Brexit – getting good value on your holiday

Although the UK has voted to leave the European Union, the decision has not yet formally come into effect, and will not do so for at least a couple of years.

Nothing changes yet
The good news is that you will not face any immediate obstacles to your holiday arrangements. You will not need additional visas to enter EU countries this summer, and your current European-Union-issued passport remains valid.

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) remains valid, allowing access to emergency treatment and healthcare while travelling within EEA countries and Switzerland.

How this affects your holiday money
Bear in mind that the media always likes to dramatise a crisis. That’s how they get more readers and more viewers, by pumping out a story of constant crisis!

So let’s have a look what’s really going on here.

Currencies have been fluctuating in value, and this volatility is likely to remain until the end of the year, perhaps longer, although of course nobody can be certain.

On 23rd June, the day of the referendum, you could have bought 1.30 euros for your pound (you had to pay 77p to buy a euro).

At the time of writing (on 4th July 2016), you can currently buy around 1.19 euros for your pound (you now have to pay 84p to buy a euro).

So it’s become a bit more expensive to buy your euros. Having said that, buying euros is still better value now than it was back in 2013, which wasn’t exactly eons ago, so don’t be too disheartened – the sky most certainly hasn’t fallen in!

Should you buy euros now, or wait a while?
If anyone knew this for certain, they would be able to predict the money markets and would be the richest person in the world! (Maybe we should ask the richest person in the world and see what he thinks!)

So any advice or articles you see in the media about whether to buy currency now or later are complete guesswork! Unless you’ve got a crystal ball, there’s no right or wrong answer here.

The exchange rate seems to have stabilised now, but of course you can never be sure!

The easy way to find the exchange rate
To keep an eye on exchange rates, you can just do a google search for GBPEUR (this is just what the banks call the pound-euro exchange rate). A handy currency converter and exchange rate will then appear immediately within Google.

One note of caution though: Google will show you the rate that the banks use to trade with each other, it’s not the tourist rate, so you will have to pay a little more than this, but it’s a good guide.

You can also see a more detailed currency chart for the past few months if you wish.

Where to buy your currency 
Keep in mind that exchange rates can change quite quickly, so check for the best deal only at the point when you’re actually ready to buy.

The Post Office and supermarkets are still easily-accessible places to buy currency, and they still offer reasonable deals.

You might find a price comparison site such as Money Saving Expert or Money Supermarket useful.

Airline seats are cheap now!
Insiders in the airline industry will readily tell you that right now airline seats are cheap.

The airlines are struggling. The reason for this may surprise you: it’s because the cost of aviation fuel went down so much, as oil dropped from over $100 to around $35 per barrel (it’s gone up a bit since then). This meant that airlines decided to fly far more planes this year than they did last year, because it costs them less to fly.

This extra “capacity”, as they call it, means they’ve all got lots of planes to fill with happy travellers like us, and they’re having to sell tickets at bargain-basement prices. It’s almost turning into a price war – bad news for shareholders, good news for travellers.

It all balances out
There’s no need to panic. You might need to pay a bit more for your hotel in Europe, and your spending money might not go as far, but the cost of your flights will have gone down compared to last year, so probably overall you’re not much better or worse off.

Better-value places for a holiday
Some areas of the Eurozone still retain a significantly lower cost of living than the European average. This means your costly Euros will go just that little bit further.

The best value for money can be found in the east and the south of  mainland Europe: Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Croatia, and Portugal are all traditionally affordable, and each one offers more than their fair share of spectacular rural scenery, and metropolitan excitement, for your trip away this summer.

So have a good shop around online, and prepare to go somewhere a little bit unusual and off the beaten track, and you might just have your best holiday yet!