Where to get more for your holiday money

The pound has doubled in value against the currencies of holiday destinations including popular hotspot Turkey, since lockdown restrictions first grounded flights and closed borders more than two years ago. in March 2020. Researchers at travel money specialist No1 Currency compared exchange rates from the start of the nation’s first lockdown — and found that the pound is now worth more against four out of five (79 per cent) of the 57 most in-demand currencies.

While runaway inflation making the cost of living – including the cost of UK holiday accommodation – soar at home, a seismic shift in foreign exchange rates has boosted the pound’s purchasing power in several other countries. Sterling’s relative strength is greatest in Turkey, an enduring favourite of British sunseekers thanks to its spectacular coastline, great food and warm Mediterranean climate.

The Turkish lira has lost more than half its value against the pound since the eve of the pandemic, making a holiday in that country even more of a bargain than it was before.

Meanwhile, for those willing to travel further, the pristine, palm-fringed beaches of Sri Lanka are twice as cheap as they were at the beginning of the pandemic. The Sri Lankan rupee has depreciated 18 per cent against the pound in the past two months alone, meaning British tourists can indulge in luxury hotels and high-end food for a fraction of what they’d cost in the UK.

Meanwhile, the Argentinian peso has depreciated 50 per cent against the pound since the pandemic began, but has been falling for years. A decade ago British visitors would get less than seven pesos to the pound; now they can get more than 140 — a twenty-fold increase.

But it’s not just faraway destinations where Britons can afford to splash out this year. The pound has made considerable gains too in more traditional hotspots like the Eurozone (nine per cent) and the United States ( seven per cent).

This year a family buying €2,000 for a fortnight’s holiday in Spain or France will spend around £150 less than they would have done before the pandemic. And £1,000 exchanged into dollars will buy about $90 more than last year.

Simon Phillips, managing director of No1 Currency, said: “Finally some good news for anyone hoping to get away this summer. While soaring inflation is driving up the cost of living – and holidaying – in Britain, favourable exchange rates mean many of those heading abroad may get a pleasant surprise when they pick up their travel money.

“Our analysis shows that compared to pre-pandemic times, the pound in your pocket now goes further in the vast majority of the countries typically visited by British tourists. In the two most popular foreign destinations, France and Spain, sterling is now worth nine per cent more than it was before the first lockdown.

“Travellers venturing further afield will find they spending money goes even further with Turkey, Sri Lanka and Egypt all offer exceptional value.”

The analysis reveals that only a small minority of currencies have strengthened against the pound, and most of them only marginally. Norway, Australia and Mexico currently offer the poorest value compared with before the lockdown. But despite the pound falling 12 per cent against the Mexican peso, demand from British travellers for Mexico’s currency has strengthened, propelling the peso into the top 10 most-requested currencies.

Sterling work: top 20 best value currencies for UK travellers

Ranking

Currency

One pound pre-Covid

One pound today

Sterling gain

1

Turkish lira

7.63

19.95

161%

2

Sri Lankan rupee

217.47

449.52

107%

3

Argentine peso

74.29

147.76

99%

4

Costa Rica colon

656.6

835.68

27%

5

Egyptian pound

18.33

22.82

24%

6

Japanese yen

129.28

160.06

24%

7

Jamaican dollar

157.54

193.16

23%

8

Hungarian forint

381.88

453.92

19%

9

Kenyan shilling

123.38

145.39

18%

10

Mauritian rupee

46.07

53.85

17%

11

Peruvian sol

4.11

4.66

13%

12

Thai baht

38.08

42.82

12%

13

Polish zloty

4.94

5.47

11%

14

Romanian leu

5.28

5.83

10%

15

Indian rupee

87.87

96.85

10%

16

Dominican peso

62.7

69.02

10%

17

Moroccan dirham

11.43

12.5

9%

18

Philippine peso

59.66

65.22

9%

19

Bulgarian lev

2.12

2.3

8%

20

Euro

1.08

1.18

9%

21

Hong Kong dollar

9.03

9.8

9%

22

South Korean won

1461.69

1,582.83

8%

23

Danish krone

8.13

8.78

8%

24

Croatian kuna

8.26

8.88

8%

25

US dollar

1.16

1.24

7%

Source: No1 Currency analysis March 22, 2020, vs May 20, 2022

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