From the UK: Are We Wasting Money When We Holiday?

shutterstock_264209426Summer is here and you know what that means, holidays!

Either holidays abroad or staycations here in Great Britain, we are all looking forward to that time off work and away from it all.

I myself love everything about a holiday, the planning of the trip, finding a great deal, shopping for a few things to wear, deciding what and what not to pack, exchanging currency, and researching what there is to do while away.

The entire process is fun.

Of course the exchanging of currency at this particular time is not so much fun as the exchange rates are down.

Blame it on the Brexit, but the exchange rate between the Pound and Euro is not as good as it had been.

As of this writing the exchange rate was 1.19 Euro to £1.

That can impact quite a few holidays, and also the airlines, and resorts and businesses over in the EU. This exit could have a large rippling effect.

However, for now we are going to look on the bright side of things, and concentrate on our holidays themselves.

Of course there may be some money mistakes some of us make when we go on holiday, and one of those mistakes can be in the exchanging of spending money for the trip. It is best to shop around to get the best exchange rate, and also with a company that does not charge a fee.

Many currency exchange places offer a higher exchange rate if you exchange £500 or more, some require as much as £750 to be exchanged to receive the better exchange rate.

Oddly enough, I found a local Cash Converters near me gave the best exchange rate, and charged no fees whatsoever.

How Not To Waste Money On Holidays 

Exchange Money Prior to Travel: As I just mentioned, the first way to not waste money is to get the best exchange rate, and also to do this prior to leavings for your trip.

Exchanging money at the airport, hotel, or somewhere abroad may not get you the best rate or deal. It is always best to do this prior to leaving, as I mentioned my local Cash Converter does currency exchange, and so does many Post Offices.

Even Asda and M&S have currency exchange booths or counters.

Check Your Luggage: It is estimated that we Brits have around £55 each, lying around from a previous holiday. I know I just gave my partner a few Euros I had left from a trip for her to use on an upcoming “girl’s weekend”.

It is estimated that in total there is around £663 million leftover foreign currency in the UK. 

I know I still have a fair amount of USD/dollars stashed away for my next trip to the Colonies.

You need to check your bags and holiday clothes to see what you may have leftover prior to making another trip. You may find you need to exchange less money.

Kevin Jenkins of Visa Europe states, “Holidaymakers could be saving money instead of returning home with foreign currency, which likely remains unused and gathering dust. This hard-earned money could be better put to use or donated to charity.”

“For some, a frenzied ‘squanderlust’ means unnecessary airport spending.”
I’m sure we all have been there, a few extra Euros in our pockets on the trip back home, and suddenly we are buying drinks on the plane, or burning the money off at the airport pub.

Using Credit and Debit Cards

There are a few issues with using our credit and debit cards abroad, and we need to be aware of them as it could save us money.

Non-Sterling Fee: My credit card company charges a non-sterling transaction fee. So if I use my credit card abroad I may get the benefit of the current exchange rate, but I also pay a percentage on the amount charged due to it being non-sterling.

If this rate is 2.5%, it means I will pay £2.50 for every 100 dollar or euro I charge. It isn’t much, but it can add up.

Pay In The Local Currency: If you have exchanged money to spend prior to your trip, then you plan on spending that money while abroad, so you will pay using the local currency. If you use a credit or debit card, you may be given a choice as to which currency you want to make payment in.

You may decide to pay in Pounds as you understand the currency, however, it may not be the best deal for you.

You may not be getting the best exchange rate.

Editor of, AliSteed states, “Choosing the local currency means you will pay your bank’s exchange rate, while choosing to be billed in your home currency of ‘GBP’ will often mean you are paying an exchange rate imposed by the local provider, which could be significantly higher than your bank would charge you.”

Taking Out Cash: Using a credit card abroad can be a good thing for some large purchases, as you don’t need to carry large amounts of cash. But using credit or debit cards to withdraw cash can be a different matter 

There may be fees, or that dreaded poor exchange rate we keep discussing.

Tashema Jackson from uSwitch says, “It’s unwise to withdraw cash on credit cards abroad, as you’ll likely be stung with a two to three per cent fee on top of your withdrawal.”

“If you can’t avoid spending on a card with transaction fees, check what charges apply before travelling. What happens on holiday won’t stay on holiday and you could avoid a nasty surprise on your return.”

You should also be aware of what credit card you plan on using whilst abroad. Some charge higher fees than others. You may have one credit card that has a much lower transaction fee, and you would want to use that credit card.

Matt Saunders a spokesperson at Gocompare says, “The average fee charged for overseas card use is 2.9%, which can easily add up if you’re doing the bulk of your holiday spending on your credit card or plan on making any big purchases while you’re away. Remember, this fee is added on top of any additional transaction fees you might face, for instance a restaurant service or credit card charge.”

“There are some cards on the market that don’t charge a fee for overseas use, so if you are considering spending on plastic while you’re on holiday, it could be worth getting online and shopping around for a card that suits your needs while you’re away.” 

These are just a few mistakes we can make with money when we hit the holiday beaches abroad.

You also need to know to contact you bank and credit card companies to advise them you are going abroad. My bank allows you to do this via their online banking service. You simply put in the dates you will be away and where you are travelling to, and there is no issue.

,Summer is here and you know what that means, holidays! Either holidays abroad or staycations here in Great Britain, we are all looking forward to that time off work and away from it all. I mysel

This article by Jon Emge was syndicated by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.