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Spend & Save

Tourists throw money away if they buy currency at the airport

Thousands of British holidaymakers will soon be jetting off for some summer sun, but they will be leaving with a big dent in their wallets.

One in five adults will wait until they are at the airport or at their destination before buying foreign currency, research by Sainsbury's Finance shows. As a result, they will miss out on the best deals.

People who swap their cash at the airport risk high commission or uncompetitive rates, and those who plan to use their credit cards abroad are likely to pay overseas charges and get an equally uncompetitive rate of exchange.

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 to 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."

According to the research, a small minority of holidaymakers put the rest to shame: one in 10 is organised enough to arrange foreign currency more than two months before departure.