Money: Happy holiday! How to make a splash…and still save cash

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You may be looking forward to that long-awaited summer holiday – and rightly so – but will you blow your budget this year?

One in four of us exceeded the amount we’d planned to spend on our last trip, according to a survey by Post Office Travel Money.

And with two-thirds of holidaymakers planning to travel abroad this year, many more may end up stretching their holiday wallets too far.

On average, those who blew the budget on their last holiday spent £184 more than they’d planned for.

So, to prevent it from happening again, here are top tips from Post Office Travel Money to stop your holiday spending spiralling out of control…

Go where sterling will get you far

Turkey is a destination where UK holidaymakers may find their money stretches further this year, with sterling having strengthened against the Turkish lira. The pound has also strengthened against the Norwegian and Swedish currencies and increased on 2018 levels against the Icelandic krona.

If you want to head further afield, South Africa could be a bargain bet, as the rand has fallen against sterling since last year. It’s a good time to visit family or friends in Australia too, as the pound has strengthened year-on-year against the Australian dollar.

Budget realistically

Be realistic about holiday spending and set a budget designed to cover all your costs. Plan your holiday money in advance, to avoid having to top up abroad and potentially incurring fees for using cards. You could consider loading money onto a pre-paid currency card to avoid transaction charges. If you do want to use a credit or debit card abroad, consider avoiding paying in sterling in shops or restaurants because it may cost more than if you paid in local currency.

Pick the right moments to spend

Get the most you can for your pounds by monitoring exchange rate movements before you go, and purchase your foreign currency when the pound is looking stronger. The Post Office found that one in 10 people left it until they got to the airport on their last holiday to get currency – potentially meaning they got a poorer rate.

Cut the cost of living

Over four-fifths (83%) of families say the cost of meals, drinks and other tourist staples in their holiday destinations is a bigger worry than the value of sterling.

For those who haven’t already booked, the latest Post Office Holiday Costs Barometer of European beach resorts suggests that prices are likely to be relatively low in Sunny Beach and other Bulgarian Black Sea resorts.

Consider self-catering

This could be a very effective way to keep the cost of eating to a minimum and explains why two in five families are planning to take the DIY approach this year. The average amount holidaymakers spent stocking up on provisions on their last self-catering holiday was £89.

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