Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.
The deep, dark days of February make us all think of warmer times, and warmer climes. So if you’re thinking about getting away from it all, don’t forget to make a few fiscal preparations, least your pleasure beach turns into a winter of discontent.
Ahh, the holidays. Those all too few days away, when you can put all cares aside, kick back, and enjoy the sun, sand, and whatever takes your fancy.
Except of course, it’s not that simple.
Here at hard working Springfords, we’re as ready as anyone to take a well-deserved holiday. However, even if you do find us under a shady tree on a tropical beach, you’ll find us with one thing on our minds. Your money.
A recent survey by Travel Money Club, specialists in the field of foreign exchange, claim that nine out of ten of us will habitually overspend on a foreign holiday. They say it’s because we’re confused by the exchange rate, unfamiliar with our purchases, or, quite alarmingly, simply don't care.
That’s something to make your slightly over-sweet Malibu cocktail go down the wrong way, as you fall out of your hammock.
“Foreign currency is a minefield for holidaymakers if they don’t know what to look out for,” said Travel Money Club’s Don Clark. “Familiarising yourself with the current conversion rates and reading the small print on charges and commissions will prevent unexpected surprises.”
We agree. That’s one of the reason why, although we don’t have an actual physical holiday money counter at Springfords, as part of the Baldwins Group we now have access via our Banking and Finance arm to an excellent Foreign Exchange & International payments service for our business and personal clients at very competitive rates.
The survey added that a third of holidaymakers don’t know whether it’s better to pay in local currency or Sterling when paying on card, which can lead to paying far more for food, drinks and souvenirs than expected.
The same of course holds true, when you swap beach sandals and shorts, for a sober skirt and company tie. Away from your usual suppliers, you can find yourself paying much more for the things you’ve painstakingly priced down over years. Doing business is complicated enough, without any confusion over international currency conversion, so take all the care in the world to work out the best deal on offer.
That same survey, says a quarter of us will run out of cash currency by day three of our typical foreign holiday, because we’re not taking any notice of our spending. A further third of us will be feeling the unexpected pinch by the end of the first week. A half of us admit to neglecting any thought about spending, and a third simply forget to budget.
That’s enough to drive you to drink, which is probably why twenty percent of us admit to waking up, finding we’ve spent more than £20 on a single … refreshment. Hopefully you’ve enough left for a strong coffee, as your head clears and you find you’ve also spent as much as £200 more than anticipated on gifts - a common occurrence, says the survey - though it doesn’t say the two are related.
Preparation, is our favourite topic here at Springfords. We’re just as excited about holidays as anyone else, but we think you should apply the same rigour to holiday planning as you do for everything in business. You may well find some nice glossy travel supplements in our reception - but turn up early if you want to read them, we don’t keep you waiting, and we’ll have you packed and dispatched faster than you can say ‘last boarding call’.
If you’re already planning a getaway, plan for what you’re leaving behind too. At Springfords we’ll help you budget accordingly for everything, including foreign currency, holiday pay, holiday leave, and the costs of cover for vacationing staff.
Unwinding while away comes down to being prepared before you leave. Make sure you budget properly for your own spending in the sun, but also make sure you leave everything in good shape before you leave. That’s something to give you a warm feeling on the inside too, as you sip your Malibu cocktail - no matter how much you just paid for it.