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Best bargains for a New Year winter sun holiday

Press release   •   Dec 26, 2019 00:01 GMT

Overseas destinations that will give ‘more bang for your buck’

UK tourists taking a New Year break will get up to 11 per cent more cash year-on-year

Cyprus and Canary Isles top the chart for best value New Year holiday bargains

Orlando and Dubai are cheapest long haul destinations

Mauritius and Jamaica lead destinations where sterling is strongest – but their prices are highest among the 12 destinations surveyed

Despite falling in value since the General Election, sterling is stronger than a year ago and this will make a wide range of top winter sun destinations more affordable for people who want to escape to sunnier climes on a New Year break. Research by Post Office Travel Money reveals that UK holidaymakers will find their travel cash stretching up to 11 per cent further than last December in 10 of the 12 destinations it surveyed1, with the best bargains in the Eastern Med and Canary Islands.

Cyprus was the lowest-priced of 12 winter sun favourites2. Not only has sterling risen 6.6 per cent year-on-year against the euro to make resort costs cheaper, but package prices are also low. In early January this means a seven-night holiday in Paphos, including flights, three star B&B accommodation, drinks and evening meals, will cost £482 per person.

Prices in the Canary Islands were over 10 per cent higher than in Cyprus but they still took second and third places in the Post Office survey. Tenerife was second cheapest at £538 and Lanzarote was only marginally more expensive at £553.

Further afield, UK tourists visiting most long haul destinations will also get more for their money. Post Office Travel Money compared the same holiday costs in nine long haul holiday resorts and found that Orlando (£868) was the cheapest option for a New Year getaway. After sterling’s gains since its summer low, the US dollar is now worth 6.3 per cent less against the pound year-on-year, while local meal and drinks prices remain at 2018 levels. Competitive pricing means the world’s theme park capital is a bargain bet for a week away.

Dubai emerges from the survey as the cheapest long haul beach resort at £1,081 per person for a week’s holiday. Like Orlando, the Emirate benefited from the low cost of a one-week holiday package in early January. However, despite the fact that sterling currently buys 4.5 per cent more UAE dirham than a year ago, meals and drinks in Dubai were the most expensive of the 12 destinations surveyed at £392 per person. Visitors to Dubai might therefore, says Post Office Travel Money, be better off choosing an all-inclusive resort.

Nick Boden, Head of Post Office Travel Money, the UK’s largest foreign exchange provider, accounting for one-in-four currency transactions, said: “Sterling is now much stronger than in the summer and that spells good news for holidaymakers. Compared with a year ago, UK tourists visiting almost every country worldwide can expect to get more foreign cash for their pounds and in Europe this currently equates to £31 extra for every £500 changed into euros.

“However, our latest research makes it clear that there are big price variations between long and short haul holiday destinations so it is a good idea to do some homework before booking to check for the best value packages and the lowest resort costs.

Mauritius and Jamaica lead the long haul destinations where sterling will stretch furthest but these were also the most expensive destinations in the survey. The Mauritius rupee has dipped 11 per cent against sterling since last December, which means visitors changing £500 into rupees will have the equivalent of £59 extra cash to spend. However, the higher cost of airfares means a week’s holiday in Grand Baie, Mauritius, with evening meals and drinks included, will cost £1,375 per person, over twice as much as a eurozone winter break.

Although the Jamaican dollar has weakened over eight per cent against sterling year-on-year, a week in Montego Bay was most expensive of the 12 destinations at £1,758 per person. Limited accommodation availability was a factor in the high cost. By contrast, a week in Rodney Bay, St Lucia was 27 per cent cheaper at £1,282 per person.

One destination whose currency remains stronger against sterling – by 4.1 per cent year-on-year - is Thailand. However, while local meal and drinks costs for one week in Phuket are over £100 more than in Bali, the lower holiday package price makes Thailand (£1,096) almost £78 lower than in Bali (£1,174).

Sri Lanka (£1,138) was also moderately-priced among the long haul resorts surveyed by the Post Office, with sterling stretching 4.8 per cent. Prices in Cancun were slightly higher (£1,174) because sterling is 1.3 per cent weaker against Mexico’s peso than last December.

Nick Boden added: “For holidaymakers planning trips abroad later in 2020, our advice is to keep a close eye on sterling rate movements and load holiday money onto a Post Office Travel Money Card at times when rates are best.”

The Post Office is the UK’s leading provider of foreign currency, offering euro on demand at over 9,000 branches and US dollars at over 3,500 branches. They can also be ordered online at for same day ‘click and collect’ at selected branches, for next day collection at any branch or for home delivery. 1,600 larger Post Office Branches stock 30 leading currencies while up to 80 currencies can be pre-ordered at over 11,500 branches or online at for next day branch or home delivery. 

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