The cheapest holiday destinations in 2013

Costa Del SolSpain and Sri Lanka have come out joint top as the cheapest destinations this year in the seventh annual Post Office Holiday Money Report.

The price of eight items, including a three-course meal for two, sun cream and a cup of coffee, came in at £36.14 for both, well under half what you'd pay in the most expensive destinations.
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While you're likely to spend around the same amount in each country, as flights are a lot cheaper to Spain it is the top destination for bargain hunters.

Price cuts in the Costas helped Spain win the top spot, while Sri Lanka made the grade because the Sterling exchange rate is now 16% stronger than a year ago.

On the other end of the scale, Seoul is the most expensive location with the same basket of goods coming in at £146.93, followed by Darwin at £145.28 and Auckland at £127.67.

Top bargain resorts
To compare prices of resorts around the world, the Post Office looked at the cost of the following eight items:

  • Cup of coffee
  • Bottle of beer
  • Bottle/can of Coca-Cola/Pepsi
  • Glass of wine
  • 1.5l bottle of water
  • Suncream (200ml)
  • Pack of 20 Marlboro Lights cigarettes
  • Three-course evening meal for two, with a bottle of house wine

The 10 cheapest holiday resorts

Country/Resort

Total price of eight holiday items

Spain: Costa del Sol

£36.14

Sri Lanka: South West

£36.14

Czech Republic: Prague

£39.17

Indonesia: Bali

£40.47

Vietnam: Hoi An

£43.20

Bulgaria: Sunny Beach

£45.10

Portugal: Algave

£45.54

Mexico: Cancun

£48.93

Hungary: Budapest

£51.45

Turkey: Marmaris

£52.89

The 10 most expensive holiday resorts

Country/Resort

Total price of eight holiday items

St Lucia: Rodney Bay

£93.96

Jamaica: Various locations

£97.59

Singaopore: Central

£99.03

Mauritius: Grand Baie

£99.09

Dubai: Jumeirah Beach

£101.69

Canada: Calgary

£110.27

China: Beijing

£116.45

New Zealand: Auckland

£127.67

Australia: Darwin

£145.28

South Korea: Seoul

£146.93


The results show a big difference between those countries at either end of the scale. For example, it would cost an extra £110 for the same group of items if you were in Seoul instead of Spain.

But you also need to take into account transport. Flight costs to long-haul destinations will always be more expensive so therefore European countries will be cheaper.

However, when looking at Eurozone countries, there's quite a difference in prices. Spain, for example, has seen a fall of 50% in eating out in the past five years.

In Greece it's now 40% cheaper for a hotel room and 18% cheaper to stay at a resort. However, in Sorrento in Italy, prices rose 6% making the country 50% more expensive than Greece.

The hot list of 2013
The Post Office has also picked out ten destinations which it predicts will be very popular this year. Turkey has returned to this list for the first since time since 2008 after food prices in Marmaris fell 22%.

Sales of the Croatian currency Kuna have doubled in five years, as it becomes a more popular holiday destination. Sales have also shot up for Peso as more tourists flock to Mexico - it's become one of the fastest growing currencies of the past decade, according to Post Office sales.

Vietnam is also included with sales of the Vietnamese Dong shooting up by 51% in the past year as a reaction to the introduction of direct flights from the UK.

The hot list of countries is as follows:
  • Brazil
  • Croatia
  • Eastern European cities
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • South Korea
  • Sri Lanka
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • Vietnam

How to get the cheapest holiday money
If you're already planning your summer break, or perhaps escaping the cold in search of winter sun, it's important to avoid getting ripped-off when you exchange money.

There are numerous places to do this, but the prices vary wildly. Our article on how to avoid getting ripped-off when exchanging money explains in detail the best way to get your foreign currency.

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The cheapest holiday destinations in 2013

If you are a victim of a strike, or any other event beyond the airline's control (including ash clouds!), they must offer you a refund (in which case it's up to you to find a way home) or an alternative flight. While you are waiting for the flight you have the right to food and refreshment and accommodation.

If you are on a package holiday, your tour operator is entirely responsible for looking after you until you get back to the UK.

This is more likely to happen due to the financial crisis, but in some situations you are covered. 

If you pay by credit card and it's over £100, you'll get a refund from the card company. 

Your travel insurance may well cover you too, but check before you go.  

Talk to the airline, and if it is temporarily misplaced they should arrange for it to be sent to your accommodation, and you should be either given cash to cover the essentials in the interim.

If it's completely lost you must wait 21 days and then make a claim for compensation. If you are travelling as part of a package you can claim costs from your operator.

If you are travelling within the EU you need an EHIC card, which gives you access to public healthcare. However, this won't necessarily be free, and if you need extra services such as accommodation for a carer, a helicopter home or a delayed flight, you could end up seriously out of pocket.

The only protection that will guarantee you will be looked after without running up a horrendous debt is by having travel insurance - which often covers up to £10 million of costs.

The most common form of theft is pick-pocketing, followed by theft from a car and bag snatching. Meanwhile, 752,000 of those surveyed had items stolen from their hotel room or villa.

If you have anything stolen, your only protection is insurance. You need to tell the local police immediately and get a crime reference for your travel insurer.

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