The value of sterling has dipped against most European currencies, making travel further afield more of a bargain, according to the latest Post Office Money survey.
Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “Although holidaymakers visiting the eurozone will still get over £42 more to spend if they change £500, the same outlay will give them far more bang for their buck in many of the most popular resorts further afield – in some cases more than £100 extra. If you haven’t already booked and are looking for a holiday bargain, it makes sense to do some homework to see where the pound will pack the most powerful punch because resort costs can have a big impact on the family purse.”
Sterling’s biggest gain has been against the Brazilian real, which has lost over 25 per cent of its value in the past three months and more than 58 per cent year-on-year. That means UK tourists taking a trip to Rio will pocket £185 more on a £500 currency purchase than a year ago.
Savvy travellers will also be ‘quids in’ on a holiday in Malaysia where sterling has surged 25 per cent year-on-year. Since July alone, the Malaysian ringgit has weakened by 10 per cent and UK tourists will currently pocket around £100 more than a year ago when changing £500 into holiday cash. Once they reach Malaysia’s most popular resort, Penang, lower prices in restaurants and shops mean cash will stretch even further. The latest Post Office Travel Money Long Haul Barometer reveals a 35 per cent saving on meals, drinks and other tourist items.
It is the same story in Kenya where sterling has surged 11 per cent against the Kenyan shilling over the past 12 months, giving UK tourists almost £50 more for their £500 currency transaction. Add to that a nine per cent drop in local prices and tourists can expect to pay 20 per cent less once they get to the beach in Mombasa.
Cancun in Mexico has long been a hotspot for bargain-hunting families and an 18.5 per cent fall in the value of the Mexican peso means half term holidaymakers get £78 more when they change £500, compared with this time last year. Other destinations flagged up by Post Office Travel Money as good value include South Africa where the rand has fallen 14.6 per cent year-on-year; Mauritius, where the rupee has weakened by 8.9 per cent; Bali, where the Indonesian rupiah is down 7.6 per cent and Thailand, where the baht is worth at least five per cent less.
People planning trips during the Christmas holidays to Australia will also reap the benefit of a much stronger pound. Sterling’s 17 per cent rise in value means almost £73 extra to spend when changing £500 into Australian dollars. Post Office Travel Money says that Australian dollar sales have risen 21 per cent in the year to date, suggesting that awareness of the powerful pound has encouraged people to travel ‘down under’.
But it is not all plain sailing for the pound. Holidaymakers travelling to resorts in the USA and Caribbean will get fewer US and Caribbean dollars because the pound has fallen in value by just under two per cent against the US currency and around three per cent against Caribbean ones since this time last year. The best Caribbean bet is the Dominican Republic where sterling is up two per cent year-on-year and resort prices in Punta Cana have dropped. This means visitors will pay around 7.5 per cent less on tourist staples researched by Post Office Travel Money.
In Dubai, whose currency, the UAE dirham, ‘floats’ alongside the US dollar, sterling has fallen in value by 2.9 per cent. Prices in Dubai are also 75 per cent higher than in Sharm El Sheikh, according to the Post Office Travel Money Long Haul Holiday Barometer. A 14 per cent meal price fall in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt adds to the benefit of a smaller 6.9 per cent rise in sterling’s value against the Egyptian pound. As a result, holidaymakers can expect to pay around £100 for meals, drinks and other tourist staples, compared with almost £175 in Jumeriah, Dubai.