18 October 2022

Two thirds of Brits trim holiday costs in response to rising cost of living

  • One in five (20%) are travelling out of season to save money, with October the most popular month
  • A quarter (27%) have now set a stricter travel budget due to cost of living
  • However, many are falling victim to ‘financial blindspots’ with more than half (56%) unaware of card provider charges, and one in 10 paying with GBP rather than local currency
  • HSBC UK launches fee-free Global Money account to help travellers cut costs1

Two in three Brits (66%) say the rising cost of living has changed the way they holiday abroad, with travelling outside of peak season (20%) and sticking to a tight spending budget while away (27%) amongst the most popular ways of saving money, according to new HSBC UK research2.

However, two thirds (65%) of travellers admit to financial mishaps that are costing them extra cash. One in ten have made purchases abroad in GBP, which is more expensive, rather than the local currency, and six in ten (60%) said they incurred fees for cash withdrawals and debit card transactions last time they travelled overseas.

This research comes as HSBC UK announces a fee-free1 account, Global Money, which allows HSBC UK customers to spend abroad (withdraw cash or make card purchases) without paying fees – just as they would at home. Available exclusively through the latest version of the HSBC UK mobile banking app, Global Money Account holders can hold, convert and send money from 18 different currency wallets. They can also order a multi-currency debit card which they can use to make purchases or withdraw cash abroad fee-free1.

Most mainstream debit cards charge a transaction fee of 2.79-2.99% on spending abroad, meaning you could be charged up to £25 in fees alone if you spend 1,000 euros3. Using a debit card to withdraw cash overseas also typically comes with a cash handling fee of around 2%, or a minimum of £3. So if you use a cash machine five times while in Europe, withdrawing 200 euros a time, the fees would total around £424.

Despite this, more than half (56%) of travellers don’t know how much their debit card provider charges for purchases or cash withdrawals and almost 3 in ten (28%) couldn’t say how much they paid in fees last time they went away.

Global Money account holders can access 18 currency wallets through the app and order a multicurrency debit card.

Luggage fees, hotel excursions and room taxes are also some of the extra costs that are pushing the 9 in 10 travellers who have set a holiday budget over their spending limit. One in four Brits (25%) say they’ve gone over-budget by between £100-£300 on their holiday this year.

HSBC Global Money removes some of that unexpected spend making it easier to plan and stick to a budget.

Travel Journalist & Broadcaster, Simon Calder, says: “Like many travellers I’ve moved most of my holiday spending from cash to card over the past couple of years and with finances under pressure it is essential to keep track of your holiday spending – and avoid unnecessary transaction fees when paying by card.

“I’m all in favour of cutting complexity – and you can’t get simpler than ‘no fee’ when spending or withdrawing money from a local ATM. It all helps bring down the cost of a holiday, which is needed more than ever at the moment.”

Tom Wolfenden, Head of Retail at HSBC UK, said: “This year many people will be travelling internationally again, but with the rising cost of living they’ll also be keeping a close eye on their finances. The most popular way to spend abroad is with a debit card but traditionally, this incurs fees, and exactly what people are paying isn’t always clear.

“Customers should be able to manage their money whenever and wherever they want without worrying about fees. Global Money will do exactly that – making it easier for our customers to manage their spending so they can focus on enjoying their trip.”

Global Money is only available to HSBC customers. For more information visit: www.hsbc.co.uk/international/travel-money-card/


  1. Pay in local currency: When using your debit card abroad, make sure you choose to pay in local currency instead of GBP.
  2. Only withdraw what you need: If you are withdrawing money from a cash machine, only take out the amount you think you will need to avoid bringing leftover cash home with you.
  3. Don’t tip excessively. While 20% is the norm in the US, in many European nations service is included in menu prices.
  4. Renting a car? Avoid airport surcharges by taking public transport into the city and picking up a vehicle there.
  5. Take advantage of free public transport in locations such as Melbourne (free trams in the city centre) and Boston (free bus from the airport to downtown).

Media enquiries to:

Hannah Langston, HSBC UK Press Office: 07384 792 248 / hannah.langston@hsbc.com

Note to editors:

1Other non-HSBC fees may apply.

2 Research conducted by Censuswide on behalf of HSBC UK. Sample size was 2014 UK adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 2-6 September 2022. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

3Current average High St bank debit card charges for debit card payments abroad

Number of EUR 30 debit card transactions Total spend GBP Equivalent (based on Visa exchange rate of 0.877656018 on 6/10/22) 2.75% fee in GBP 2.99% fee in GBP Global Money Fee
5 transactions of EUR 30 € 150 £131.65 £3.62 £3.94 £0
10 transactions of EUR 30 € 300 £263.30 £7.24 £7.87 £0
20 transactions of EUR 30 € 600 £526.59 £14.48 £15.75 £0
30 transactions of EUR 30 € 900 £789.89 £21.72 £23.62 £0
50 transactions of EUR 30 € 1,500 £1,316.48 £36.20 £39.36 £0

4 Current average High St bank debit card charges for cash withdrawals abroad

Number of EUR 200 ATM debit card withdrawals Total spend GBP Equivalent (based on VISA exchange rate) 2.75% Fee + 2% cash handling fee Global Money Fee
1 transaction of EUR 200 € 200 £175.5 £8.34


3 transactions of EUR 200 € 600  £526.6 £25.0 £0 
5 transactions of EUR 200 € 1,000  £877.7 £41.7  £0

  Global Money (HSBC fees)
Ordering debit card £0
Debit card payments £0 
Withdrawing cash from cash machine abroad


Sending international payments £0 plus no intermediary bank fees 


HSBC UK serves over 14.75 million customers across the UK, supported by 24,000 colleagues. HSBC UK offers a complete range of retail banking and wealth management to personal and private banking customers, as well as commercial banking for small to medium businesses and large corporates.

HSBC Holdings plc

HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of HSBC, is headquartered in London. HSBC serves customers worldwide from offices in 63 countries and territories in its geographical regions: Europe, Asia, North America, Latin America, and Middle East and North Africa. With assets of US$2,985bn at 30 June 2022, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.