New research from travel insurance specialist Columbus Direct reveals that the falling pound has left British holidaymakers lighter in the pocket, with 41% saying that it has had an impact on their holiday plans.

Those jetting off to the US would receive $88 less (£70.27) in exchange for £500 on February 1 than exactly one year ago and, although the currency has gradually recovered over the last six months following the Brexit referendum, Brits still would have $30.45 (£24.41) less to spend per £500 across the Atlantic now than on August 1, 2016.

Those travelling to Europe also face lighter wallets; travellers going to France or Austria now get €76 (£65.15) less in return for £500 than last February, while holidaymakers in the Swiss Alps are CHF110 (£87.93) lighter in their pocket compared to last winter.

Of the top 20 destinations visited by British travellers, those visiting Australia and Norway will lose out the most in terms of holiday cash. A year ago Brits heading down under would have been able to exchange £500 for A$1,014, but they will now only receive A$830 in exchange, a reduction equivalent to £111.27. Similarly, visitors in Norway now have kr1070 (£103.13) less to spend per £500 on their holiday than 12 months ago.

The weakened currency is having a real impact on Brits’ travel plans this year, with an estimated 21 million people (41%) saying that it will affect their choice of destination and holiday style. Younger people (18-34) in particular are having to tighten their belts, with 51% saying that they are making changes to their holiday plans to save costs, compared to 32% of those aged over 55.

While the less favourable exchange rates may have dampened Brits’ enthusiasm to travel abroad, the domestic tourism industry seems to have profited as a result. Eight million (16%) people plan to ‘staycation’ instead of ‘vacation’ by spending more time in the UK. Brits are also becoming more financially cautious and are coming up with different ways to keep holiday costs down – 11% plan to set a budget in advance, another 8% intend to reduce the number of holidays and a further 7% plan to travel on a self-catering basis to save money.

The company's head of brand, Rob Thomas, said: “Anyone heading to Europe, the US and Australia especially will feel the pinch of less favourable exchange rates. We have enjoyed a strong currency for many years so the reduced strength of the pound is going to be noticeable for holidaymakers when it doesn’t go as far as it used to.

“Setting a budget for the holiday itself and spending money while abroad can be a good way to help travellers remain within budget. Many European cities also offer well-priced visitor passes that often include transportation savings, plus discounts for museum visits and events and these can provide good value to visitors. Travellers should make sure they buy travel insurance as soon as they book their holiday so they are covered in case of cancellation and delays, and if they plan to travel several times a year, it is often a lot cheaper to buy an annual travel policy than a single trip cover.”

Image Source: P.C.H. via fotolia

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