The pound dropped significantly after the UK voted to leave the European Union last week. That makes travel to the British Isles cheaper for Americans.
You’ve probably already heard: last week the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. That vote has a whole bunch of political and social implications, but it’s also big news for travelers.
The most obvious impact of the vote for travel is that the pound dropped significantly against the dollar (and other currencies). That means foreign travelers are suddenly facing major bargains; financially speaking, there hasn’t been a better time to visit the UK in a generation.
The exchange rate is likely to trickle down into a lot of specific deals. Airfare and hotels are expected to be cheaper than ever, and now is a good time to start booking trips. My colleagues at BuzzFeed have put together a list of tips on specifically how to take advantage of the exchange rate.
Here’s the thing though: despite a stiff exchange rate in the past, the UK is actually not a very expensive place to visit. Especially in London, there is an abundance of cheap hotels and the best things to do are actually free. London can be pricy if you don’t do any research, but because of the way its tourism industry has evolved, smart travelers will find it to be one of Europe’s more affordable cities to visit — regardless of the exchange rate.
Combined with the recent vote, this has a couple of implications for travelers:
1. This is a good time to venture further out into the UK.
In my experience, transportation within the UK — especially rail transit — has tended to be somewhat pricier than other parts of Europe. With the now-more-favorable exchange rates, however, this is the perfect time to venture out into more far flung towns and the English, Welsh, and Scottish countrysides — all of which might have been more expensive to reach in the past.
In other words, find the most remote place you’ve been wanting to visit in the UK, and go there this year.
2. This is a good time to explore independently.
Shortly after the vote to leave the EU, the New York Times ran a story talking about package deals and the like. That’s pretty depressing.
First of all, strong exchange rates can translate into bigger tourist crowds, so the major sites and pre-planned tour groups may well be swarming with bargain seekers. If that sounds appealing to you have at it, but I’d rather use the exchange rate to avoid some of the crowds. (See point #1 above.)
The exchange rate also means that taking a risk while traveling has never been less risky. Think about it: going somewhere independently, without a guide, involves a lot of trial and error. Mistakes will be made. That’s a great part of the travel experience, but when it’s costing hundreds of dollars a day just to be in a place, it’s stressful.
Now, however, thanks to the exchange rates, venturing out on your own has never been more affordable.
— Jim Dalrymple II