With schools breaking up and summer in full swing, we’re at the very peak of the holiday season. It’s no secret however that the pound fell significantly in value following the EU referendum vote and that it has struggled to find its feet ever since, throwing real doubt into a lot of people’s minds as to whether they can even afford the expense of a trip abroad this year, with many unhappy that they no longer get as much for their money on the international market as they once did.
It’s easy to understand their concerns when you hear that several airports were recently offering holidaymakers less than a euro for each pound they exchanged, as low as just 88 cents in some cases, compared to the €1.41 that most people were being offered at the same time in 2015.
One of the more interesting shifts we’re seeing as a direct result of this is a sharp rise of almost 24% in the number of Brits opting for a ‘staycation’ in the UK rather than heading overseas, with more than half of them also staying at their destination for just three days or less, rather than a longer and therefore costlier trip.
Stretching your cash
This isn’t to say that people don’t still crave the sun on their back and the chance to soak up foreign cultures. It does mean, however, that those of us who still choose to venture further afield will have to be a lot savvier when it comes to booking abroad. That said, here are a few tips to get the most out of your pound:
- Choose carefully when and where you travel, avoiding premium vacation seasons whenever possible (generally during school holidays) and busier weekend fights, flying off-peak and mid-week instead.
- Take the time to shop around to make sure you’re getting the best price. Package deals can be great for the sake of convenience but don’t be afraid to book flights and accommodation separately if it works out cheaper.
- Exchange your currency in advance, as you’re almost certainly guaranteed to get a better exchange rate, with the aforementioned 88 cents for a pound being a prime example as to why you shouldn’t wait until the last minute at the airport.
- Let your credit/debit card and phone providers know that you’re going abroad so that they make any relevant changes to your coverage, ensuring that you don’t get hit with unwanted extra charges for using their services in another country.
- Set a realistic budget with regards to how much you can afford to spend and use cash or a pre-paid card so that you can’t be tempted to overspend.
- If you’re offered a choice whilst abroad, always use the local currency rather than the pound, as the exchange rate they give you will generally be very poor, thus costing you more.
- Embrace the nature of markets, stalls and street vendors by haggling for the best price, as listed prices in such places will always be higher than the seller is willing to settle for, having already factored in some friendly bartering.
- When forming your itinerary, make the most of free sights and attractions such as museums, galleries and monuments; you’d be surprised just how many tourist highlights and cultural hotspots can be visited for little or nothing.