Q – We have been planning a trip to England and Wales next May, hoping to be gone for two weeks. We’re thinking we may rent a car but driving on the wrong side of the road might do us in so we are considering a tour or even private guides. Our question has to do with taking advantage of the drop in the value of the Pound. For travel next year, how do we lock in the best rate. Any strategical advice would be appreciated. There is lots of talk about this on the news but no one tells Americans the best way to play this in terms of getting the best rates.
A – We have received a wide range of questions on this topic. Since no one knows where England’s exit strategy will lead them, it is a bit premature to predict pricing for next year. But we would be shocked if prices didn’t reflect a British pound that was severely devalued against the dollar. Here are a few suggestions:
Don’t buy a brochure program. Anything out in print will be using last year’s exchange rate.
Do not book online. It is too soon for recalibrated rates to show up on web sites.
Do book everything in British pounds whenever possible. Leave it to your credit card company to use the conversion rate that reflects current valuations.
Do book directly with hotels and pay in British Pounds.
Do book with a consultant who is a member of one of the larger consortiums. They will have overseas affiliated offices in the U.K. that will quote arrangements on a net basis in BP. This is what the savvy players will be doing during financial chaos of the next several months – or years.
If you are booking an escorted tour, ask your consultant if the operator has a track record of adjusting pricing, after deposit, downward when there is a major shift in the value of the local currency. Some do – many don’t.
For now, we are targeting travel within Great Britain next year at a price reduction in the range of 30%.
But do be aware that some analysts are predicting that the exit will bring a surge of tourism to Great Britain from China, Europe, and Russia . The demand could actually slow the kinds of pricing discounts we are anticipating.