Last-minute foreign exchanges could cost you dear

According to Sainsbury’s Travel Money, provided in conjunction with Travelex, almost 9.5 million UK adults heading abroad for the summer sun will throw money away by waiting until they get to the airport or even their destination, before arranging their foreign exchange (1).

The findings reveal that 5% of UK adults will arrange their foreign exchange at the airport, where they may pay commission and will not get the best exchange rates. Holidaymakers could get 10% less currency for their money if they leave its purchase until they get to the airport. The 12% of UK adults that plan to mainly use their credit or debit cards abroad also risk overseas charges and uncompetitive exchange rates.

Steve Johnson, Head of Travel Money at Sainsbury’s Finance, said: "We are surprised so many people are leaving obtaining their foreign currency until they get to the airport or their holiday destination. Given the amount of shopping around we all do to get the right holiday resort and accommodation, it seems crazy to fall at the final hurdle and pay over the odds for your foreign currency by not taking advantage of better exchange rates and commission free offers at a local supermarket."

A minority of people are however very organised when it comes to arranging their travel money, with 6% taking care of it one to two months in advance of departure, and 8% arranging of it more than two months before departure.

On a regional level, Londoners are the least organised when it comes to last-minute exchange, with 30% of them either leaving it until they get to the airport, intending just to use credit or debit cards or exchange British notes when they get there. Adults in the South East are a close second on the disorganised list, with 26%, and those in the East Midlands are the most organised, with only 13% leaving their exchange until the last minute or not intending to exchange money at all prior to departure.

Location Percentage of adults who intend to either wait until they get to the airport to arrange foreign exchange or not change money at all prior to departure
London 30%
South East 26%
Scotland 24%
West Midlands 18%
East of England 18%
Wales 18%
North East 17%
North West 15%
Yorkshire and The Humber 15%
South West 15%
East Midlands 13%

Sainsbury’s Travel Money, provided by Travelex offers very competitive exchange rates with a range of benefits including commission free foreign currency and travellers cheques, free next day delivery to your billing address if ordered by 12pm, and 24/7 support of the Travelex network worldwide.

To find out more about Sainsbury’s Travel Money log onto
Or call 0845 30 12 724. Customers can arrange foreign exchange in selected Sainsbury’s stores.

(1)YouGov interviewed 2150 UK adults between 15th-17th April 2008.

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