Consumers losing up to £500 on poor exchange rates due to lack of travel insight

Company news
Anna Meehan

New research has revealed one in five (20 per cent) people are wanting to travel abroad for events in the next 12 months with The Summer Olympics, Oktoberfest, Rio Carnival and Sydney New Year’s Eve on their bucket list. However, music concerts rank as the most popular reason travellers go abroad for an event.

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Money savvy travellers are attracted to going overseas for events because tickets are often seen as cheaper than in the UK (32 percent), whilst 30 per cent do so because food and drink at these events is often cheaper abroad than in the UK.

However, over a quarter of travellers (27 per cent) don’t know how to get a good deal whilst others struggle to understand exactly how much their travels will cost them (25 per cent). And whilst half (49 per cent) of people who book travel abroad take into account the local exchange rate, research shows Brits still struggle to make their money go as far as it should. A third (32 per cent) of travellers have reported losing money on poor exchange rates with some believing to have lost up to £500.

Holiday makers are now turning to travel agents to take the pressure off their travel money worries. 63 per cent now expect their agent to be able to offer advice on currency exchange rates, and a third (32 percent) are willing to pay more for expert advice and local insights from their travel agent.

During this period of economic uncertainty over a quarter of people (26 per cent) are more likely to book with a travel agent now than five years ago. Travellers agree that it’s more secure (48 per cent), simpler to organise (48 per cent), more reliable (40 per cent) and they don’t need to worry about a supplier going bust (36 per cent).

Thanim Islam, Head of FX Analysis, at Equals Money which commissioned the research, said: “Understandably, during these uncertain times travellers are worried about losing money on trips abroad and in response are turning to their travel agent for advice and expertise.

Currency markets are constantly fluctuating, and events abroad can have an impact on how far Brits' money will go.  For instance, when it comes to events that happen less frequently or less regularly like the World Cup or the Olympics, there is often a spike in the economy when the event is announced as people look to buy tickets, book hotels and flights, followed by a lull and then another spike once the event is happening.

If you’re travelling to a country that’s experiencing an economic spike and need to buy goods or get money in their currency, then you’ll get less for your money. Therefore, it’s important consumers are able to seek advice from experts, such as travel agents, when looking to book abroad.”

Money worries still occur when the consumer has reached their desired country with 37 per cent finding it difficult to stick to a budget, or overspend and struggle to keep track of their spending. 36 percent agree that having a prepaid card would help them budget whilst travelling abroad.

Gara Gharagozlou, Managing Director at Mirus Journeys, said: “This research shows just how important planning ahead is, and how vital our services as travel agents are for our customers. There have been external factors completely outside our control that have disrupted our clients travels such as Covid and natural disasters. And with the cost-of-living crisis set to impact the travel sector within the next couple of years, first class service and protecting our clients’ money and experiences has never been so important.

Many travel agencies are still in the process of bulk buying large sums of currency to make overseas bookings and pay suppliers. Once used, another lump sum of a given currency is purchased at the current exchange, meaning clients’ money may not go as far as before depending on fluctuations in the market. However, with a multi-currency payments provider, such as Equals, we’re able to lock in exchange rates and use that rate throughout the year. We can plan ahead and make our clients’ money go further, giving them the best possible travel experience.”


Thanim Islam, said: “Travel agents can have hundreds of international suppliers to manage and pay. The last thing they want to be focusing on is time costly accounting when they could be supporting their customers instead.

Equals Money helps create a consolidated end-to-end payments journey for travel agencies so they spend less time thinking about receiving and sending payments and have more time to focus on delivering quality consultations.”

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Research completed November 2023 by Equals Money.

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