Many Brits will have been struggling to find the surplus cash to pay for a summer getaway over the last few years. But if you are determined to take a sunshine break in 2013, the good news is that there are bargains to be had if you know where to look.
Here's our round-up of the beach holidays that represent great value this year.
The Spanish costas have been hugely popular with British tourists for decades, and part of the reason for that has always been that it's excellent value for money. While that popularity forced prices up in recent years, a combination of the Eurozone crisis and the pound growing in strength against the Euro means that Spain is once again the cheapest European holiday destination for Brits abroad. According to the Post Office Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer, which compares resort prices for a shopping basket of common holiday items, the cost of eating out in sunny Spain is down 50 per cent compared with five years ago, meaning you can afford to dine in style.
If you're after a more exotic destination, Sri Lanka could offer the best value. The political situation has stabilised somewhat and that means tourists are returning. Despite a 27 per cent rise in the cost of a holiday, the pound is strong against the Rupee and the Post Office poll saw Sri Lanka share first place with Spain in the value-for-money stakes. Accommodation remains far cheaper than other Indian Ocean locations.
With many having been put off by last year's political upheaval in Egypt, the North African country has been struggling to encourage tourists back to its glorious Red Sea resorts. That means resorts have been forced to lower their prices, and popular destinations such as Sharm el Sheikh have dropped the cost of a stay by around 20%. In fact, an Egyptian break is now a significant 45 per cent cheaper than rival destination Dubai. Other North African countries such as Tunisia will almost certainly offer excellent value too.
Touted as the next Croatia, Albania's Adriatic coast offers holidaymakers 380 miles of glorious beaches, as well as plenty of history from Roman ruins to Ottoman remains. The coastline provides sunshine-seekers white sand, cosy lagoons and bays, and though you might not find the luxury all-inclusive resorts you're used to in western Europe, there are plenty of bargain packages to be had and you're unlikely to get lost in the crowds... at least for now.
While thousands of tourists still flock to the popular Algarve, Portugal's coastline has plenty more to offer. The Costa Vicentina, for example, is a cheaper and less crowded alternative. The Rota Vicentina, a 150-mile path, is due to open in the spring of this year, and newly-built accommodation for travellers provides great value. Grab yourself one of the new self-catering cottage near Zambujeira and you can explore this gorgeous coastline without putting a huge dent in your wallet.
Already a hit with British and American tourists alike, Mexico also represents good value, thanks to the pound's strength against the peso. Popular resorts along the coast offer surprisingly low all-inclusive deals, and though flights will obviously set you back more than a short-haul European break, Virgin Atlantic added a direct service to Cancun last summer.
Vietnam and Bali
Where once it was Thailand that attracted budget travellers, Vietnam and Bali are fast becoming the Asian destination of choice for those seeking a bit of value. While resort prices in Thailand have increased by 22 per cent, the low cost of accommodation combined with a weak Indonesian rupiah has seen Bali rise to fourth place in the Post Office survey, while Vietnam offers great value for money when it comes to eating out.
Have you found a bargain beach holiday? Let us know your tips for bagging a good value break by leaving your comments below...