Money | Are travel vouchers really worth it?

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Buying vouchers for travel lovers is the most obvious gift. That is until the recipient runs into all sorts of obstacles and issues when trying to use it.

Yes, vouchers may be the ‘lazy’ present to buy your loved ones but it’s the most practical gift for those that are frequent travellers, or if they are planning a trip in the future.

Buying them is the easy part, using them is proving something of a difficulty.

Most airlines, for example, only let you redeem the voucher in the currency that it is issued in. So while it is nice to buy a voucher for someone abroad, such as Canada, they will be booking it in Canadian dollar and so cannot use your Euro-purchased voucher.

Most airline vouchers are also only valid for 12 months after the issue date. They cannot be extended, despite what many people believe.

There tends to be an administration fee attached to the voucher, and this ranges from €2 to €10. The recipient’s name has to be entered on the voucher and it is only they can travel with it. You cannot change the name on a booking if you are paying with a voucher.

Most gift vouchers cannot be used as part of a group booking and you also do not receive a refund if there is a remaining balance. If there is any credit remaining on redemption of the voucher, it can be used towards future flight purchases until the credit balance reaches zero within the original validity period.

Some airlines, such as Aer Lingus, only let you use one voucher per booking. Ryanair, however, allows a maximum of four. If the total flight price exceeds the value of the gift voucher(s) any price difference has to be paid with credit/debit card, or with PayPal.