Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Don't Let Cost Wash Away Holiday Fun; the Heat Can Melt Your Plans to Stick to a Budget So Here Are Tips on the Cheapest Ways to Spend Abroad

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Don't Let Cost Wash Away Holiday Fun; the Heat Can Melt Your Plans to Stick to a Budget So Here Are Tips on the Cheapest Ways to Spend Abroad

Article excerpt

Byline: Lucy Tobin

IT'S easy to stick to a budget in the supermarket but plonk yourself on a beach and sup Sangria, and money-saving fades from memory. Fewer than three in 10 Londoners stick to their spending budget on overseas trips. On an average holiday spending budget of PS560, one in 10 overspent by more than PS500, according to the Post Office.

Half of Londoners also admitted their financial nous on holiday got off to a bad start, as they changed currency at airport bureaux. That's despite the research showing that holidaymakers lose over PS21 million by doing so. But think about your foreign cash now and you can save enough for more than a few sangrias: the strength of the UK economy against others around the world means the pound is in demand.

It has just hit a 16-month high against the euro and a five-year one against the dollar. It is up 27% against the Turkish lira, meaning at extra PS106 on every PS500 exchanged, according to Travelex, and up 21% against the Thai baht, meaning an extra PS86 on that PS500. Against Brazil's real, sterling is 21% ahead meaning an extra PS87 on every PS500 exchanged by World Cup tourists.

It's crucial, though, to pay for ice creams and meals in the savviest way, otherwise any currency gains will be wiped out on fees and bad rates.

So what should be in your wallet credit card, debit card, pre-paid currency card or cash? The first thing to eliminate is most debit cards. On these, banks including Halifax, Lloyds, Nat-West, Santander and TSB add "transaction fees" of as much as PS1.50 each time they are used to make purchases abroad, and that's on top of "loading fees", which are charged as a proportion of the spending value, usually around 3%.

That would mean paying a PS500 hotel bill on one of these cards would have an extra loading charge of PS15.

One of the few providers with no debit card spending fees abroad is Metro Bank. …

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