35% of British people say they do not know what the exchange rate is when they travel and spend abroad, a survey by one of the world’s largest banks has found.
The study, carried out by Sticky for HSBC, surveyed 2,018 adults in the UK. Over a third confessed to not knowing the currency exchange rate they are being charged when they make purchases or withdraw cash abroad. And, flying in the face of industry advice, another third said they continue to opt for GBP payments where they can.
Risk of mismanaged spending
HSBC UK said in a press release that the findings paint a “nuanced picture of Brits’ financial acumen” and point to “potential oversight”, with holidaymakers at risk of mismanaging their holiday spending precisely at a time when the cost-of-living is rising around the world. The bank has put together an online advice page, giving top tips about how to save money when going abroad.
One example, says the bank, is that 24% of Brits miss chances to save money by neglecting fee and exchange rate comparisons during travel planning.
Savings and budget choices
Brits are not completely unaware of budgeting though, according to the survey. Saving up to afford a vacation is common, with around 30% of people “cutting back on eating out” and “reducing nightlife expenses”, as well as putting off big purchases like cars, in order to be able to afford a break.
What’s more, having saved up to go away, nearly half of holidaymakers (46%) prioritise being able to stay away for longer on a more budget trip, rather than splashing the cash on shorter, luxury splurges.
They are also highly conscious of credit and debit card fees when spending abroad, with “three in five Brits (61%) saying they consider those charges when spending money.”
The study also looked at British holidaymakers expressed preferences for destinations. Europe won the day, with Spain, Italy, Greece, and France dominating the travel wish list of Brits this year. The US was a strong favourite too.
The reason most often given for choosing a destination was familiarity, with 18% saying they chose a place because they had been there before.
This approach may not be the most cost-effective. HSBC points out that prices of package holidays to all this year’s preferred European destinations have risen, with Spain and Italy up by 20%, and Greece up by 30%. Meanwhile holiday lets are up 10% year-on-year in all four countries. Turkey and Portugal had seen rising prices over the year too.