Update: This story was updated on June 27 to show the pound dropped again Monday morning.
There may be a silver lining to the U.K.’s decision to divorce from the EU (in the 51.9 to 48.1 per cent Brexit vote): it’s suddenly become much cheaper to travel to the otherwise pricey but popular destination.
Experts say now would be a good time to stock up on British pounds if you’re up for a trip across the pond.
“I would exchange money sooner rather than later,” said Vancouver-based travel expert Claire Newell.
In Monday trading, the pound tumbled to below US$1.32 (that’s about CAD$1.73). That’s down from its low on Friday, which had University of Toronto economics professor Angelo Melino calling it the “biggest one-day decline” he’d ever seen.
The continued drop is enough to bring London, England within reach of budget-conscious travellers who’d written off the “tourist mecca,” as Newell called it, for being too expensive.
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“For anyone who has a trip imminent,” she said, “they’ve just well — not won the lottery, but — they sure are going to save a lot of money.”
To get the most bang for your buck, Newell recommended pre-paying all your accommodations, tours and attractions now.
She said it could save some people thousands of dollars, especially if they plan to enjoy the London restaurants.
“It has the potential to save even the average family several hundred dollars.”
Even though more airlines offer seasonal routes to London in the summer, flight prices tend to be the highest they’ll be all year. Don’t let that stop you from looking for deals, though.
“At the moment, flights to London from Toronto and Vancouver this August are running very close in price to flights in August 2015,” said Cheapflights.ca editor Melisse Hinkle. “Hotels and airlines have not had time to fully react to the news, either.
“So more discounts and deals could be on the horizon as the U.K. tourism industry looks to counter the impact of the news.”
Booking a trip in October or even November would still probably be your best bet if you want to maximize your savings, Newell advised.
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The bad news is the Brexit vote has sent the U.S. dollar even higher, giving Canadians more reason to hold off on trips south of the border.
Melino expects “a rollercoaster ride” before the currency fluctuations stabilize somewhat.
“There’s going to be a lot of institutional and political uncertainty in Great Britain and that’s going to be feeding into the exchange rate for quite a while to come.”
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