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Holiday cancellations have ben rife in 2020 as sudden travel corridor changes have seen Britons faced with two options: change your holiday plans or face 14 days of mandatory quarantine on return home. Though many Britons have been able to secure a refund or a voucher for future travel from their holiday provider, it seems many people could still be left “out of pocket”.
What’s more, one expert has warned that in some cases, the losses can amount to “thousands”.
In normal times, holidaymakers are advised to plan well in advance when it comes to holidays, and that includes exchanging travel money.
If travellers spot a good exchange rate, in previous years they might have jumped on it, even if their trip was not for a few weeks.
However, in 2020 this could have drastic consequences, and leave Britons facing huge losses if they do not act.
“Since lockdown began, cancelled holidays have meant that people are currently sitting with hundreds, if not thousands, in unused and unwanted currency,” said Paul Brewer, CEO of Currency Online Group.
“Many people decide to keep it in anticipation of a future trip; however this is not sensible.”
This is particularly true at the moment when the future of international escapades seems so uncertain.
“When people have holidays cancelled or they come back from a trip with some currency left over, they will often put it away in a draw and forget about it,” the expert continued.
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“Sometimes they’ll think ‘I’ll use it next time’ but you’d be surprised how many people just simply forget it’s there after a while.”
Furthermore, amid the current Brexit negotiations and economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, the exchange rate is almost certain to face dramatic fluctuations ahead.
Mr Brewer warned: “Even if you do plan to use it the future, the changing exchange rate means you could be losing out if the value of the currency falls dramatically.
“Political and unforeseen events like Brexit and COVID-19 mean that the value of a currency can change quickly.”
This is why travellers should try to secure a good buy-back rate when they purchase their holiday money and make sure to use it.
“We advise our customers to sell it back to pounds and bank that cash. If you then need to exchange it in the future, you can do so.”
Experts from Currency Online Group found that shopping around could also help travellers get the best buy-back rates.
“If you have unused currency from a cancelled holiday or have some spare cash in a draw at home, you can exchange it on the high street at your local Post Office or your bank,” the report explains.
“However, online services offer the best value buyback rates so going to the high street could cost you more.
“Nearly 46 percent of people still use the Post Office when it comes to exchanging travel money, but it pays to shop around for the best rates and convenience.”
For holidaymakers with upcoming travels, the experts also advise changing your money in two halves.
They explain: “Excited holidaymakers exchange thousands of pounds every year, often months in advance of their trip.
“In normal times, this is usually sound advice as currency experts say it is best to convert half of your planned spending budget months before you travel and convert the other half closer to the time.
“This is to balance out any risk of the fluctuation in exchange rates, so you are not left out of pocket if the rate goes against you at the last minute.”
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