Winter vacation destinations in the sun where the pound goes the farthest

View of Naama Bay from the Sonesta Beach Hotel.  — Hans Georg Roth/Getty Images

View of Naama Bay from the Sonesta Beach Hotel. — Hans Georg Roth/Getty Images

Sun-seekers looking to escape the UK drizzle this winter can boost their holiday by choosing a destination where the pound is stronger.

After the economic turmoil in the UK last year, the pound continues to struggle with foreign currencies in many places where winter sunshine reigns.

However, holidaymakers looking to spend as much cash as possible can visit Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt, where the pound has surged 41 per cent against the local currency last year, according to calculations by debit card provider Currensea.

Winter sun lovers can book a return flight to Sharm el-Sheikh for just £70 in January, according to comparison site Skyscanner. The cheapest five-star resort listed on Expedia’s online travel store is £54 per person per night including breakfast. A Beach House with Sea View can cost as little as £34 a night.

A typical day of entertainment in Egypt is estimated to cost £212 per person per day, according to budgetyourtrip.com’s budget calculator. This includes entrance fees to museums and attractions, day trips and other sightseeing expenses.

The Blue Lagoon in Oludeniz has calm, crystal clear waters, which makes it ideal for various water sports and a very safe place for children to swim.  Part of the lagoon is now a protected area (and national park).  - Nick Brundle Photography/Getty Images

The Blue Lagoon in Oludeniz has calm, crystal clear waters, which makes it ideal for various water sports and a very safe place for children to swim. Part of the lagoon is now a protected area (and national park). – Nick Brundle Photography/Getty Images

Those who do not observe dry January can expect to spend very little on alcohol and eating out. Currensea calculated the average cost of a beer at 79p at today’s exchange rate and £18 for a meal for two. Taxis are also much cheaper in Sharm el-Sheikh, costing 16p per km.

Currensea’s James Lynn said: “British travelers can still secure an affordable holiday this winter, whether they’re looking for a value-for-money ski season in Bulgaria or winter sunshine in Turkey or Egypt.

“These economies have experienced devaluation of their currencies, which means spending by British travelers will be even greater.”

In the ranking of the warmest winter destinations based on the ratio of the pound to the local currency, No1 Currency travel agency ranked Oludeniz in Turkey just behind Egypt.

In 2022, the Turkish lira fell 25% against the pound. It was followed by Muscat, Oman (12%) and Tel Aviv, Israel (1%).

The Post Office report found that value for money was the best in Turkey, even though alcohol is a bit more expensive than other cheap places. A three-course evening meal for two has been calculated to average around £16, which is £3.50 cheaper than the next highest value destination.

He adds that a cup of filtered coffee in a bar would cost just 59p.

The flight time at four locations, including Sharm el-Sheikh, was between four and six hours.

Travelers looking to take a 10-hour flight with an 88 percent chance of 32-degree sun may also consider Goa, India, where the change in the local currency was just 0.93 percent.

Taken on December 17, 2022, from Hallgrimskirkja Church, a view of buildings in Reykjavik, Iceland, and Mount Esja (back) during a snowfall.  - The first snow began to fall and intensified on December 17, covering the capital of Iceland with white.  (Photo: Jeremie RICHARD/AFP) (Photo: JEREMIE RICHARD/AFP via Getty Images) - JEREMIE RICHARD/AFP via Getty Images

Taken on December 17, 2022, from Hallgrimskirkja Church, a view of buildings in Reykjavik, Iceland, and Mount Esja (back) during a snowfall. – The first snow began to fall and intensified on December 17, covering the capital of Iceland with white. (Photo: Jeremie RICHARD/AFP) (Photo: JEREMIE RICHARD/AFP via Getty Images) – JEREMIE RICHARD/AFP via Getty Images

However, currencies in other popular destinations have appreciated much more against the pound over the past year. While the average January temperature in the Dominican Republic can be 22°C (72°F), since 2021 the Dominican currency has appreciated by 12.5% ​​against the pound.

The story is very similar in America, where the dollar has risen 11 percent against the pound in the last 12 months. Holiday spending is also higher in the US than in most European destinations, according to the Post Office.

In Orlando, Florida, a typical three-course evening meal for two with a bottle of wine costs an average of £43.50 and a cup of coffee costs £1.87. Meanwhile, a bottle of beer costs £3.77 – more than eight times the equivalent price in Bulgaria.

Reykjavik in Iceland turned out to be the most expensive destination, followed by Barbados and Dubai. Post Office’s Nick Boden said there were “significant price increases” in some places, namely in Sri Lanka, where prices increased by 26 percent, and in Cancun, Mexico, by 22 percent.

Still, price declines since the pandemic have been much more pronounced, the report says.

The report said prices are now lower in two-thirds of destinations, with the biggest drop of more than 50% in Costa Rica.
Simon Phillips of No1 Currency has warned holidaymakers to take some local currency to winter hotspots as “cash is still king” in many places outside the EU.

He said: “Ordering foreign currency before you leave also gives you the chance to shop around for the best deals, ensuring you get the best return on your zloty – or euro – when you arrive.

“Never save your travel money until the last minute, as airport bureaux de change usually offer the lowest exchange rates.”

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