Holidaymakers have been hit hard this year due to the sinking value of the pound against the euro and US dollar, meaning many have had to tighten the purse strings or even cancel their holiday plans altogether. As the pound continues to be affected by the threat of a no deal Brexit, it’s hard to say when the currency will begin to strengthen again. In the meantime, holidaymakers are having to deal with the fact that they won’t be getting as much for their money compared to this time last year.
Families with school-aged children may be feeling the pinch even more, with inflated prices over the summer holidays and potential fines if school is missed combining to create a bit of a catch-22 situation. When you’re already struggling to make your holiday allowance fit your expectations, planning a trip away can feel more like a chore than a treat – and that’s not what going on holiday is all about!
A weak pound shouldn’t stop you from having the break that you need. Read on for some great tips to help stretch your holiday budget and make your foreign currency work hard so you don’t have to.
Consider a different type of holiday
Rather than stick with the same type of holiday you usually go for, why not try something new? If you’ve always stayed in hotels when overseas, you may want to consider self-catering instead. In the past, this may have meant staying in a property far below the standards of most hotels, but with the advent of sites like Air BnB, you may be surprised at the quality and price of local accommodation. There’s usually something for everyone, from very modern properties to bohemian apartments and even riverboats if you fancy something a little more unusual.
If you’ve fallen into the habit of going to the same place every year, this may now be the time to buck tradition and try a different, cheaper, destination. The pound may not be doing well in comparison to the euro or US dollar, but it is against some other currencies. This may be a good place to start when choosing where to go – check the H&T travel money department at your local storefor the latest rates.
Research food options before you go
If you want to eat in a place that is popular with tourists, you are likely to find that food prices are inflated in the area compared to the norm for that country. Rather than stick to the restaurants recommended by your hotel or the ones in the centre of the action, check out what other visitors have said online – you’re likely to find some hidden gems this way. Some of the freshest, tastiest and cheapest meals can come from a restaurant just off the beaten track, so it’s always worth putting out the feelers before you go.
If you’ve booked into self-catering accommodation, it’s easier to eat cheaply as you’ll have somewhere to store, prepare and cook your food. Make sure you know where the nearest supermarket is for your essential provisions, but don’t just rely on the local chain store; find out about local food markets to find great produce at lower prices.
Set a budget
It may seem like an obvious tip, but it’s so easy to get carried away on holiday that it’s worth mentioning. After working hard and saving up for your trip, counting down the days and finally getting some time off work, the first couple of vacation days can get a little exciting. Suddenly you have all this freedom and money to spend… and before you know it you’re running out of cash.
Split your money up into what you’ll need each day of your trip, and only take this amount with you. Leave the rest secured in a safe or lock-box at your accommodation, and remember to carry a small amount of emergency cash in a money belt or similar, just in case.
Understand tipping & haggling etiquette
Read up online for the most up-to-date information on what is deemed acceptable when it comes to both tipping and haggling, as both with play a big part in how far your money goes. If the country you are visiting has a strong haggling culture, it may even be rude not to haggle! Read up on the cultural norms by visiting travel forums and reading guides on sites like Lonely Planet and Nomadic Matt, and don’t be afraid to practice before you go.
It’s important to know what an acceptable amount to tip is when eating out or when purchasing goods and services. You don’t want to risk offending your hosts by tipping too little, or putting yourself out of pocket by tipping too much. In some countries, like Japan for instance, a tip is even seen as offensive, as they believe good service should be expected anyway, so it’s imperative that you know what to expect.
Visit friends and family
Keep your accommodation costs low by visiting friends and family who live in other parts of the world. Many of us know someone who has made a home abroad after travelling or after settling down with someone from a different country, so why not suggest a visit? If you don’t think this will work, why not suggest a house-swap instead, so you can both enjoy a holiday? There are many ways to make the most of knowing someone abroad; even if you incorporate a short visit into a longer holiday, it’ll still have an impact on your overall costs.
Never get your travel money at the airport
Finally, never ever get your foreign currency at the airport before you leave. While it may seem like the most convenient option, it’s usually by far the most expensive. This is because the foreign currency exchanges in airports know that they are the last option you have if you’ve not picked up your travel money ahead of time, so prices are inflated.
Get your travel money with us here at H&T – we have some of the lowest high-street rates and you can find us in 250 locations across the UK. Simply walk in to exchange your travel money on the same-day. (You may need to place an order if you’re looking for a more unusual currency). You can order any currency from us here at H&T by using our online order form. Once complete, simply call in to your local H&T branch to pick it up.