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What do diamond rings, donkeys and didgeridoos have in common? They’re just a few of the weird and wonderful things Brits are splurging on whilst abroad

A recent study by Thomson Holiday’s Foreign Exchange shows that despite the recession British holidaymakers are still splashing out while abroad, and not just on what you’d expect.

An incredible 57% of people polled said they spend whatever they like once they get away and don’t budget. Over a third of respondents also stated they did not save for their holiday money. It appears that despite the current economic climate, once people are on the holiday, they forget all their worries – including financial – and treat themselves. Over 65% of respondents highlighted meals and days out as the main activities they spend their hard earned cash on, closely followed by wine and beer.

The research also found that over 41% of holidaymakers usually return with around £50 worth of unused foreign currency. 75% of customers also put their unused currency in a bedroom drawer or save it for next year, even if they don’t know if they’ll be going back to the same destination. Last year over 9.5 million package holidays were booked*. If 41% of the UK package holiday market all brought home £50 worth of unused foreign exchange it’s worth nearly £200 million. If three quarters of them save it for next year or store it in a drawer it means UK Holidaymakers could potentially be sitting on approximately £150 million of unused cash - well needed money that could be saved or spent to help the economy.

Other pleasures customers like to treat themselves to while away are souvenirs, and many don’t scrimp. Brits abroad love to treat themselves to a bit of bling on holiday. The most expensive souvenir British tourists buy is jewellery, some of the most popular items being diamond rings and watches. Other items topping the list of the most expensive items bought were ornaments, furniture and handbags.

UK holidaymakers also appear to be creatures of habit and love bringing back one particular memento from abroad, for family and friends. When asked about the worst souvenir bought while on holiday a stuffed donkey was the number one response. According to the survey it’s also likely lofts and cupboards in Britain are filled with other tacky souvenirs including fridge magnets, sombreros, stuffed camels and local wines and spirits. Some wacky souvenirs, possibly bought on the spur of the moment and whilst in the holiday spirit included everything from didgeridoos and bouzoukis to reindeer meat and nodding popes.

Jeremy Osborne, TUI UK & Ireland Director of Financial Services, said, “This research highlights that despite the economic situation, customers are not saving for their holiday spending money or budgeting whilst abroad. Holidays should be carefree and people work incredibly hard for their two weeks in the sun each year, so they should enjoy themselves. There are however some really simple ways customers can save and budget, to stay in the relaxed holiday vibe as long as possible and have no nasty credit card surprises when returning home. Travel Money Cards are one way of making sure you stick to a budget while abroad. You can preload your budget before you go, or put on small amounts throughout the year and then use the card just like a debit card once you’re away. To ensure that you’re not sitting on lots of unused foreign exchange for a year, Thomson also offers a buy back guarantee so customers can exchange that left over £50 of foreign currency when they get home for the same amount they paid”.

Thomson Holiday shops offer a range of Foreign Exchange services from Travel Money Cards, competitive exchange rates, buy back policies and great customer services. It offers foreign currency at all of its 500 plus shops. This month it also has a summer promotion. When customers spend £500 or more on foreign currency this month in a Thomson shop, they’ll receive a free Simple™ Skincare Pack. For more information on the foreign exchange services we offer go to

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Photos are available on request.

Top 5 Worst Souvenirs

Stuffed Donkey
Fridge Magnet
Stuffed Camel
Local Wines & Spirits

Top 5 most expensive souvenirs

Diamond Rings
Ladro Figurines

The Foreign Exchange Survey was carried out by Thomson and First Choice and over 1000 respondents took part.

* Statistics from Gfk

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of TUI UK in the following categories: Leisure & Hobbies, Travel, for more information visit