Holiday overspend hits the millions

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duty free shopperLynne Sladky/AP/Press Association Images

Overspending on holiday is as much a tradition as buying ugly souvenirs and taking the undrinkable local tipple home - and just as much a bad idea. And a new report reveals that we start wasting cash before we even get on the plane.

Research from Moneycorp shows this summer we will collectively waste €215 million before we travel.

Exchange mistakes

The exchange firm surveyed Brits as to how they would get their travel money. Some 37% said they plan to exchange their money with a high street retailer, while a 20% said they will be visiting a high street bank. Even more worryingly, 11% of respondents planned to buy their currency when they reached their destination, leaving themselves open to unknown exchange rates and charges. Only 7% said they would exchange money the most cost effective way: online.

Given that 10.7 million people are likely to travel to to the eurozone in July and August this year, each taking with them an average of £561 worth of foreign currency, this mistake is likely to leave them millions of euros worse off. 215 million to be precise.

Olann Kerrison, currency expert at Moneycorp, said: "People will spend a serious amount of time thinking about and booking their holiday to get the best deal. Yet when it comes to exchanging their money, people potentially throw out all that hard work by not taking the time to shop around for the best rates. If travellers didn't leave buying their currency until the last moment, then there is every chance that in relative value, people could save as much as £10 for every £100 exchanged."

Worst and best rates

Usually the worst exchange rates of all are those available at the airport - at either end of your journey. Those offering the best deals tend to be available online - which will take a few days for delivery, so are well worth arranging in advance.

Steve Rees, Managing Director of debt consultant Vincent Bond & Co suggests: "One of the best ways to get your currency is online through one of the many online currency exchange services, such as FairFX, HiFX or Moneycorp. They can give you better rates than you will usually get from the banks, simply because currency is their area of expertise, and they do nothing but buy and sell it.

"You can book your currency online and it will be delivered to your door. Do a Google search to find different online currency providers, and check the charges and the exchange rate you will receive from a number of them – you may find that you can get a little extra just by shopping around."

Of course, how you spend that money when you get there is up to you. There's no-one to stop you blowing your great deal by spending a small fortune on plastic Eiffel Towers or Sombreros. But you can make sure that's the only spending mistake you make while you are away.

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