29th December 2014
As Brits begin to plan their 2015 February half-term ski holidays, experts are advising that travellers should look to Eastern Europe in order to get the best value for money.
The pound has strengthened hugely against the euro since the start of the year when it was at 1.19. Today it is hovering around the 1.25-1.26 mark.
Given the deals presently on offer, foreign currency specialists HiFX, is advising that winter holiday makers should look further afield but stay in Europe to make the most of their cash.
The firm looked at 10 popular skiing resorts to find the best and worst value destinations for Britons to visit in February 20151 taking into account; flights, lift passes, equipment hire, lessons and spending money.
Of the resorts analysed, Eastern European slopes dominate for best value, with a week on the slopes of Jasna in Slovakia cashing in at just £3,583.56 for a family of four – including £2,000 spending money. Kolasin in Montenegro ranked as the second best value resort, whilst Kopaonik in Serbia and Bankso in Bulgaria featured in the top 10 as well.
Champoluc in Italy and St Anton in Austria are also amongst the cheapest resorts for Brits hitting the slopes in 2015. However, for a week in neighbouring Switzerland, HiFX highlighted that holidaymakers will have to pay a staggering £4,727.50 – 32% more than a week in Slovakia. French resorts of Meribel and Morzine were likewise amongst the most expensive for holidaymakers despite their close proximity to the UK, suggesting that Britons should look further afield in the Eurozone to make their hard earned money go further.
Mark Bodega, director at HiFX commented: “The pound is in a strong position now against the euro, and although it’s on track to remain there, exchange rates are notoriously volatile. Whilst the short term outlook for sterling is strong, and it’s been steadily strengthening throughout the year, there’s no telling where it could be in a month to two months’ time especially if a base rate rise happens which could have significant implications on sterling.”
“For holidaymakers still deciding on a location for their skiing holiday, it’s worth considering the up and coming Eastern European destinations which are better value for money. With some of the best après ski and miles of slopes, the exchange rate is the cherry on top for bargain-hunters”.
10 ski resorts rated from best value to most expensive:
|Rating||Destination||Cost of skiing|
|5||St Anton, Austria||£4,118.12|
Tips from HiFX on making the most of your travel money:
1. Be prepared
Include currency costs in to your very initial budgeting and make sure you buy your holiday money well ahead of time. Whatever you do, don’t buy it at the airport – this will cost between 3-6% more than in a bank or on the high street, and buying online with a secure service will also save money and time
2. Beware of dynamic currency conversions
When paying a bill with your debit or credit card, pay in the local currency not pounds to avoid additional charges applied by the retailer which can amount to 4%. The 4% goes straight to the retailer so it’s in their interests to try to force it on unsuspecting customers.
3. Don’t get lumbered with hidden fees
Using credit and debit cards abroad often results in hidden charges. Many providers add 2.5% automatically on to all transactions overseas – including cash withdrawals – and some may even enforce a fine on every transaction. Further, adding a ‘load’ on the exchange rate will cost money, so £100 of foreign currency will actually cost £103
4. Shop around for the best rate
Unbeknown to many, when buying currency at a bureau de change, your transaction might not be treated as a UK one and withdrawal fees may be included. It’s worth shopping around to find the best rate and deal with a reputable provider. Considering an online source to purchase currency will help avoid the risk of being charged extra fees
5. Plan a budget – and stick to it
We’re all guilty of overspending on holiday, but setting out a budget and sticking to it can help prevent this, and also means you can avoid having to buy more cash abroad. By working out how much spending money you will need at an early stage, and budgeting appropriately, these high costs can be sidestepped
6. Don’t try and beat the markets
With the currency markets as volatile as they are, it might be tempting to watch them to cash in on the best rate. However, the small fluctuations in rate don’t often have an impact on small amounts like travel money – and you risk missing out on the good deals available from ordering currency online
7. Pay full amount in advance
When holidays aren’t paid off in full in advance, the cost isn’t fixed and is subject to fluctuations of the currency in the destination country. This means that you may end up paying more than initially set out, so it’s worth paying in advance to avoid surprise costs.