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How to protect your holiday budget

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With the Pound worth around 9% less against the Euro than this time last year, and the countdown to the May half term beginning, travel money expert ICEplc has produced some top tips to help holiday budgets go further this year.
Travellers planning breaks away this spring will have to spend another £90 to get the same amount of Euros they had last year, for an exchange of £1000. With the Pound worth around 9% less against the Euro than this time last year, and the countdown to the May half term beginning, travel money expert ICEplc has produced some top tips to help holiday budgets go further this year.

Plan ahead and shop around
Shop around for the best exchange rate deals to make the most of the weak Pound. Order cash in advance online or on the high street to avoid the less competitive rates offered at airports. Look out for free postage deals or vouchers that offer preferential rates for collection at the branch such as ICEplc’s Click & Collect service. You don’t even need to worry about a printed voucher – you can just show the voucher on your mobile ‘phone.

Getting the most from your money
Avoid using credit and debit cards – some charge 2.5% or more for an ATM transaction and the exchange rates may not be favourable. Consider a prepaid currency card instead – but make sure it’s fee free.

Withdrawing cash from ATMs
Even if you have a card that doesn’t impose fees for ATMs, some ATM operators make charges for their use. Be vigilant. If you have to use a fee charging ATM, plan to withdraw enough currency to last for a good few days so that you’re not racking fees

Say ‘No’ to dynamic currency conversion
If you pay by card, ensure the transaction is conducted in the local currency rather than sterling. The practice known as dynamic currency conversion allows customers to pay for goods and services in their own home currency. However, the exchange rate is often less favourable than that offered through their credit or debit card.

Consider locking in the exchange rate
If you are worried about the value of the Pound falling further, a prepaid currency card will allow you to lock in the rate of exchange at the time you load the card. When the Pound started falling against the Euro and US Dollar in February this year, ICE saw loads to the ICE Travellers Cashcard, its fee free prepaid currency card rise by 106.49%

Check the Ts and Cs on prepaid currency cards
When you apply for a prepaid currency card, be careful to check the Ts and Cs. Unlike the ICE Travellers Cashcard, most prepaid cards have charges that apply for their use and savings made on the rate of exchange could be lost through unexpected fees.

Tom Johnson, Head of ICEplc’s Online Business said: “Holidaymakers’ budgets are already under pressure. The highs of 1.26 Euros to the Pound witnessed last summer are now a distant memory so UK travellers need to be aware of how they can make their hard earned money go further.

“It really pays to shop around online for the best exchange rates. Look for reputable providers with competitive rates and free delivery. It’s also worth checking out recommendations by consumer champion Which?*. Also, if you’re travelling to more exotic climes you’ll find exchange rates vary more widely from provider to provider, so a little extra time scouring the internet for competitive deals could go a long way to putting more spending money in your pocket for that longed for holiday.”




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