A survey carried out by the BBC and foreign exchange broke FairFx made some startling discoveries when they investigated the rates at which UK airports were charging against the pound on foreign exchange. At one airport, the exchange rate was as little as €0.86 to the £.
But since when did it become okay to rip off holidaymakers?
The best rate seen across the airports was at Travelex in Newcastle Airport where the exchange rate would get you €105 for £100. Still not amazing but much better than the 86 cents per £ seen at the Moneycorp outlet at Southampton Airport which was the lowest seen during the survey, where the margin was as high as 26%.
Buying your foreign currency ahead of time can earn you far more Euros than leaving it to the last minute at the airport where these skyhigh rates will "waste" your money. Checking around with high street and online foreign exchange companies is well worth the time. At the time of writing, both online currency firms Travelex and FairFX were offering €1.06 to £1 if you booked in advance.
As with all products and services, you tend to pay a premium when you need things the most. However, it was argued by Moneycorp's retail director, Pauline Maguire, that "the reason for our higher airport rates is the significant cost associated with operating there - from ground rent and additional security, to the cost of staffing the bureaux for customers on early and late flights."
It was noted that the US dollar exchange rate against the pound was also low.
So to try and make the most of your holiday money, especially if you are on a budget, it's far better to shop around before you travel, than leave it to the airport foreign exchange shops to grab your Euros and Dollars.