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Euro doubts boost holidaymaker cash

Holidaymakers travelling to eurozone countries are getting the best value for money in three-and-a-half years amid the continuing eurozone crisis.

The pound has risen against the euro to levels not seen since autumn 2008 in the wake of elections in France and Greece which caused heightened uncertainty over plans to tackle the debt crisis.

The fallout has led to some foreign exchange outlets selling the euro at a rate of more than 1.20 to the pound, a rate which could rise further still in the coming months due to the pound's "safe haven" status.

The favourable rates could bring some welcome relief this summer to families whose budgets are under pressure from inflation, which has driven up living costs and left them with little disposable income.

Currency specialist Travelex said demand for the euro shot up by 290% on its website compared with a year ago, showing how holidaymakers are already moving to take advantage of the pound's relative strength.

Elvin Eldic, regional manager of Travelex UK, which is offering a rate of just under 1.21 euro, said: "The weekend's elections in France and Greece have thrown the eurozone into fresh turmoil, driving the pound to a three-and-a-half year high against the euro.

"While the pound has been hovering around a 22-month high for the past fortnight, the latest boost means tourists will be getting over 1.20 euros for every pound for the first time since November 2008.

"That's an extra 52 euros for every £500 exchanged for British holidaymakers heading to the continent."

Jacqui Holt, foreign exchange director at Thomas Cook UK and Ireland, said that British tourists travelling to the eurozone will be able to get 10% more than they could a year ago with their spending money, adding: "There's never been a better time to book a eurozone holiday."

The Post Office is also offering an online exchange rate of just under 1.21 euro, or 1.15 in branch, or more than 1.20 in branch for transactions of more than £1,000.

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