Revealed: the holiday hotspots where your pound goes furthest

Three years on from the UK’s first lockdown, many holidaymakers are gearing up to travel abroad again. But where can British travellers get the most for their money?

La Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina
La Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina
(Image credit: Getty images)

If you're looking to save money on your holiday, then there’s good news for anyone planning to travel abroad this year. British holidaymakers now enjoy a better exchange rate in five out of six of the most popular foreign holiday destinations compared to three years ago.

According to analysis by travel money specialist No1 Currency, the pound has strengthened considerably against the Argentine peso, Turkish lira, Egyptian pound and Sri Lankan rupee since 2020, meaning British tourists will find their money goes a lot further when visiting those countries.

Anyone going to Argentina will enjoy the biggest boost, with sterling more than trebling in value against the peso (up 234.6%), while those flying to Turkey will also get a much better exchange rate (the pound is up 205.8% against the lira).

Travellers going to the States or countries that use the euro, like France, Spain or Greece, will also receive a better – albeit more modest – exchange rate compared to March 2020.

The pound has risen by 5.4% against the euro since the UK’s first lockdown, and by 6.4% against the US dollar.

At the other end of the scale, sterling has shed a tenth of its value (down 9.3%) against the Australian dollar, meaning it’ll be more expensive for British tourists to go shopping, pay for meals in restaurants or grab an iced coffee. Sterling also buys nearly a fifth fewer Mexican pesos (down 18.9%) than it did in March 2020.

Simon Phillips, managing director of No1 Currency, comments: “No-one will be celebrating the anniversary of Britain’s first lockdown, but three years on from our national confinement, the pound’s rising value offers a bright spot for anyone planning a summer getaway.

“The pound in your pocket now goes further in the vast majority of the countries typically visited by British tourists. For example, the pound has doubled in value on Egypt’s popular Red Sea coast and in Sri Lanka, which offers palm-fringed beaches and year-round warmth.”

Kenya, Japan, Mauritius, Colombia, Hungary and Jamaica make up the rest of the top 10 holiday hotspots, where the currencies have fallen the most against the pound.

Sterling work: top 25 best-value currencies for UK travellers

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RankCurrencyOne-pound pre-Covid (March 22, 2020)One pound todaySterling gain
1Argentinian Peso74.30248.57234.6%
2Turkish Lira7.6323.34205.8%
3Egyptian Pounds18.3337.37103.9%
4Sri Lankan Rupee217.47422.8594.4%
5Kenyan Shilling123.38159.3829.2%
6Japanese Yen129.29161.1624.7%
7Mauritian Rupee46.0857.2024.1%
8Colombian Peso4,796.595,913.3023.3%
9Hungarian Forint381.88452.0818.4%
10Jamaican Dollar157.55184.9117.4%
11Indian Rupee87.87101.2515.2%
12Peruvian Sol4.114.6412.7%
13Philippine Peso59.6666.6511.7%
14Moroccan Dirham11.4412.6810.9%
15South African Rand20.5122.7210.8%
16Thai Baht38.0941.8810.0%
17South Korean Won1,461.691,601.869.6%
18Polish Zloty4.945.388.9%
19Vietnamese Dong27,070.5028,998.507.1%
20Israeli Shekel4.204.496.9%
21Romanian Leu5.285.646.7%
22Malaysian Ringgit5.165.506.6%
23US Dollar1.151.226.4%
24Hong Kong Dollar9.049.616.4%
25Taiwanese Dollar35.3237.496.1%

Source: No1 Currency analysis, 22 March 2020 vs 20 March 2023 

Holiday not spots: the 10 destinations where the pound has fallen or is flat

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RankCurrencyOne pound pre-Covid (March 22, 2020)One pound todaySterling loss / gain
1Mexican Peso28.4723.10-18.9%
2Australian Dollar2.011.83-9.3%
3Czech Koruna29.7927.42-7.9%
4Norwegian Krone13.7613.07-5.0%
5New Zealand Dollar2.041.96-3.8%
6Singapore Dollar1.691.64-2.8%
7Fiji Dollar2.752.71-1.4%
8Swiss Franc1.151.13-1.4%
9Indonesian Rupiah18,963.2018,824.20-0.7%
10Canadian Dollar1.671.670.2%

Source: No1 Currency analysis, 22nd March 22 2020 vs 20th March 2023

Three years on from the abrupt closure of Britain’s borders and grounding of flights, the analysis shows that overall the pound is now worth more against 45 of the 54 (83%) most in-demand currencies.

While double-digit inflation is making the cost of living – including the cost of UK holiday accommodation – soar at home, the sliding value of dozens of foreign currencies will be good news for many people planning a much-needed holiday this year.

On the flipside, along with the Mexican peso and Australian dollar, British travellers visiting the Czech Republic, Norway or New Zealand will find their money does not go as far compared to three years ago.

If you’re wondering what’s the best way to spend money abroad, see our articles on Best prepaid travel cards and Best travel credit cards

Simon Phillips adds: “To make your pounds go even further, don’t forget to shop around for the best exchange rate when you buy your travel money. To get the best deal, always buy it in advance and never leave things until you get to the airport.”

Looking for more ways to save money abroad? Read our seven easy ways to save money on holiday 

Ruth Emery

Ruth Emery is contributing editor at The Money Edit. Ruth is passionate about helping people feel more confident about their finances. She was previously editor of Times Money Mentor, and prior to that was deputy Money editor at The Sunday Times. A multi-award winning journalist, Ruth started her career on a pensions magazine at the FT Group, and has also worked at Money Observer and Money Advice Service. Outside of work, she is a mum to two young children, a magistrate and an NHS volunteer.