Millions of Brits could have been stung by up to £100 in fees when exchanging money in hotel bureaux abroad this summer, says a report by Travelex.
The study, carried out by the leading foreign currency exchange specialist ahead of the summer, found that while many Brits opt for all inclusive holidays to help control their spending , almost a third (31 per cent) end up paying for extra costs they thought would be included in the price of the holiday.
As a result, over half (57 per cent) of British all-inclusive holidaymakers are forced to change money at a hotel, and suffer from uncompetitive exchange rates. As a result, Travelex estimates up to eight million Brits could have been short-changed this summer.
Currency experts at Travelex.co.uk looked into the exchange rates offered by bureaux in all-inclusive hotels in popular summer resorts including Spain’s Costa del Sol and Canary Islands, as well as the popular family holiday destinations of Florida and Turkey. Travelex also looked at Greece as a bargain destination this summer, with more than four million Brits predicted to head there this summer to take advantage of the country’s struggling economy.
All the hotels in the study feature on-site exchange bureaux, where tourists changing money face hefty commission fees. When compared to the best online rates, families are losing out on nearly £100 of extra holiday money every time they exchange £300.
Worst offenders – Costa Del Sol
Travelex’s report unveils the all-inclusive hotels in the Costa Del Sol as the worst offenders regarding exchange rates. Holidaymakers are getting on average £48.12 less when exchanging £300 into the local currency, the Euro, compared to exchanging the same amount with Travelex before jetting off. The worst accommodation for foreign exchange was found to be the Barceló hotel in Malaga which offers a weaker exchange rate than Travelex (0.82 Euros for every £1 compared to Travelex’s 1.21 Euros) . This means that customers exchanging £300 will get £94 less than if they ordered cash in advance via travelex.co.uk.
Hotels in Corfu, Greece are also revealed as offering poorer rates than back at home. Brits flocking to Greece this summer can expect to get a great bargain on their holiday but be stung at the currency exchange desk at the hotel. The Divani Corfu Palace Hotel was found to offer an exchange rate of just 0.86 Euros to the Pound, as well as adding a 2% commission, meaning families looking to exchange £300 would get just 258 Euros, compared to 363 Euros if they exchanged money with Travelex beforehand.
Spain’s Canary Islands are also revealed as fleecing their customers at hotel bureaux. Holidaymakers exchanging £300 at the Dunas Maspalomas resort in Gran Canaria exchange bureau get 51 Euros (over £40) less than if they’d exchanged the same amount at Travelex.co.uk. The hotel bureau is commission free but offers a rate of just 1.04 Euros.
Brits looking to hop across the pond this year to Florida will be stung by poor hotel exchange rates this summer. Those looking to sit back and relax on Sun Beach Boulevard will be stung by hotel bureaus offering poor exchange rates. Travellers cashing in their Sterling at The Sheraton Fort Launderdale Beach Hotel will be nearly £40 worse off than if they exchanged their currency before they left the UK, that’s nearly the full cost of a child ticket at Disneyland Florida.
Popular resorts in the latest summer hot spot, Turkey, are also uncovered as offering poor rates in their hotel exchange bureaux. The Azade Hotel in Istanbul is the worst of the bunch, with customers getting almost £10 less for every £300 exchanged compared to exchanging the equivalent amount at Travelex.co.uk.
Elvin Eldić, of Travelex, says: “All-inclusive holidaymakers no doubt enjoy the carefree option and ability to budget ahead of travelling. However, not considering their travel money before leaving could prove costly and those withdrawing money to fund activities outside their all-inclusive deals are being badly stung by hotel exchange bureaux charging high commission or offering extremely poor exchange rates.
“Our advice to holidaymakers would be to prepare and arrange their travel money in advance of their holiday. By ordering foreign currency online at Travelex.co.uk, customers can benefit from the best online rate which can then be delivered direct to them or picked up from the airport. Also if there is any foreign currency left over after the holiday, our Buy Back Plus allows them to exchange any leftover currency at the same rate at which it was bought, commission free.”