GBP to USD improving: time to travel?
The pound continues to rise against the dollar! Your money is now worth so much more! Travel! Spend! Party!
But wait a second. How much do you really gain by taking the exchange rate into consideration? Is this just some kind of sneaky marketing ploy to get us to buy trips to the U.S. because now we "can" afford it? What time period are we talking here? According to the Oanda International Currency Converter:
- One year go, £1 bought $1.98 U.S. dollars
- 6 months ago, £1 bought $1.51 U.S dollars
- 3 months ago, £1 bought $1.44 U.S. Dollars
- 1 month ago, £1 bought $1.47 U.S. Dollars
- Today (5/26/09), £1 bought $1.59 U.S. Dollars
So if you consider how many more dollars you could spend compared to one year ago when you almost got 2 bucks($1.98) to the pound, we'll probably all glum about it, but compared to the rate on 01/24/2009 when you only got 1.37340 dollars you're doing great!
What does all this mean for you, the traveller thinking that maybe you could after all swing a trip to the U.S. within the next few weeks?
Not much, except for this: Don't change currency at the airport, and do your homework beforehand. Sometimes the fees are so high that they negate any exchange rate advantage you may have. Better options include:
2. using a cash machine in your destination country (of course you should have at least some of the proper currency prior to that or a credit card with minimal fees like The Abbey Zero or Nationwide Debit)
3. changing money at an online exchange and have it delivered to you before you leave.
If you have other good tips for cash currency exchange, please share them below!