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Cheapest places to go on holiday

[18th April 2008]

If you choose carefully where to go on holiday you can save a lot of money reveals the Post Office's Holiday Costs Barometer.

The falling value of the pound against the euro means that holidays to the eurozone are going to cost a lot more this year. But Spain is still the cheapest place to take a holiday among the EU member countries that have adopted the euro. The survey by the Post Office shows that Spain is up to 15% cheaper for tourist staples - such as suncream and drinks - than the most expensive euro destinations of France, Italy and Portugal.

Next cheapest eurozone holiday destination is Malta, where prices have risen since the country adopted the euro on 1st January but which is still the second cheapest country after Spain. In contrast Cyprus, which adopted the euro at the same time, is one of the more expensive resort areas in the Post Office survey. Allowing for the rise in value of the euro this year, prices have risen by 23% for tourist staples in Cyprus since it joined the EU.

For holidays in Europe travellers will get much better value for money by going outside the eurozone. Bulgaria is the cheapest European holiday destination, closely followed by Turkey. The survey shows that an evening meal out for two including wine in Turkey costs £30.14, which is at least 20% cheaper than in France, Greece, Italy or Portugal.

Holidays to the USA have also become far more affordable thanks to the strength of the pound against the dollar. The USA was rated the most expensive destination in the Post Office's 2007 survey, but is now the seventh cheapest of the 16 destinations covered. A bottle of Coca-Cola in Florida costs £1.60 compared to £2.94 in France. Another good value long haul holiday destination is South Africa, where the pound has risen more than 8% against the rand.

The cost of car hire is also compared and surprisingly Spain is found to be the most expensive at £58.87 for one day's rental. Italy is cheapest in the eurozone at £16.82; the cost in Florida is £28.06 and in Turkey £38.75.