The thrifty way to holiday this summer

For almost two years the pandemic made foreign travel nigh on impossible. But now, as Covid restrictions around the world are lifted, the annual summer getaway is back on the cards.

Spending on holiday bookings was up more than four and a half times in the first two months of the year, compared with the same time last year. Holiday travel accounted for 7pc of all credit card spending, up from just 2pc last year, according to lender NewDay.

But families’ spending power has been severely limited by the worst cost of living crisis for a generation. Bigger energy bills, harsher taxes and the highest levels of inflation for thirty years have squeezed incomes and pushed up prices not just at home, but around the world.

So which of the most popular tourist destinations offer the best value for money today? Telegraph Money has analysed the figures, looking at the cost of flights, hotel stays food and entertainment in the most-loved holiday spots.

Trips to Turkey are particularly good value today, mainly because the country’s currency, the lira, has fallen to its lowest levels on record against the pound. At present, one pound is worth more than 19 lira. In July 2020, the exchange rate was one to eight. The country, already gripped by a financial crisis and also heavily dependent on wheat and energy imports from Ukraine and Russia, has been hit hard by the war.





Turunc Bays in Marmaris, Turkey. The lira is at an all time low making holidays much more affordable


Credit: nejdetduzen/iStockphoto

So while prices have risen in lira, a cup of coffee in the popular destination of Marmaris, on the south coast, now costs just 59p on average, according to the Post Office’s holiday costs barometer, which compares the prices of everyday local items. A three-course evening meal for two costs just £16 on average and a bottle of beer will set you back £1.50. It found that Turkey had the lowest cost of living ranking out of all destinations in pound terms.

However, the country, the 10th most popular holiday destination this year for British tourists according to travel agency trade body ABTA, is relatively expensive to get to. Flights cost £292 on average, while the average cost of a hotel room is £134 a night, according to data compiled for this newspaper by comparison site Kayak.

Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Portugal, are all cheaper to fly to even though they are the first, third, fourth, fifth and sixth most popular destinations respectively.

Spain and France had cheaper nightly hotel prices, according to the data, although the latter was just £1 a night cheaper than Turkey. Spain’s average nightly hotel price was just £121 a night, making accommodation £130 cheaper for a 10-night stay.

Spain also ranked well for everyday holiday expenses, rated as the sixth best value destination of out 36 locations in the Post Office’s barometer. France in comparison was one of the more costly destinations, ranking 26th. A three-course dinner for two, for example, costs almost £72.

Prices in Spain are rising faster than in other parts of the continent and are now almost 10pc higher than a year ago, compared with 5.1pc in France, 7pc in Italy, 7.2pc in Greece and 4.2pc in Portugal.

What’s more the purchasing power in all of these countries is limited because of the strong performance of the euro against the pound. £1 is currently worth around €1.18.





Puerta del Sol, Madrid. Spain has cheaper hotels but higher food and entertainment costs


Credit: Julian Elliott Photography/Stone RF

Tourists can get more for their money in America, where the pound is worth around $1.31. The cost of everyday items here is relatively low; less than in France, Greece and Italy. A meal for two costs just £67 in Orlando, Florida.

Naturally long haul flights to get there are costly, averaging £690, while hotels cost £187 a night on average. Travellers also need to account for the cost of purchasing a tourist visa to gain entry.

Holidaymakers must also remember all passengers boarding flights to the US, regardless of vaccination status, must show evidence of a negative test result no more than one day before travel. This applies to all children aged two and older.

From April, the Government will no longer provide Covid tests for free. Travellers will have to pay as much as £80 per person for the fastest PCR tests in a clinic. At-home PCR tests are cheaper, though slower, while standard lateral flow tests are the cheapest.

The European countries mentioned above do not require any testing for vaccinated travellers, just proof of vaccination which can be obtained in the form of a travel “Covid pass” from the NHS website or app. Travellers to Turkey must show the same proof and fill in a Covid health questionnaire 72 hours before they arrive.