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Where holidaymakers get the most (and least) for their pounds

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

Pound outperforms European currencies but falls back against long haul currencies.

Demand for euros remains strong in the run-up to Brexit, new data has revealed.

Post Office Money, which accounts for one-in-four of all UK foreign exchange transactions, said euro sales are up 3% year-on-year and surged 5% towards the end of 2018.

And holidaymakers heading to the eurozone will see their money go further as sterling is up around 2% against the euro compared with a year ago.

Sterling is in fact stronger against every European currency than it was at this time last year, despite the ongoing uncertainty concerning Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Post Office Money reports sterling is now stronger against 18 of its 40 best-selling currencies compared with a year ago. This means holidaymakers are getting more cash for their pounds.

Turkey remains the destination where Britons will get the most for their money, receiving £98 more on £500 compared to a year ago. This represents a 24.5% increase.

Those planning a trip to Scandinavia will also get more bang for their buck, as the Nordic currencies have all weakened against sterling.

Visitors to Iceland will get 10% more krona for their pounds, while anyone heading to Sweden will get 8% more Swedish krona, and holidaymakers to Denmark will get 2% more Danish krone.

Long haul hotspots

However, the picture is patchier for Brits heading further afield.

Compared with a year ago, sterling has only strengthened against five long-haul currencies and is significantly weaker against both the US dollar – down 8% year-on-year – and currencies for popular Far Eastern destinations like Thailand (down 8%) and Vietnam (down 6%).

The best bet for those travelling long-haul is South Africa, where sterling is 10% stronger against the rand compared to 12 months ago and where the cost of tourist items was rated the lowest of any long-haul resort in a Post Office study.

Visitors to Australia will also get around 3% more Australian dollars for their money.

The Caribbean islands are still proving a popular choice, according to Post Office sales figures. Demand for the East Caribbean dollar, which covers St Lucia and Antigua, has increased by 46% in 2019 to date – despite sterling weakening by 8% against the currency.

Meanwhile, sterling has weakened by 2% against the Jamaica dollar but sales are up 22%.

Andrew Brown, Post Office Travel Money expert, said: “There is little doubt that the strength of sterling will exert some influence on holiday choice in the coming months and that is why it is important for people to do their homework before booking.

“Our research has shown that over two thirds of holidaymakers bust their budget by nearly £100 on their last trip abroad. Choosing a destination where sterling is performing best and where the cost of meals, drinks and other tourist staples is low could help to prevent that.”

Lock in rates now

If you’re heading abroad and want to lock in an attractive rate now, you can do so with a pre-paid currency card.

You load them up in advance, and lock in the rate at the time. You can then use the card to make purchases or withdrawals abroad.

Revolut, Post Office Money, Caxton FX and Fair FX are examples of companies offering pre-paid cards. You can compare costs and fees on price comparison sites.