Weak, unloved and unwanted. No, not me: my puny pound. In early trading on Friday morning, sterling slid by 6 per cent in the so-called “flash crash”. It later recovered, if that’s not too ambitious a word, to £1 = €1.11 on the money markets — and, if you shop around, you might just get €1.09 for each pound. 

At the UK’s airport, though, you would be lucky to get even €1 for £1 — parity, as it’s known. At Birmingham, Edinburgh, Heathrow, London City and Luton, rates ranged from €1 to €1.01. At Gatwick, though, when I asked how many euros I would get for £100, I was told I couldn’t even get €95 — unless I added another 17p. That puts the euro not on par with the pound, but with the guinea: an archaic unit of currency worth, in today’s money, £1.05.

Fortunately there are many ways to avoid the dismal “walk-up” rates at Britain’s airports: book currency online and pick it up at the airport; order foreign exchange and get it delivered by registered mail to your home; or, if you are buying an “exotic” currency, such as the Croatian kuna, Turkish lira or Egyptian pound, wait until you get to your final destination.

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