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Families who do half term holiday homework will bag the best deals

Press Release   •   Oct 16, 2017 15:42 BST

Costa del Sol is best for a half term holiday: almost half the cost of Lanzarote

Sterling now stronger than a year ago when it sunk to its lowest level in 2016 - with some of the biggest gains against long haul holiday currencies

Dubai is cheapest for a long haul break: Kenya costs around 50 per cent more

Families hoping to swap the UK autumn weather for a sunshine break abroad at half term will need to weigh up whether low cost or a guarantee of sunshine is more important to them, according to new research comparing costs in six European and six long haul resorts. The Post Office Travel Money Half Term Barometer reveals that Spain and Portugal are cheapest¹ – but cooler - for a week away but the rising value of sterling in long haul destinations and warmer temperatures will make these a tempting option.

In fact the Post Office says that sterling’s recent gains have made it stronger than a year ago against many top holiday currencies, so half term holidaymakers will have extra cash to spend in any of the 12 sunshine resorts surveyed². However, low resort costs for a week’s meals and drinks combined with cheap late availability package prices make Spain’s Costa del Sol the best value. At £1,775 for a half term week for a family of four, the Costa del Sol was almost half the cost researched for Lanzarote (£3,319), the most expensive European resort.

Portugal’s Algarve coast is almost as cheap as the Costa del Sol with just £30 dividing the two family favourites. At £1,805 for two adults and two children, prices in the Algarve are also 25 per cent cheaper than in third-placed Marmaris (£2,407). However, the Post Office says families visiting Turkey will benefit from sterling’s rise of 29 per cent against the Turkish lira. Visitors will get over £113 extra when changing £500 into lira, compared with a year ago.

Sterling has also risen 1.7 per cent against the euro compared with last October when it was at a 2016 low but its far bigger rise against the Turkish lira means Marmaris looks better value than another Eastern Med favourite, Cyprus. Families visiting Paphos (£2,751) will pay over 14 per cent more than in Marmaris for a week’s holiday including meals and drinks.

In the Canary Islands, another popular family choice for half term breaks, Tenerife looks a cheaper option than Lanzarote. The holiday package and basket of eight tourist essentials – family meals with drinks, coffee, beer, wine and soft drinks for a week together with insect repellent and suncream – costs £2,780 in Tenerife, 16 per cent less than in Lanzarote.

For families who want to travel further, longer flights may make long haul destinations more expensive than Europe, but temperatures are likely to be around 28˚-29˚ compared with 19˚-23˚ in Europe. And sterling has gained more ground over the past year against long haul currencies than against most European ones, according to the Post Office, which accounts for one-in-four UK currency transactions.

The cheapest longer haul half term option for families is Dubai, where the UAE dirham is currently over eight per cent weaker than a year ago. At £3,019 for a family of four in Jumeirah Beach, prices are far lower than in most of the long haul resorts surveyed. Mombasa, Kenya, the most expensive destination at £4,479, costs almost 50 per cent more.

Thailand is almost as cheap as Dubai at £3,032 for a family week away in Phuket. That is at least a third less than in Montego Bay, Jamaica (£4,032), Penang, Malaysia (4,161), Rodney Bay, St Lucia (£4,401) or Mombasa. However, holidaymakers will find their pounds stretch between 8.4 per cent (Malaysia) and 10.3 per cent (Kenya) further than a year ago in these four destinations – putting £39-£47 extra in the holiday purse for visitors to these countries. Compared with this, sterling is only one per cent stronger against the Thai baht.

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “Our research shows how important it is for families to check all costs when it comes to choosing a last-minute half term destination. The combination of low resort costs and cheap packages make the Costa del Sol best value overall, but with holiday prices changing all the time, it will be worth checking up on package prices for the Algarve and Marmaris before booking as these destinations are also cheap.

“Further afield the improving value of sterling is a definite bonus for sun-seekers and both Dubai and Thailand have prices to rival the Canary Islands and Cyprus.

“Travelling at half term may be a last-minute decision but there are still ways that families can plan ahead, like checking the cost of items they expect to pay for in resorts in advance and organising foreign currency before leaving home to avoid getting a poor rate at the airport.”

The Post Office is the UK’s leading provider of foreign currency, offering euro on demand at over 10,000 branches. Euros can also be ordered online at for same day ‘click and collect’ at almost 3,000 branches or for home delivery/next day collection at any Post Office branch. 1,600 larger Post Office Branches stock 30 leading currencies while up to 80 can be pre-ordered at over 11,500 branches or online at for next day branch or home delivery.


For more information, please contact:

Joanne Leahy Post Office Press Office 07791 894469

Christine Ball CBPR 01798 874177 / 07976 285997

Notes to Editors:

¹ The Post Office Travel Money Half Term Barometer is based on exchange rates on 11 October 2017 and compiled from data supplied by National Tourist Offices, except Tenerife and Lanzarote (researched independently online). Holiday packages were sourced online (, ) based on the lowest available price for two adults and two children under 12, including flights from London on 21 or 22 October and seven nights’ B&B based on three-star accommodation. See tables overleaf.


Spain Portugal Turkey Cyprus Spain Dubai
Costa Del Sol Algarve Marmaris Paphos Tenerife Jumeirah Beach
Cup of coffee (café/bar) £16.63 £8.95 £20.68 £25.58 £20.46 £36.42
Bottle of beer/lager (café/bar) £12.79 £7.03 £15.05 £15.99 £12.15 £59.18
Glass of wine (café/bar) £12.79 £7.99 £18.25 £28.78 £22.38 £68.29
Bottle/can Coca-Cola (café/bar) £15.35 £16.63 £20.98 £31.97 £19.18 £21.25
Bottle of still mineral water 1.5 litre (supermarket) £2.43 £1.28 £3.04 £1.92 £3.90 £2.66
Suncream SPF15 (supermarket) £4.52 £3.92 £7.60 £7.17 £4.28 £8.51
Insect repellent 50ml (supermarket) £2.51 £5.29 £3.31 £4.74 £3.48 £5.42
3 course family meal for4 with bottle of wine/soft drinks £288.71 £346.58 £475.94 £446.65 £409.24 £966.66
Total cost of living £355.72 £397.67 £564.86 £562.80 £495.09 £1,168.39
One week family package holiday (2 x adults and 2 x children) £1,419.00 £1,407.00 £1,842.46 £2,188.40 £2,285.00 £1,851.00
TOTAL £1,774.72 £1,804.67 £2,407.32 £2,751.20 £2,780.09 £3,019.39
Thailand Spain Jamaica Malaysia Saint Lucia Kenya
Phuket Lanzarote Montego Bay Penang Rodney Bay Mombasa Beach
Cup of coffee (café/bar) £20.40 £22.38 £29.59 £36.98 £26.63 £18.96
Bottle of beer/lager (café/bar) £12.75 £15.99 £26.74 £36.31 £12.78 £14.50
Glass of wine (café/bar) £30.60 £15.99 £29.86 £40.34 £42.61 £22.86
Bottle/can Coca-Cola (café/bar) £10.20 £25.58 £27.19 £18.83 £14.91 £17.84
Bottle of still mineral water 1.5 litre (supermarket) £3.40 £2.43 £7.58 £4.03 £15.34 £3.62
Suncream SPF15 (supermarket) £4.37 £4.28 £15.60 £11.29 £11.05 £8.76
Insect repellent 50ml (supermarket) £2.43 £3.48 £4.12 £2.29 £4.27 £0.68
3 course family meal for4 with bottle of wine/soft drinks £679.96 £457.84 £561.77 £540.05 £654.03 £489.56
Total cost of living £764.11 £547.97 £702.45 £690.12 £781.62 £576.78
One week family package holiday (2 x adults and 2 x children) £2,268.00 £2,771.00 £3,330.00 £3,471.27 £3,619.00 £3,902.15
TOTAL £3,032.11 £3,318.97 £4,032.45 £4,161.39 £4,400.62 £4,478.93
²Post Office Travel Money comparison of exchange rates in October 2017 compared with October 2016:
Currency % 2017 v 2016 October 2017 October 2016 £500 buys +/-
Turkish lira +29.3% 4.6035 3.5602 +£113.32
Kenyan shilling +10.3% 125.5401 144.4631 +£46.84
East Caribbean dollar +9.1% 3.2858 3.0128 +£41.54
Jamaican dollar +8.7% 157.0653 113.7790 +£40.12
Malaysian ringgit +8.4% 5.2054 4.2610 +£38.92
UAE dirham +8.3% 4.6138 4.8001 +£38.13
Euro +1.7% 1.0947 1.0766 +£8.27
Thai baht +1.0% 41.1788 40.7779 +£4.87

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