- Stronger sterling gives UK tourists up to 28 per cent more travel cash than a year ago
- Egypt is bargain-hunters’ best bet – well under half the price of most holiday competitors
- West beats East for long haul value: USA, Mexico and Caribbean cheaper than Far East
Spur of the moment post-Christmas holiday bookings to escape the turkey, the relatives and the rain have become a tradition – but the latest research by Post Office® Travel Money has revealed that UK holidaymakers will find it easier to bag a New Year bargain if they choose a destination where the exchange rate is in their favour. Depending where they visit, the power of the pound could put up to 28 per cent more spending money in sun-seekers’ pockets.
Sterling will stretch furthest of all on long haul trips to Bali or South Africa because their currencies have slumped by well over 20 per cent. However, Egypt will be the best bet for bargain-hunters in January at almost a third the price. Not only is the pound over 12 per cent stronger against the Egyptian pound than a year ago, but Red Sea resort holidays are far cheaper than other winter sunspots. The reason for the unparalleled package price value is that tour operators are offering great deals to attract UK tourists to Egypt now that it is back on the holiday radar1.
When Post Office Travel Money surveyed one week Travelbag package prices, resort meal costs and exchange rates in 10 winter sun destinations, it found that Sharm el-Sheikh cost less than half as much as in mid haul competitor Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach - £399 compared with £983. What is more, sterling’s strength gives tourists £55 more Egyptian pounds on a £500 exchange transaction, which compares favourably with only £3 more in UAE dirham.
7-night Travelbag holiday plus 7 evening meals2
How much the £ buys
Dec 13 vs. Dec 12
How much £500 buys
Dec 13 vs. Dec 12
Egypt: Sharm el-Sheikh
Mexico: Playa del Carmen
Dominican Republic: Punta Cana
South Africa: Cape Town
At £719 per person, Orlando is also great value for UK holidaymakers. A seven-night holiday in Florida’s theme park capital with evening meals included costs £180 less than a week on the beach in Playa del Carmen (Mexico), which is priced at £899 per person.
However, both these resort areas – together with Negril (Jamaica) and Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) – emerge as better value than the three Far Eastern destinations surveyed. Penang (Malaysia) was most expensive of the 10 winter sun destinations at £1,314 per person for the one week holiday with evening meals, costing 83 per cent more than Orlando. Phuket (Thailand) was three times as expensive as Sharm el-Sheikh (£1,196).
The Indonesian island of Bali was marginally cheaper, priced at £1,172 per person for the one week holiday. It was the lowest-priced of the three Far East destinations surveyed - with the added benefit of a weak rupiah which gives UK tourists over £108 more spending money for every £500 exchanged compared with a year ago. Only Cape Town comes close to offering as much extra cash – around £91 more for £500 changed into South African rand.
Paul Havenhand, Post Office Head of Travel, said: “Egypt’s Red Sea resorts have always been a good value option but it’s not just Sharm el-Sheikh where sun-seekers will find their pounds stretch further. Sterling currently buys more holiday cash in all 10 of our January hotspots, with the biggest benefits to be found in Cape Town and Bali.
“Holidaymakers can make sure they get the best value by doing their holiday homework before booking to see how the overall costs stack up. Plan holiday spending carefully and take enough cash to avoid transaction charges on most credit cards or changing money for a poor rate at a UK airport or ATM abroad. Remember too that transactions over £500 or £1,000 from Post Office branches or online at postoffice.co.uk will get an even better rate.”
Rianne Ojeh of Travelbag said: “Package prices in early January are significantly more competitive than over the festive period, so now is the time to beat the post-Christmas blues and snap up a last minute break. Egypt is unbeatable value at the moment, but holidays to Orlando are also exceptionally good value and Mexico remains the best option for a five-star all inclusive experience without a hefty price tag.”
Holidaymakers can purchase US dollars over the counter at more than 4,000 Post Office branches while 70+ currencies can be pre-ordered at over 11,500 Post Office branches or online at postoffice.co.uk for next day branch or home delivery.
For more information, please contact:
Gabrielle O’Gara Post Office Press Office
020 7012 3456 / 07436 03409
Christine Ball CBPR
01798 874177 / 07976 285997
¹ The Foreign & Commonwealth Office relaxed its advice against all but essential travel to most parts of Egypt in November. However, the Red Sea resorts of Sharm El Sheikh, Hurgada, El Gouna and others were never part of this advice – although affected by it. Post Office Travel Money saw a big drop in sales of the Egyptian pound in the summer months but sales are recovering and are up seven per cent year-on-year in November 2013.
2 January package prices were provided by Travelbag (0845 543 6615 travelbag.co.uk), based on the lowest available holiday from London, departing 1-8 January 2014. All packages were accurate at the time of research and are based on two adults sharing, including accommodation, return flights and transfers (except USA, excluding transfers). Evening meal prices were taken from the Post Office Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer, except for Dominican Republic, Egypt and Mexico, where All Inclusive package prices are quoted.
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