Let’s hop in our time machine and go on a little adventure. We’re turning the dial all the way back to June 22nd 2016 and the eve of a defining moment in the UK’s recent history.
The British people were about to head to the polls to make a decision on whether or not to stay in the European Union. Pundits had confidently predicted that the vote would be to remain and then Prime Minister David Cameron would keep his position. The sentiment was mutual among experts and bookies and as such the UK pound rose to a healthy €1.30 against the euro.
We all know what happened next. The decision to leave crashed the exchange rate meaning holidaymakers felt the pinch when travelling abroad as the rate fell to as low as €1.08 in late August 2017.
While we can’t bask in the glory days of 2015 when a trip to Spain seemed incredibly cheap, there are ways to ensure you don’t get a raw deal when it comes to currency exchange. And here’s how.
Assess how the pound has performed
Saying the pound has had an unstable year would be somewhat of an understatement. It has lurched between highs and lows all impacted by the numerous major events that have been going on both home and abroad.
The inauguration of President Donald Trump in January saw it rally against the dollar but it tumbled to its lowest euro rate of the year following the UK election. While it has still lost 10% of its value compared to June 2016 it has started on a slow recovery in September. However, as talks over Brexit continue to stutter this positivity remains fragile.
Many consumers prior to the EU referendum hedged their bets and got their currency out before the vote. A move like this proved to be very wise.
There can be that mild panic the day before your holiday that you have forgotten to change your money. It leads to a mad dash to the high street and going to the nearest bureau de change and simply accepting any rate that is being offered.
Don’t make that mistake – take a step back and prepare yourself. Do your research; as many of the high street outlets offer varying exchange rates and some will charge you commission. If you have a little time on your hands, simply enquire about how much you can get for a set amount and make your decision accordingly.
Use your debit card
It’s a pretty straightforward piece of advice but unless you’re handing over a huge amount of cash, use your debit card to pay for your foreign currency.
Avoid using your credit card in this situation as your provider could treat this as a ‘cash advance’ and charge a fee. So cut out any extra expenses and opt for the debit card.
Opt for the buy back
When purchasing your travel money, many providers will offer a buy back option. This means that for a couple of extra quid you can change your unwanted Euros, dollars or whatever other currency you have bought commission-free.
The likes of Debenhams, Eurochange and M&S will also offer an improved rate for customers who chose this option before their holiday. It is a great way to ensure you get good value on your unwanted foreign currency.
DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE AIRPORT TO CHANGE YOUR MONEY
If there is one thing we cannot stress enough is don’t leave it so late that you have to change your money in the airport. Everybody knows you’re going to get ripped off if you rush to the bureau de change at Stansted Airport, sweating, demanding €500 as quickly as possible.
The past year has seen the pound’s value hit such lows that some airports were not even offering a rate of €1 for £1. In August, the Independent reported that Southampton Airport’s branch of Moneycorp was offering just 87 cents for every pound – a rate reminiscent of the financial crisis of 2008.
Even if you find yourself in this situation, resist the temptation of shelling out at the airport. It may be a better idea to wait until you arrive at your destination and withdraw funds from an ATM. While it does incur a small charge, you may end up with a better rate.
Are you starting to feel the chill? Then ditch it for a little winter sun. We have a host of incredible offers on breaks from November to February. Use the deal finder at www.sunmaster.co.uk to find the right holiday for you.