How will Article 50 Affect your Travel Plans?
Since Brexit became a reality in June last year, Pound Sterling, normally one of the most stable currencies on the world market, has become much less predictable. If you have been abroad since the UK voted to leave the European Union, you’ll know that the fluctuations in the currency market have made travel much more expensive outside the UK—the Pound has dropped a total of 12% against the Euro, and has lower exchange rates against most other currencies than it has had for some time. Put simply—you now get a lot less for your money than you used to.
With Prime Minister Theresa May due to trigger Article 50 on the 29th of March, the Pound is likely to take another dip before the market readjusts—not great if you are planning to travel abroad soon. But though it may be late in the day, there are still a few things you can do to help you get the most out of your foreign currency before rates change next week.
Get the most out of your currency
- Plan ahead and purchase early. Though the foreign exchange rate on the Pound isn’t likely to drop as heavily as some media outlets are reporting, it is probable that we will see lower rates over the next couple of weeks, especially on Euros and US Dollars. Get around these by buying your currency before the 29th.
- Get a buyback guarantee when you purchase your currency. This will ensure that you will be able to return any excess currency at the same rate you bought it—especially useful if the exchange rate goes down while you are away. Be aware that most foreign currency exchange providers will charge you for this service, though ICE does not.
- Don’t rely on just one payment method. Remember, the exchange rate may be forecast to go down, but it might also improve while you are away. This is why a ‘split purse’, making the most of both foreign currency notes and a credit or debit card, can be so useful. Use your card to pay for purchases when the rate is good, and cash when it is bad. If you choose to do this just remember that you should always use a card designed for use overseas, and you will need a buyback guarantee on your currency in order to return it without a loss.
- Buy online for better rates. ICE have a Click & Collect facility which will allow you to buy your currency online at a better rate and pick up in your local branch. With ICE and many others you can side-step commission fees by using this method, putting more back in your pocket for another day.
And if you haven’t booked yet?
Then take advantage of your flexibility and try somewhere new! You could go where the Pound is strong (Mexico and South East Asia top a short list of places where you will get more for your money), or you could try all-inclusive, which enables you to lock in the cost of most expenses before you leave.
Alternatively, Eastern Europe and countries on the outer edge of the Eurozone will provide you with better value than central Europe. Places like Poland or the Czech Republic don’t use the Euro, which will be the most affected currency, and they also have a wealth of historical and natural beauty which would keep even the most exacting traveller happy.
If the sun is what you are looking for, then you may want to perhaps avoid destinations like Spain, where economic difficulties mean prices are set to skyrocket, and head to Croatia instead, where unspoilt beaches and stunning blue lagoons will make you wonder why you didn’t go before.
To read for advice on travelling after Brexit, go to ICE’s blog: https://www.iceplc.com/blog/how-will-article-50-affect-your-travel-plans/