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Families can save £000s on half term holidays by swapping destinations

Press Release   •   Oct 15, 2016 00:01 BST

 Saturday 15 October 2016

  • European half term breaks could cost families £1,570 but that could more than double to almost £3,600 depending on resort choice
  • Savings of over £4,000 to be made on family long haul trips
  • Costa del Sol is the best bet for a budget half term holiday
  • Swap the Canaries for Thailand as prices in Phuket beat those in Lanzarote

Families hoping to swap the UK autumn for a sunshine break abroad during half term will need to do their holiday homework to secure the best value, according to the Post Office Travel Money Half Term Barometer. Research by the UK’s largest provider of foreign currency into resort costs and package prices for half term getaways to 12 resorts worldwide has revealed that swapping destinations could save thousands of pounds.

As sterling fell in value again, Post Office Travel Money, which accounts for one-in-four UK currency transactions, is advising families looking for late availability deals to swap to a destination where both resort costs and package prices are low. By doing so, the Post Office research found that a family of four could more than halve their costs on a European trip to £1,570 (Costa del Sol) instead of £3,581 (Lanzarote) – saving over £2,000.

Travelling further afield to even warmer climes, the research revealed that families could save up to £4,402 by doing their homework. A week in Phuket cost £2,830 including meals and drinks while a trip to Cancun weighed in at over £7,231.

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “Short supply of packages to some half term destinations – among them Cancun and other Mexican resorts – has a lot to do with the high price of holidays but it is not the only factor.Once you multiply the daily cost of meals and drinks for a week, families can expect to add several hundred pounds to their holiday budget.That’s why it’s important to do the math and calculate the full cost before booking. There are still great bargains to be struck but canny travellers need to factor in all the costs.”

Top of the swaps

  • Meals, drinks and other tourist staples may be cheapest in the Algarve at £291 but Post Office Travel Money found that families can shave almost £200 off the total cost of their holiday by swapping to the Costa del Sol because the package price is almost £300 less.

    Costa del Sol: £1,570; The Algarve: £1,769

  • The October temperature is higher in the Eastern Med than in Portugal or Spain where Sliema in Malta (21º) pips Paphos (22º) for third place in the Post Office barometer table.The cost of tourist staples in Paphos (£428) is lower than in Sliema (£472) but the Cyprus package price is around £250 higher.

    Sliema: £2,448; Paphos: £2,653

  • In the Canary Islands swap Lanzarote (23º) for Tenerife ((22º).Higher package prices for Lanzarote over half term make it over £750 more expensive for a family week away.

    Tenerife: £2,830; Lanzarote: £3,581

  • Exotic holidays to long haul resorts can be cheaper than European breaks.Phuket in Thailand (28º) emerged as cheaper than either of the Canary Islands in the Post Office Travel Money survey – although only marginally more expensive than Tenerife.

    Phuket: £2,829; Tenerife: £2,830; Lanzarote: £3,581

  • The availability of cheap Dubai package prices - £1,663 for two adults and two children - make a week in Jumeirah Beach (29º) surprisingly inexpensive.In contrast, packages to Mombasa Beach (26º) in Kenya are over twice the price (£3,499) and in short supply this half term.Bargain-hunters can save over £1,000 by swapping Kenya for Dubai even though living costs are twice as high in the Emirate.

    Jumeirah Beach: £3,104; Mombasa Beach: £4,148

  • It is the same story in Cancun (27º), where the stronger pound has made the Mexican resort attractive this year.Prices for meals, drinks and other tourist items were found to be cheapest of the six long haul destinations surveyed but the high price of a package holiday (£6,667 for four) makes Cancun an expensive luxury for half term.Swapping to Punta Cana (27º) in the Dominican Republic can slash £1,500 off the holiday cost.

    Punta Cana: £5,728; Cancun: £7,231

  • Heading north from the Caribbean to Orlando (24º) can shave over £1,200 off the cost in Punta Cana.Both the package price and resort costs are cheaper in the theme park capital than in the Dominican Republic.

    Orlando: £4,480; Punta Cana: £5,728

    A wide range of currencies can be ordered at over 1,600 Post Office branches nationwide for next day collection while many long haul currencies are available immediately at over 1,600 larger Post Office branches.Euros and US dollars can also be ordered online at for same day collection at selected branches, for next day collection at any branch or home delivery.


    For more information, please contact:

    Gabrielle O’Gara Post Office Press Office0207 250 2534 / 07718 977702

    Notes to Editors:

    ¹The Post Office Travel Money Half Term Barometer is compiled from data supplied by National Tourist Offices, except Tenerife and Lanzarote (researched independently online) and Dubai, Dominican Republic and Mexico (provided by Travelbag). Holiday packages were sourced online (, ) based on the lowest available price for two adults and two children under 12, including flights from London on 22 or 23 October February and seven nights’ B&B or room-only based on three-star accommodation.

Spain Portugal Malta CyprusThailand Spain
Costa Del SolAlgarveSliemaPaphosPhuketTenerife
Cup of coffee(café/bar)£14.99£9.37£14.99£32.47£20.15£17.49
Bottle of beer/lager(café/bar)£12.49£7.49£13.74£15.61£12.59£11.87
Glass of wine(café/bar)£12.49£9.37£15.61£18.73£27.70£21.86
Bottle/can Coca-Cola(café/bar)£14.99£13.74£20.61£24.36£10.07£18.73
Bottle of still mineral water 1.5 litre (supermarket)£2.37£2.31£3.12£2.06£3.44£4.37
Suncream SPF15(supermarket)£4.42£7.18£9.77£6.24£3.78£10.08
Insect repellent 50ml(supermarket)£2.45£4.68£3.12£3.48£2.11£3.40
3 course family meal for four with bottle of wine/soft drinks£312.25£237.31£390.94£324.74£570.49£492.10
Total cost of living £376.45£291.45£471.90£427.69£650.33£579.90
One-week family package holiday (2adults and 2 children)£1,194.00£1,478.00£1,976.00£2,225.00£2,179.00£2,250.00
Dubai SpainKenya USA Dom RepMexico
Jumeirah BeachLanzaroteMombasa Beach OrlandoPunta CanaCancun
Cup of coffee(café/bar)£56.18£21.86£23.39£22.33£19.29£26.51
Bottle of beer/lager(café/bar)£78.03£15.61£14.62£27.91£16.71£9.64
Glass of wine(café/bar)£78.03£15.61£21.93£39.07£45.00£36.15
Bottle/can Coca-Cola(café/bar)£40.58£24.98£16.38£33.49£16.71£18.07
Bottle of still mineral water 1.5 litre (supermarket)£2.34£5.87£7.90£11.16£2.57£5.42
Suncream SPF15(supermarket)£15.61£10.08£11.70£6.38£6.43£8.22
Insect repellent 50ml(supermarket)£11.15£3.40£3.34£3.99£5.51£3.53
3 course family meal for four with bottle of wine/soft drinks£1,159.54£397.99£549.74£474.48£625.63£456.82
Total cost of living £1,441.46£495.41£649.00£618.82£737.85£564.37
One-week family package holiday (2 adults and 2 children)£1,663.00£3,086.00£3,499.00£3,861.00£4,990.00£6,667.00

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