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Posted December 9th, 2010 by Charles Purdy

Time for a break?

The pound has made gains against the euro over recent weeks, making the average last-minute trip to the Eurozone some 7% cheaper for British travellers than it would have been last month. Anyone depressed by the cold and the snow can jet off south to sunnier climes for less as a result.
David Comber from Smart Currency Exchange said: "With the euro moving so positively over the last few weeks and gaining around 7-8 cents over the last month, I would definitely think about booking a last-minute Christmas break to the Canary Islands for some sunshine! After all, this movement means that an overall holiday package is now between 6% and7% cheaper than last month."
Other warmer destinations worth considering within the Eurozone for shorter breaks include cities such as Athens and Lisbon – or perhaps the Algarve?
And remember, it doesn’t just have to be a sunshine breaks. The heavy snowfall in the French Alps, for example, could make now the perfect chance to grab a cheap skiing holiday. Resorts such as Val Thorens and Courchevel are just waiting for you to arrive and are likely to be offering cheap deals to attract people in the traditionally slow pre-Christmas period.
Other, more unusual destinations such as Finland are also looking much more affordable thanks to the greater strength of the pound versus the euro. Joe Goodwin, also from Smart Currency Exchange, said: "You can now buy a lot more euros for your pounds, so I’m thinking about going for a last-minute Christmas break to Finland again. It’s a fantastic place, a bit expensive but worth every penny – and now, much more affordable due to the exchange rate. Getting 11% more for my money than I would have done this time last year has made my mind up."
Meanwhile, even if you are planning ahead for a break in January or February, it could be worth taking advantage of the exchange rates available today. The pound has continued to move higher against the euro this week on the back of positive manufacturing data. But there is no guarantee that this upward trend will continue, especially with the latest house price figures showing that the market is losing ground.
Anyone planning a trip to the Eurozone in the New Year may therefore benefit from buying currency now. This may be a gamble as no one really knows for certain what exchange rates are going to do…but it may just be worth taking a chance.
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*As published on 9th December 2010
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