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Holidaymakers choosing the Algarve or Costas will be quids in

22nd April 2013 Print

Despite the pounding taken by sterling this year against the euro, holidaymakers planning trips to a European hotspot may find their holiday cash stretches further than expected because prices have plummeted in many popular resorts.  Although sterling is worth 4.5 per cent less than in April 2012, this year’s Post Office Holiday Costs Barometer reveals that prices are down by up to 20 per cent in Spain and almost 15 per cent in the Algarve.

In a close-run race, Portugal just pipped Spain to the top spot in the seventh annual Post Office Travel Money barometer, thanks to low prices for meals and drinks.  However, the 10 holiday items cost just 16p less in the Algarve (£46.34) than in Torremolinos on the Costa del Sol (£46.50) and only 80p less than in Javea, on the Costa Blanca (£47.14). 

Tumbling resort prices in the Costas – down 19 per cent year-on-year in the Costa del Sol and 20 per cent in the Costa Blanca – helped Spain move to within a few pence of Portugal.  Sunny Beach, Bulgaria (£47.32) fell to fourth place in the table because of a 3.4 per cent rise in local resort prices but remains within 98p of top-placed Albufeira in the Algarve. 

Fierce competition to attract back UK holidaymakers put a gap of £8-9 between the top four resorts and fifth-placed Majorca (£55.46), where prices have fallen 8.8 per cent in a year.

In the USA, even though sterling is 4.1 per cent weaker than last year against the dollar, holidaymakers heading to Orlando, Florida will find prices much lower in the theme park capital.  10 typical holiday purchases surveyed for the Holiday Costs Barometer - a three-course meal, cup of coffee, bottle of beer, glass of wine, soft drink, bottled water, suncream, insect repellent, cigarettes and newspaper – cost 21.2 per cent less than in 2012 (£58.16).

Sun-seekers will also be quids in if they choose the Egyptian resort of Sharm el Sheikh because prices are over 17 per cent lower than a year ago (£62.83).  Egypt was the only country surveyed where sterling has strengthened this year – by 10.2 per cent – and a 9.4 per cent drop in local Red Sea resort prices will help boost that benefit.  Egypt’s mid-haul competitor Dubai, highest-priced in the survey (£103.23) was 64 per cent more expensive.

Prices have also fallen, by 5.2 per cent, in Split (£70.84), a strong incentive for the increasing numbers of UK holidaymakers now choosing Croatia.  The destination’s growing popularity led to an increase of over 40 per cent in Post Office Croatian kuna sales last year.

Although resort prices have fallen by around six per cent in Corfu, Greece (£64.45) – equating to an overall drop of 1.7 per cent once the sterling-euro exchange rate is factored in, the barometer basket was 8.7 per cent cheaper in Marmaris, Turkey (£58.84).  However, people who choose to holiday in Bodrum, another popular Turkish resort, will find themselves paying over 53 per cent more for the same holiday items (£90.15).

Similarly, visitors to the Balearic island of Menorca (£88.22) can expect to pay 59 per cent more than in neighbouring Majorca (£55.46). The high cost of eating out – over double the price of a three-course meal with drinks in Majorca – accounted for most of the difference.

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “The pound may be worth less in Europe than a year ago but fierce competition means that lower prices in several of the resorts we surveyed can easily offset the falling value of sterling.  Taking some time to check out resort costs and add them to package prices to find the best overall deal will pay dividends this summer.  This really is the year to do some ‘sterling’ work before booking a holiday: be prepared to swap destination or switch to a cheaper resort within the same country.”

Barometer prices were uniformly high in Italy. Tuscany (£94.92) and Sorrento (£101.79) were the most expensive European resorts surveyed for the barometer - over twice the price of the four best value destinations.

In the UK neither Blackpool (£65.96) nor Bournemouth (£78.01) made it into the top half of the barometer.  However, bargain-hunters staying in the UK this year will find the North Country favourite 15 per cent cheaper than the south coast resort.

Andrew Brown said: “With the continuing volatility of sterling, holidaymakers should budget carefully and take enough spending money to cover all the costs they are likely to incur while abroad.  Running out of cash and having to use an overseas ATM or pay on a card that incurs extra charges could pack an unpleasant punch when the bank or credit card statement arrives.  Allow time to buy foreign currency before leaving home because changing money at the airport means losing out by getting a poor rate.” 

Currencies for the destinations surveyed are among 25 available on demand at 1,600 larger Post Office branches, while over 4,000 branches offer US dollars and Turkish lira and 10,000 offer euro over the counter.  More than 70 currencies can be pre-ordered at over 11,500 Post Office branches or online at for next day branch or home delivery.

For those people planning to pay by card on their trip abroad, the Post Office Travel Money Card offers customers a secure and convenient way to pre-pay and carry their holiday money.  A chip and PIN-enabled Mastercard, the Travel Money Card is available in euro, US dollars and six other currencies.  Alternatively, the Post Office Credit Card charges 0 per cent commission for all purchases made overseas.