Holidaymakers face 'postcode lottery' when buying foreign currency


British holidaymakers are facing a "postcode lottery" when it comes to the value of their foreign currency, new Which? research shows.

Different branches of the same holiday companies are offering different rates across the country, according to the consumer group, which says that Thomas Cook comes out with the biggest discrepancies between rates.

Up in Sheffield, tourists were given 585 euros for £500, while in Manchester the same amount of money will get you 553.80 euros.

But not all currency providers came out as the bad guy; Marks and Spencer offers the same rate nationwide, while Sainsbury's had no marked regional differences.

According to the Metro, Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: "It is unfair that people are missing out on the best currency exchange rates just because of where they live.

"Currency providers need to make sure their rates are consistent."

The news comes as a new Which? survey named Trailfinders the best holiday company of 2012.

It topped a list of 26 holiday providers based on 3,500 holiday experiences, and garnered an impressive 97%.

Criteria for the poll included ratings on customer service, accommodation, tours and value for money.

At the other end of the scale, Newmarket Holidays (57%) propped up the table, and Thomas Cook (60%), and Shearings Holidays (62%) also receiving below average customer scores.

The good news is, however, that a boost in the strength of the pound has seen 25% off our annual sun, sand and sea getaways.

Anyone heading to Spain or France will see an extra £50 spending power for every 500 euros converted compared to last summer.

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Holidaymakers face 'postcode lottery' when buying foreign currency

While holidays to Turkey still represent great value for money for Brits,'s price comparison found that flights to Dalaman have increased by 25 per cent since last year, with the average flight now costing around £264.

It's one of the world's most vibrant holiday destinations, and this is the year to book a flight! The average air fare for 2012 is £586. Last year, prices were around £709 - so they were 17 per cent more expensive. Don't miss our guide to Rio de Janeiro.

Despite the fact that overall holiday prices to Greece have been falling due to the recent unrest, the average price of a flight to Kos is up by a whopping 47 per cent. This year, you'll pay around £236 for a return flight. Average prices for 2011 were just £160.

Last year, San Diego was named America's luckiest city by Men's Health magazine, and holidaymakers are getting lucky with airfares too. Flight prices are down by 13 per cent for 2012. They now average at £468, compared with £535 last year.

Dubrovnik is fast becoming the European holiday choice for savvy travellers, not least because Croatia still represents great value for money for Brits. And the even better news is that average flight prices to Dubrovnik have fallen by 41 per cent. This year you'll pay £137 (last year, prices averaged at £233). Don't miss our guide to Dubrovnik.

Despite the turmoil that has continued in Eygpt since February 2011, causing a sharp fall in the the number of holidaymakers, flight prices to Sharm el Sheikh have risen sharply. Last year prices hovered at around £296. You'll pay 21 per cent more for a return flight this year, with prices averaging at £357.

A duty-free haven with sunshine all year it may well be, but average flight fares to this Canary Island hotspot are up by 9 per cent this year. You'll pay an average of £224 this year, compared with £206 12 months ago.

Spain still comes top of the list the most searched-for holiday destinations, according to latest results from Skyscanner. But flight prices to certain destinations are looking steeper, with fares to Murcia up by 30 per cent. According to, average flight prices have leapt from £125 in 2011 to £161 for 2012.

The USA ranks second in Brits' most searched-for destinations. And 2012 is a particularly good year to book a flight to Miami - prices are 23 per cent down. says the average flight price for this year is £453. This is down from £587 last year. 

Italy is one of the top five most popular destinations for Brits - and the good news is that air fares to Florence for 2011 have plummeted. According to, prices now average at £108. This is nearly half the price for 2011 (£204) - a total reduction of 47 per cent. Don't miss our travel guide to Florence.


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