Travel Miscellany

The perils of playing the exchange rate game... and other excellent reasons to use a tour operator!

The perils of playing the exchange rate game... and other excellent reasons to use a tour operator!

There are so many things to consider throughout the holiday booking process (destination, time of year, hotel, the list is endless), but one thing you might not have thought about is exchange rate fluctuation. It may seem like a dry topic but you could save yourself a small fortune by ensuring you get this part of your holiday right... and that's where a tour operator comes in handy.


The Original Travel approach to protecting our clients from the perilous world of currency movements

Original Travel is very proud of its approach to foreign currency hedging. We manage our foreign currency requirements very closely and follow a prudent hedging strategy designed a) to protect our clients from the horrors of surcharging (more below), and b) to protect ourselves from any nasty shocks on currency movement.

The horrors of surcharging

Insider tip: Many travel companies will surcharge you post-booking if the currency has moved against them; astonishingly, this is completely legal. Blowing our own trumpet alert - Original Travel is, as far as we know, one of the only tour operators to have said (live on the BBC) that we won't surcharge clients post booking. As you can imagine we have not made many friends in the industry as a result!


What about going it alone and booking direct with the hotel?

Nooooooo! Don't do it! Your card provider will hammer you as they translate local currency out of your GBP account at the prohibitive rate they will doubtless use. Some banks and card providers might even add an additional currency conversion charge and a handling fee.


Here's a scenario worth thinking about...

You booked your holiday direct with the hotel, nicely in advance. You come to pay your bill at the end of your holiday and your home currency has weakened by 15%. You're suddenly paying much more than you expected plus all those nasty bank charges we mention above.

OK, the currency might just as easily strengthen and it could end up being cheaper for you. But do you really want to take that risk?


From a pure cost perspective, why use a tour operator?

Contrary to popular belief, tour operators don't take the rate you would get and then whack a socking great big lump for us on the top of that! We make our money by negotiating contracted rates from our lovely hotel owners, expert guides and airlines. Depending on what you're booking, our prices will be comparable to what you'd pay by going direct, it might even be cheaper without the hours of research, heart-ache and whopping phone bills. What's more you won't then have to check that you've paid all 10 of the suppliers you're booking through and then stare in shocked horror at the prohibitive exchange rate that your bank used when your bank statement arrives. With a tour operator, it's one bill, in the currency that you want to pay in and you're done!


We've created some lovely stats to show just how marvellous tour operators (specifically us!) are:

  • You'll get the 14 hours of your life back which you would have used scouring the internet
  • You'll have 23 fewer websites to go through
  • You'll have 9 fewer phone calls to make
  • You'll have 6 less calls to receive
  • You'll have 8 less emails to write
  • You'll have 6 fewer points of contact
  • You'll have 10 less confirmation emails to decipher
  • You'll have 7 less payment requests
  • You'll have 14 less print outs to print


What's more...

You get all the lovely protection afforded to you by the Package Tour Regulations, ATOL and ABTA. When the Foreign and Commonwealth Office put a country on a no-go warning, if you book through a tour operator you have three lovely options, a) your money back, b) an alternative holiday or c) the option to postpone. Ditto if an Icelandic volcano goes off, for example!

What are your rights from overseas suppliers if you go direct? Zip. Nada. Niente. Nothing. A big fat £0.


If you still want to go it alone, no hard feelings

We're passionate about our destinations and want to make sure you have a wonderful time irrespective of whether or not you decide to book with us, so we're happy to send you our destination dossier to help