Here are some great tourist destinations with currencies that have fallen even more than the pound sterling (as at 25/2/2013) and of course more than the euro or US dollar.
1. Japan, the Yen is 14% down against the UK pound.
2. Argentina, the Peso is 12.3% down.
3. South Africa, the Rand is 12.1% down.
4. Gambia, the Dalasis is 11.8% down.
5. Brazil, the Real is 10.7% down.
6. Egypt, the Egyptian Pound is 8.6% down.
7. Sri Lanka, the Rupee is 5.3% down.
8. Indonesia, the Rupiah is 4.5% down.
9. Jamaica, the Dollar is 3.4% down.
10. Kenya, the Shilling is 2.8% down.
Times are still tough for world travel with austerity budgets spreading and fuel/flight costs higher than ever, so consider a vacation destination that isn't long-haul and do some thorough research.
There are obvious downsides to flying with low cost airlines so check 'legacy' airlines, their fares may be competitive if you take in account all the extras (food, drink, baggage+!) and if you have problems you are much more likely to receive satisfaction.
1: Book online and pay by debit card, (Ryanair may charge for this). If using a tour operator check they have ATOL insurance coverage. According to industry research the optimum time to pre-book is 8 weeks before departure.
2: Keep check-in baggage to the minimum, preferably zero, for cheap flights and ensure the airline knows how many bags you'll have. n.b. Ryanair will not permit musical instruments as hand baggage.
3: Eliminate any 'world care fund' or 'carbon footprint' contributions - they probably go straight into the airline's revenue stream.
4: If you already have travel insurance make sure the airline doesn't add it to your charge by default. If not, check offerings through a price comparison site, and consider multi-trip insurance if you take more than one holiday abroad in a year.
5: Check flight status before leaving home.
6: If you are planning to drive yourself to the airport, choose your parking area and book it well in advance to get the cheapest rate. Alternatively explore public transport options; buses are often fast and good value for couples, though not perhaps if travelling as a family.
7: Never change money at the departure airport - apart from a little emergency cash if essential. Check around before you leave for the best exchange deals; for example the UK's Post Office offers good value. If you forget and need some cash pronto, exchanges at your destination usually give better rates, assuming you don't arrive in the middle of the night.
8: Car hire costs differ dramatically place to place, so research will be required in this area too. If you're planning to head for a city first then drive around the country, it will be easier and cheaper to taxi or bus into town from the airport then rent a car after you've finished the city sightseeing.
Check consumer rights and protection against airlines and tour operators going bust, hotel overbookings, TripAdvisor fake reviews and more on our Consumer Protection page.
Using bank cards abroad efficiently
Buy goodies or pay bills (checks) with credit cards when on vacation as they provide insurance as well as delayed repayment but don't draw cash out from ATMs with them (unless it's a new-wave, no-fee card). Interest starts accruing immediately and bank exchange fees in addition to the ATM fee may be unreasonable.
It's better to buy foreign cash at home from a commission-free provider though, of course when you travel you'll have to carry a fat wad around, so the best solution depends on the security of your holiday destination. If you travel a lot and want to get cash from an ATM do some research on transaction fees and get the lowest fee debit (not credit card) card you can find.
Gap Year travellers might consider also acquiring a prepaid Travel Money Card (aka Currency Card) which can be loaded with any amount of any currency before travelling and then topped up by family or friends while the Gappist is still in the big nowhere. Compare prepaid Travel Money Cards.
And of course never pay for anything abroad in your home currency (the exchange rate will be absurd), insist on paying in local currency.
To summarise, buy stuff abroad with a credit card, but try to pay off the balance each month before interest charges blow the wheels off your trolley; get cash from ATMs with a debit card.
Finally, don't go short of travel insurance if you're going to be participating in any kind of marginally dangerous activity, or even a non-dangerous activity in a third world location, that's NOT the way to save money! Use your brain while it's intact!
Secure your Social network!
Travelers logging onto social networks while abroad should ensure that they properly log out before leaving an internet café or similar because in some areas of Africa, East Europe and India it's not unknown for a watcher to access a tourist's Facebook (or similar) account after they leave and send a desperate message to family members about an accident/hospitalisation and needing money urgently. Money transferred disappears into a mystery account and no one's the wiser.
Using data abroad can be expensive but most UK and US networks offer prepaid European travel data bundles –15 MB daily for a modest fee for example. In addition networks are obliged to cut you off when your monthly data bill reaches €50.
To keep data bills as low as possible, iPhone users should install Onavo. Fire up this app in a new country and it keeps you updated as to your usage and compresses data heading into your phone, thereby squeezing perhaps 50 per cent extra out of any data bundle. The app is free from iTunes for now, but charges are planned. An Android version is scheduled for release later this month. For now, the 3G Watchdog app tracks your data use; it's free from the Android Market.
Unfortunately, you could eat up a few megabytes just finding your hotel on Google Maps, so these tricks still don't exactly enable seamless home-and-abroad smart phone use.
To avoid data bills altogether, switch roaming off before you leave. On an iPhone, push the data roaming slider to off at Settings>General>Network. Android users should uncheck data roaming at Settings>Wireless & Networks >Mobile Networks. This eliminates some of your phone's functionality, but it doesn't hobble it altogether – and has the odd benefit, such as extending battery life. Instant access to a local map is one of the smart-phone's key benefits for travel, and all is not lost if you're without a web connection.
Android users can pre-download a map covering a 10-mile radius from anywhere: enable the 'Download map area' feature via the Labs tab in your Google Maps app and follow instructions. For iPhone users, an app called ForeverMap gives offline access to zoomable European country maps. Destinations outside Europe should be available soon. Download whatever countries you need over Wi-Fi before you leave. Any onboard map should work in tandem with your device's inbuilt GPS to guide you as you walk without using data.
If you're downloading a travel guide app, make sure that it also includes 'offline maps'.
The cheapest foreign phone options are
1 - Skype phone by internet via wifi on a laptop/smart phone/or even iPod Touch, costs are tiny tho' sound quality can be erratic. We're especially impressed by international video calls from a iPod Touch 4 in a wifi zone to a PC via Skype, incredible sound quality and pretty good pictures. USE WIFI WHERE POSSIBLE.
2 - sign up with the new breed of cheap international calls providers.
3 - get a 'world' sim card at home or buy a new sim card on arrival at your destination and change the card over. The main drawback is number will be new and you may have to own an unlocked phone (either get your unlocked or buy an already unlocked extra phone), but it's convenient and you only pay for what you use if you buy the right package.
4 - check out new generation phone cards to call just about anywhere.
world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page'