Travellers Cheques and currency exchange… Which Brits are most savvy?

If you ask the younger generation if they’re going to use a Travellers Cheque this year, they may look at you like you’re crazy… and some may even ask you what on earth a Travellers Cheque is!

Once used by millions every year,  a recent  survey suggests the Travellers Cheque may become a thing of the past, with only a quarter of holidaymakers planning to use them whilst abroad this year.

It seems the Travellers Cheque, which was first introduced in 1772, has been replaced by other payment methods, with 60% of those surveyed saying they choose to pay with cash whilst in resort.

The survey revealed that it’s people in Northern Ireland who have almost completely moved away from Travellers Cheques, with just 6% saying they will use them on their next holiday, compared to 35% of travellers from the South East of England.

The survey of 1,000 British holidaymakers also revealed 12% of people do not check the latest currency exchange rates in order to find the best deal, whilst 38% say they only conduct basic research before purchasing.

Holidaymakers from the South West are the biggest gamblers, with 19% admitting they don’t check the latest rates, compared to just 8% of people from Wales.

The survey also revealed that despite airports being renowned for poor exchange rates and high commission charges, on average, 6% of holidaymakers still leave it to the very last minute and purchase their foreign currency just before their flight.

Travellers from the South East are the most unorganised when it comes to changing Sterling, with one in 10 saying they change their money at the airport, compared to just 2% of Scottish holidaymakers.

Whilst some of the best foreign currency deals can be found online, only 8% of holidaymakers from Wales choose to purchase on the net, compared to one in three from Northern Ireland.

Ever begun your journey home with a pocket full of currency you don’t know what to do with? Our survey also found that on average across the UK, 38% of holidaymakers spend any unused foreign currency at the airport before heading back to the UK. More than half of people from Northern Ireland tend to splash the cash before they board their plane, whilst sensible holidaymakers from Scotland and the North of England are more likely to save any unused foreign currency for their next holiday.

Table showing foreign currency spending behaviours


Alistair Daly, Chief Marketing Officer at On the Beach comments:

“The old trusted Travellers Cheque could soon become a thing of the past as more and more people are using hard cash in resort. We would always suggest that like any other purchase, people should shop around for their foreign currency in order to get the best deals and not leave it to the last minute.”

Do you still use Travellers Cheques…? Let us know your thoughts on the results of this survey!

Written on 18th March 2015 by

Emily Whitehouse

Marketeer and blogger for On the Beach. Lover of all things beachy.

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