Hitting the Boxing Day sales is a long-standing post-Christmas tradition but so too is trying to grab a last minute holiday deal to escape the winter weather and leftover turkey. However, the latest research by Post Office Travel Money reveals that while sterling is still riding high against some currencies, it has dipped against others. This means that holidaymakers need to do their homework to ensure they bag the best New Year bargain.
Bargain hunters will find the lowest-priced packages in eurozone winter sun resorts. Lower airfares mean cheaper packages and a 5.5 per cent rise in sterling’s value against the euro will put £27 extra cash in holidaymakers’ pockets on a £500 currency purchase. In a close run competition between Tenerife, Lanzarote and Cyprus, a seven-night Lanzarote package with evening meals in resort restaurants costs £278 per person, £6 less than in Paphos.
Further afield, Post Office Travel Money says that sun-seekers should compare exchange rates now and two years ago before sterling started to surge in value to see how far their pounds will stretch. Although packages are more expensive, UK tourists will have the bonus of 30 per cent more cash to spend in South Africa and 33 per cent more in Japan as their currencies fall in value. This means over £117-£121 extra on a £500 currency purchase.
On price alone Egypt is the best value long haul option at £408pp for a week in Sharm-el-Sheikh. Although sterling is worth two per cent less against the Egyptian pound than a year ago, keenly-priced packages make it cheapest of eight long haul destinations surveyed.
|1 year comparison Dec 2014 vs. Dec 2013||2 year comparison Dec 2014 vs. Dec 2012|
|Destination||7-night package plus 7 evening meals¹||How much the £ buys||How much £500 buys||How much £500 buys|
|Canary Islands: Lanzarote||£278||+5.5%||+£26.00||+£16.40|
|Canary Islands: Tenerife||£309||+5.5%||+£26.00||+£16.40|
|Thailand: Hua Hin||£745||-5.2%||-£27.21||+£24.58|
|South Africa: Cape Town||£929||+3.6%||+£17.58||+£117.04|
|Caribbean: Dominican Rep.||£967||-1.0%||-£5.28||+£33.44|
In the Caribbean, a 20 per cent upturn in the value of sterling over two years puts almost £85 more Jamaican dollars in the pockets of UK tourists, making Jamaica (£869pp) a cheaper bet than the Dominican Republic. At £967pp, a seven-night holiday including evening meals costs almost £100 more in the Dominican Republic and holidaymakers will also get marginally fewer Dominican peso oro for their cash.
The same applies in Thailand and the USA where sterling is worth 5.2 per cent less against the baht and 4.7 per cent less against the dollar year-on-year. However, both these destinations rate as good value because of lower-priced holiday packages to resorts like Hua Hin (£745pp including evening meals) and Orlando (£750pp including evening meals).
Mexico is another strong contender because the pound is worth over six per cent more than a year ago while Cancun packages and resort costs remain low for UK holidaymakers. A one week trip will cost £760pp in January and visitors will have £30 more to spend in Mexican pesos than a year ago on a £500 currency transaction.
Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “Although European winter sun holidays are unbeatable on price, the Red Sea resort of Sharm-el-Sheikh is also great value with packages pegged at 2013 levels to make them a compelling proposition for bargain hunters.
“Further afield, the continuing strength of sterling against currencies for some of the most popular long haul beach destinations will make these attractive to wallet watchers as well -particularly in Mexico and Jamaica where the pound has risen in value recently.”
The Post Office is the UK’s leading provider of foreign currency, offering euro on demand at over 10,000 branches and US dollars at 4,000 branches. 1,600 larger Post Office Branches stock 30 leading currencies while more than 70 can be pre-ordered at over 11,500 branches or online at postoffice.co.uk/travel for next day branch or home delivery.
Holidaymakers can also use the Post Office Travel Essentials Mobile App to buy currency using their mobile phone as well as check the value of their holiday money and see how far it will stretch on typical tourist staples for the country they are visiting. The Mobile App is available to download free of charge on the App Store or at Google Play.
Notes to Editors:
¹Package prices were sourced online from Hayes & Jarvis, Travel Supermarket, Thomas Cook, Travelbag and Virgin Holidays. Prices are based on the lowest available package holiday from London, departing 1-8 January 2015. All prices were accurate at the time of research and are per person based on two adults sharing, including accommodation and return flights. Evening meal prices were taken from the Post Office Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer, except for Mexico, where an All Inclusive package price is quoted.
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