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Currency confusion costing holidaymakers millions

Currency confusion costing holidaymakers millions

Category: Travel

Updated: 19/06/2015
First Published: 19/06/2015

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Confusion over currency conversions is costing UK holidaymakers nearly £350 million each year as we struggle to keep track of how much we spend when abroad.

While over half (52%) of UK holidaymakers try to keep tabs on their holiday spending by converting the foreign currency into pounds, new research from Barclaycard has revealed that over a quarter (28%) of these make mistakes.

This unintentional splashing of the cash means that as a nation we are losing out on a staggering £341.5 million per year – the equivalent of £127 per person.

Extravagant designer purchases (16%) are the main culprits for overspending abroad, followed closely behind by sunseekers splashing out on local delicacies (15%), gifts (12%) and souvenirs (10%).

Mistakes made when converting the cash result in 45% of people buying items that they thought were overpriced, while 36% purchase items they wouldn't have otherwise chosen.
In the worst cases, just over a quarter of people (27%) ran out of money because of currency conversion errors.

What makes this all the more frustrating is that holidaymakers start off with the best of intentions to make the most of their holiday cash. Indeed, over three-quarters (78%) do their research to try and make sure they get the most competitive exchange rate when converting cash into foreign currency before setting off on their travels.

However, once on foreign soil, struggles with mental currency conversion (44%) and panic when trying to make a quick decision (42%) often result in financial confusion.

Around four in 10 (37%) fail to remember the correct exchange rate in the first place, while a quarter (24%) admit that the enjoyment of a few alcoholic drinks has impaired their judgement.

"Many people do try to stick to a budget when on holiday, but things don't always go to plan," said Katherine Whitton, chief marketing officer for Barclaycard. "Currency conversions you do quickly in your head can often lead to a big headache later. It's all too easy to spend more than you intended on a designer deal or shiny souvenir."

What next?

Make the most of your holiday cash

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