Doesn’t it always seem just as the kids go back to school, it’s only a couple of weeks until half-term, or the summer holidays, or the christmas break? With the pound on decline post Brexit here are a few ways you can get the most out of your Euros!
What to do today
It is difficult to predict what will happen to the currency, but many commentators forecast that the exchange rate could slide further. With this in mind, it may be a good idea to lock in an exchange rate sooner rather than later.
The best rates can be found online and the worst can be found at airport money changers. If you want to pick up your money at the airport, order it online first. Comparison sites such as travelmoneymax.com will tell you the best rates and local bureaux where you can collect your money.
Alternatively, load money onto a prepaid card or phone app, but be aware that some of these cards set their own exchange rates and some charge hefty fees.
What to do while away
“Once you’re abroad, beware of the double exchange rate dupe. If you let the seller in a shop or restaurant convert the price back into pounds, they will choose their own exchange rate and you’re more likely to be on the less favourable end of the deal. This can add as much as 10 per cent to your bill,” says Ian Strafford-Taylor, chief executive of the foreign exchange specialist FairFX.
This is true also when using cash machines, so don’t choose to be charged in sterling. Also, be aware that paying with contactless cards can sometimes result in you being automatically charged in sterling.
Paying by some credit cards when abroad is cheaper than you would expect. Halifax’s Clarity card “gives near-perfect exchange rates because there’s no foreign exchange fee”, says moneysavingexpert.com. Yesterday the rate on the card was €1.106 to the pound, compared with €1.091 offered at a foreign exchange bureau.
Before going abroad, check what charges your debit and credit card companies levy and whether they have a fee for cash withdrawals.
Planning for future holidays
If you are open-minded about holiday destinations, save money by visiting places with a favourable exchange rate. “Follow the pound where it’s at its strongest,” says Mr Strafford-Taylor. This is tricky at the moment, unless you fancy a holiday in Argentina, where you get 28 per cent more for your money compared with a year ago.
On the other hand, you can also save money by flying to lesser-known airports or staying in less popular neighbourhoods. Research published by M&S Bank showed that a family of four visiting New York could save £652 this half-term by staying in a hotel in Long Island rather than Manhattan.
Once you have fixed the date of your holiday, you can set up an alert so that you get a text message or email when the currency you want to buy hits a new high or your target rate. Many online exchanges offer this service.
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