Half term sun-seekers will get most for their money in Spain – even though sterling buys only the same number of euros as last year, compared with 27 per cent more Turkish lira and 21 per cent more Kenyan shillings. Research by Post Office® Travel Money for its Half Term Holiday Costs Barometer puts the Costa del Sol at the top of the value table for half term family trips – less than half the cost of Miami, highest-priced resort in the survey.
In its barometer of 10 typical tourist items for 12 of the most popular half term holiday destinations, the Post Office found that prices remained cheapest in the Costa del Sol – £59.58 – despite a 15 per cent increase caused by rising family meal costs. Tenerife, a winter sun favourite, was most expensive of four Eurozone resorts (£110.56) surveyed – costing 86 per cent more than in the Costa del Sol.
While families visiting Turkey or Kenya will have extra cash in their pockets after their currencies dipped dramatically against sterling compared with a year ago, they will have to pay out more of this than might be expected for meals and drinks. This is because Post Office research revealed that local prices have risen by 12 per cent in both countries. Nonetheless, the surge for sterling means that Turkey is 12 per cent cheaper and Kenya seven per cent lower-priced than in October 2010.
Orlando, included for the first time this year, took fourth place in the Post Office Half Term Barometer table. Even though the value of sterling has dipped to a 2011 low against the dollar in recent weeks, Florida’s family favourite emerged as good value for bargain-hunters with the second lowest-priced family meal. The same 10 items cost 76 per cent more in Miami – £138.87 compared with £78.77 in Orlando.
Thailand was again the cheapest mid/long haul destination and second-only in the survey to Spain at £69.67 for the holiday basket. Hard-hit after its revolution earlier in 2011, Egypt moved up to third place, registering a 10 drop in prices (£75.99).
But families planning a staycation in the UK and hoping for a re-emergence of the Indian summer may find Brighton’s prices more expensive than expected. At £88.31, Brighton’s barometer basket put the south coast destination in ninth of 12 places in the table – 48 per cent more expensive than Spain.
Sarah Munro, Post Office Head of Travel Money, said: “Price is bound to be a big consideration so it is good to report falling prices in five of the destinations that attract UK families. Sterling’s rise against the Kenyan shilling and Turkish lira and its relative stability against the euro is also a welcome trend for hard-pressed families.
“However, in these uncertain times people would be wise to plan their trips carefully and make sure they are fully protected. A package taken with a well-established and ATOL-protected tour operator, together with comprehensive travel insurance, is probably the safest bet. Families can also avoid wasting cash through expensive last minute airport currency purchases and can cut costs abroad by using a credit card like the Post Office card with 0 per cent commission on purchases overseas.”
Over 8,500 Post Office branches stock euros for sale over the counter without pre-order. 1,600 branches offer a wider range of currencies on demand, including the Egyptian pound, Thai baht and UAE dirham, while the US dollar and Turkish lira are available at an additional 2,600. Other currencies, including the Kenyan shilling, can be pre-ordered for collection or home delivery at 11,800 Post Office branches or online at postoffice.co.uk where a range of travel insurance policies are also available.