At this time of year, many people will be brightening up the dark winter days by booking a getaway they can look forward to.
And the good news for UK holidaymakers heading overseas is that spending money could go further this year, with sterling having strengthened against several currencies.
According to the Post Office, 34 of its 40 bestselling currencies had weakened last month against sterling compared with a year earlier, including the euro and the US dollar.
However, there’s still the danger of over-spending and Post Office Travel Money research found two-thirds of holidaymakers overspent their budget on their last trip abroad.
So here are some suggestions from Post Office Travel Money…
Pinpoint places where your money will stretch further
Holidaymakers heading for Turkey may find sterling is worth 20% more against the Turkish lira than a year ago, according to Post Office Travel Money’s figures in January. This means tourists could get the equivalent of £85 more lira on a £500 transaction.
Mauritius, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic are identified by the Post Office as destinations where sterling could stretch further. Holidaymakers visiting Hungary may also find they get more for their cash, the research found.
Consider a “holiday swap”
Holidaymakers can make pounds go further if they swap a pricier destination within a region where the cost of living is lower. For example, the Post Office’s research found prices can be lower in Antigua and Tobago than in Barbados. Other potential holiday swap could be Vietnam instead of Thailand or the Czech Republic for Poland. Polish destinations such as Warsaw, Krakow and Katowice are among the options.
Budget realistically to avoid having to use plastic abroad
You can save money by planning how you will get your holiday money in advance, rather than having to top up abroad and incurring transaction fees for using cards at ATMs or in shops and restaurants.
Get ready to pounce when sterling rises in value
Keep a close eye on exchange rate movements before your departure and purchase foreign currency when sterling will give you more cash for your pounds.
Choose a resort where living costs are low
Price changes in local resorts will also make a difference to how far your money goes.
Eating out may be the biggest drain on the holiday purse – so compare prices before choosing a restaurant. Beachfront cafes and restaurants are usually pricier than ones frequented by locals a street back. Keep costs down by choosing fixed-price menus and drinking local draught beers and carafe wine.
Consider going all-inclusive
This can be a good way to stick to a budget – but check what’s included in the package. Over four in five holidaymakers questioned by the Post Office said they had paid out for extras averaging £407 on top.
Consider using a prepaid travel money card
You can lock in at decent rates and hold several currencies on one handy card.