More bang for your buck$

Ahead of the Easter getaway, Which? reveals top tips to make your holiday money go further and give you extra to spend abroad.

We compared how much better off you could be by choosing the best currency option before, during and after your holiday, compared with the worst. Our research reveals a saving of up to £167 if you were spending €2000, and up to £128 if you were spending $2000.

  • Before you go: We found ordering online was the cheapest option for holiday money, and could save you £100.40 if buying €1000 or £71.52 if buying $1000 compared to getting it last minute at the airport, which is the most expensive.
  • Spending abroad: The cheapest method for travel money in Europe and the US was a credit card that doesn’t charge for overseas transactions. This saved £56.63 when spending €1,000 and £49.01 on $1000 compared to using a debit card with high fees.
  • Exchanging leftover currency: It’s worth shopping around to find a provider that offers the best rate – this saved £9.49 when selling back €100 and £7.10 on $100. You can pay for a guarantee with some providers that they will buy at the same rate they sold to you at, but they aren’t necessarily worth it as, after deducting the cost of the guarantee, we found you could get a similar amount of currency from other providers.


Which? Editor Richard Headland, said:

“Shopping around for currency before you go away will make your holiday money go further, so get online to find the best deals.

“Once you’re abroad, you could easily waste around £50 if you use a credit, debit, or prepaid card that has expensive fees. We recommend switching to a lower-cost card, even if it is one that you get purely to use on holiday.”


Notes to editors:

  1. For a copy of the full article, please contact / 02077707562
  2. We tracked exchange rates for euros and US dollars, between 29 January and 26 February. We monitored rates at 30 online currency providers, five UK airports and 10 high street outlets. We then used average rates over those weeks to work out the cost of buying €1,000 and $1,000 with each provider before leaving the UK. We also compared the costs in pounds sterling of using credit, debit and prepaid cards to pay for typical holiday expenses such as restaurant meals and entry to attractions during the week starting 10 February. The costs were made up of 17 transactions, adding up to €1,000 and $1,000. We looked at the whole debit and credit card market, and calculated the costs for 21 leading providers of prepaid cards. We gathered buy-back rates – the exchange rate at which a bureau de change will buy your foreign currency by telephone – from 16 leading currency providers on 19 February to find out how much sterling you would get back if you had €100 or $100 leftover from your holiday. Buy-back guarantee rates were based on Euro and Dollar exchange rates available on January 29th.
  3. It’s important to remember that, unlike other financial transactions, currency exchange is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. This means that if a firm goes bust before delivering your order you could lose your money.
  4. Savings of £100.40 were based on ordering Euros online compared to buying at an ICE bureau at Luton airport. Savings of £71.52 were based on buying US Dollars online compared to buying from a Travelex  bureau at Manchester airport. We found walk-up rates on offer at other airport currency exchanges were also less competitive than ordering currency online or than buying from the high street.

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