Brits waste £2bn a year ‘getting rid’ of currency on last day of holiday

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Many Brits don’t treat foreign currency as ‘real money’ leading to billions being ‘gotten rid of’ annually, with many billions more lying around our homes, according to the Holinomics study, released today by travel search engine KAYAK.co.uk

The study found that Brits as a whole waste a total of £2.2bn ‘getting rid’ of currency on the last day of their holiday or at the airport on the way home – solely, so they don’t have to take the currency back with them.

This is an average of £42.06 per person - £16.15 of which is spent at the airport and £25.91 of which is spent at other places on their last day.

16% of Brits don’t think of foreign currency as ‘proper’ money

The money is spent on keepsakes, souvenirs, and other things Brits admit they don’t really need or want – with just a third (34%) saying that they ever use the items or display them at home.

Even those who do take the currency home with them aren’t changing it back to sterling. The research found that Brits currently have about £1.8bn – an average of £35.22 per person – lying around their home with no plans to use it again (e.g. it is currency from a country they have no plans to visit in the future).

These figures can perhaps best be explained by Brits attitude towards foreign money – with 16% saying they don’t think of it as ‘real money’ and 18% saying they will always try to spend whatever money they do change while on holiday.

Two-fifths of Brits don’t budget when they go on holiday

The research also found that many people don’t budget for their breaks – leading to some spending more than they can afford. Two-fifths of Brits (38%) say they don’t budget when they go on holiday, and half (52%) admit to having gotten ‘carried away’ with their holiday spending in the past.

This has led to a quarter of British holidaymakers (25%) saying they have previously spent more than they could afford. Amongst these, 39% left themselves short of money until their next pay day, 52% put it on credit cards, 10% used payday loans, and 11% had to borrow off friends or family.

87% of Brits spend money on things on holiday that they wouldn’t at home

On average, Brits say they spend 50% more per day on holiday than they do at home. This is most likely explained by the fact that 87% of Brits admit they spend money on things while on holiday that they wouldn’t spend money on at home. These are:

Getting taxis everywhere – 38%

Paying over the odds for restaurants because of their location – 33%

Paying to use a sun lounger – 23%

Paying to access a beach – 13%

Paying for an excess waiver on car insurance – 11%

Paying more than £10 for an alcoholic drink – 9%

Suzanne Perry, KAYAK Travel Expert, says: “Holidays are our big treat – we look forward to them all year and really let our hair down while away. But the holiday spirit can make it all too easy to loosen the purse strings and get carried away with your spending, leaving you short for the rest of the month or even getting into debt. Our advice is to set an overall budget for your holiday, and change those pounds before you leave. Work out how much that leaves you per day and try and stick roughly to that, so you don’t go too far wrong.

“Make sure you change your money before you leave, either on the high street or online – you will always pay way over the odds at the airport or at the destination. And of course – make sure you get a good deal on your holiday in the first place by using a travel search engine which compares all the prices out there, as this will give you a bit more spending money while away.”

A blog on the story can be viewed here: https://www.kayak.co.uk/news/2bn-waste-a-year/