for if the name doesn't exactly match the passport, you could be hit with a hefty charge for changing the name on the ticket.
And what about travel insurance? Flying without a policy means you're putting your finances on the line. Medical treatment can cost a fortune if you're unlucky enough to become unwell on your trip, but even something like lost luggage can put a hole in your pocket. Don't think you can get away with "forgetting" to tell your insurer about medical conditions or previous claims to get a cheaper quote, either – doing so will instantly invalidate your policy, so not only will you have to fork out should anything go wrong, but you're actually paying for nothing.
You should always plan your currency exchange in advance, too. Leaving it until the last minute and buying at the airport can be a big mistake – exchange rates at airports are typically over 10% worse than elsewhere, which means it could cost you in excess of £100 more for every £1,000 you change, so you've instantly lost spending money. Alternatively, spend time doing your research beforehand to compare currency exchange providers to ensure that you're not spending more than you need.
Another option is to plan ahead and invest in a prepaid travel card. This allows you to lock in to a great rate in advance and will mean you've got your spending money safely stored away – a card can be replaced, unlike cash – and most don't charge extra for using it abroad. A straight up travel credit card could be another option for those happy to use credit, but just make sure it truly is a specialist card – your regular credit card will typically charge high fees for foreign use, so it should never travel with you!
A report from Asda Money notes that, over the past few months, the pound has been at its highest rate against the euro for seven years – meaning you can get more euros for your money! It's no wonder that the current provider has seen a 98% increase in euro sales in the last three months compared with the same time a year ago, with everyone clamouring to make the most of their spending money.
However, the research also noted that 15 years ago, the year after the euro was introduced, the exchange rate was even better – holidaymakers buying £500 worth of euros would have received €820, meaning they'd have been able to enjoy €130 more than today (currently, customers would get €690 for £500 exchanged). On the flipside, those who went to Europe five years ago would have suffered from rock bottom rates, leaving them with €136 fewer euros in their pocket than today.
This shows how much things can change, and again, it highlights the importance of finding the best exchange rate possible – rates overall may be favourable at present, but it can change quickly. That's why looking into prepaid currency cards could be ideal – they allow you to load money onto them over time so you're not at the mercy of fluctuating rates quite so much, and even if you're not heading abroad until the summer, they could be worth considering.
At the very least, make sure to do your research into currency exchange providers – heading to someone that loads additional charges onto their rate will mean you're worse off and could easily end up with less spending money, but a bit of careful planning will leave you with more to enjoy on that well-earned break.
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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