EXPAT MONEY CHANNEL : “Avoid Currency Exchange Rip-Off”
Currencies Direct July 28th 2010 - 2 minute read
You could be £104 worse off buying euros last minute rather than shopping around and ordering in advance before travelling abroad, according to research by Currencies Direct, which based its findings on changing £1000 into euros. The worst place to change currency was at the airport where the exchange rate on offer was a whopping 9% less. The rate was even worse when exchanging sterling for US dollars with holidaymakers potentially losing £140 on the same amount. Currencies Direct surveyed exchange rates for euros and dollars at bureaux de change at Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted airports and also checked high street deals on offer at the Post Office and Marks & Spencer.
Phil McHugh, Senior Foreign Exchange dealer at Currencies Direct, said: “People often plan their foreign holidays well in advance, shop around for the best deals and book early to save money, yet they seem to leave their common sense at the airport drop off when it comes to changing holiday cash. Travellers should take a few minutes to check exchange rates online or over the phone in advance of their holiday,” advised McHugh.
Further tips offered by Currencies Direct include minimising the effects of poor exchange rates by taking travellers cheques or currency cards with you, which can also help avoid the hefty fees banks and credit card companies charge for using ATMs overseas. In addition, If you are a regular traveller, consider fixing your exchange rate for future currency purchases with a specialist provider.
The good news, however, is that the Eurozone is offering better value than last summer with sterling strengthening 2.97% year on year giving travellers 583.50 euros on a £500 budget compared to 566.65 euros last year – enough for lunch for two in a Parisian café, according to International Currency Exchange (ICE). The key to making your money stretch further, according to Joanna Williams, Head of Marketing at ICE, is to head for destinations where the pound has strengthened. Outside the Eurozone, this includes Bulgaria where the pound has improved by 2.93% year on year against the Bulgarian lev.
While Turkey and the US remain popular holiday destinations, both now offer less value for sterling currency holidaymakers. The pound has fallen 5.99% against the Turkish lira and for those heading to the US, travellers will receive around $55 less than they would at this time last year on a £500 budget – $742.20 2010 instead of $797.50 2009.