Historically, Brits travelling to the States could be confident of a good exchange rate; comfortably able to swap £100 for 170USD.
However, the depreciation of the pound in the wake of our decision to leave the EU has seen rates drop significantly, meaning travellers today are unlikely to get much more than 131USD, with economists predicting this downward trend will continue.
In real terms, it means that a family who spent £500 in America last summer are likely to need to find £90 more this year.
“We don’t expect significant currency moves until the post-Brexit roadmap becomes clearer, but it is a fragile and volatile environment at the moment,” admits Greg Baggio, trading manager at digital social currency platform WeSwap.
“We don’t advise trying to play the market too much, as any of the large institutions or funds could tilt the balance either side should they decide to bet for or against the pound.”
However, the experts at WeSwap don’t advise us to turn our backs on holidays Stateside just yet; they are confident there are still ways to make America affordable.
“The US is a huge and varied place with so much choice for people on all budgets,” explains WeSwap brand manager Stephanie Meyer-Scott.
“We just need to keep a closer eye on costs than we might have needed to last year”
So where can we go in the US to get a better deal? WeSwap recommends New Orleans, with hotel rates starting at just £75, as one city well worth a visit.
It is jam-packed with history and architecture, all of which is free to peruse, plus the native Creole cuisine is a steal from the many shops and restaurants.
The city is also the birthplace of jazz, so there is plenty to do and see that will not break the bank. If you did want to spend a little more, visit during Mardi Gras, which has become synonymous with New Orleans – it provides a guaranteed feast of entertainment.
In Washington DC, while hotels do not come cheap, the abundance of free attractions makes this another surprisingly affordable location. As well as the Washington monument, the White House and the Lincoln Memorial, there are hop-on hop-off bus tours, bike excursions and the Capitol has free tours – as long as you book. You can even watch a case being argued at the Supreme Court.
“Of course, as with all popular destinations, summer and school holidays see prices rise,” concedes WeSwap marketing executive Yael Gladstone.
“Plan in advance and you can take advantage of good rates, although flights do tend to be pricey all year.
“Although the summer is an expensive time to visit, the sales after 4 July can be pretty great. Also, January is usually a cheaper time to visit New York in particular, with flights going down after the holidays, and stores offering bargains.”
Of course, the last thing anyone needs to be losing money on, on top of the drop in the rate, is bank fees or even poorer exchange rates. These can add another four to five percent on top of an already pricier trip; 10 percent if you buy your dollars at the airport.
“Using WeSwap means you get the real exchange rate, the interbank rate, and pay as little as one percent,” Meyer adds.
“The WeSwap card and app are also excellent for budgeting and tracking your spending.
“Because your budget is swapped into US dollars in advance, you can see exactly where you stand at all times, so if you pay $50 that’s exactly what will come out of your balance.
“It’s all there, upfront, absolutely no surprises.”
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