Winter sun: the cheapest long-haul holiday locations

cheapest long-haul holiday locations

Bali and Cape Town are the cheapest long-haul holiday destinations if you're looking to enjoy some winter sun, according to Post Office Travel Money.

Its seventh annual Long-Haul Report looks at prices in 34 long-haul destinations. Costs are based on a travel staple "basket" which includes:

Cup of filter coffee
Bottle of local lager
Bottle/can of Coca Cola
Glass of wine
Small chocolate bar
Bottle of mineral water
Insect repellent
Three-course evening meal for two, including bottle of wine

The research found that the strength of sterling, combined with weaker foreign currencies, makes for lower prices on travel staples.

In Bali's case, the weaker Indonesian rupiah drives the local price down 9% on last year to £40, ahead of Cape Town in South Africa at £46 and various locations in Sri Lanka at just shy of £50..

The cheapest places to travel

Here's a rundown of the top 10 cheapest long-haul destinations, based on the total cost of travel staples:
DestinationTotal cost of travel staples % rise/fall over 2013 prices
Bati, Indonesia£40.10-9%
Cape Town, South Africa£46.67-6%
Sri Lanka£49.68-9%
Kololi, Gambia£51.33-26%
Phuket, Thailand£54.90+1
Tamarindo, Costa Rica£56.19-47%
Mombasa, Kenya£65.230%
Tokyo, Japan£65.98-36%

Falls in local resort prices have seen Sri Lanka jump up to third place from fifth just a year ago. But the biggest fall is found in Costa Rica, where prices have almost halved.

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The most expensive places to travel

The Post Office report also identified the most expensive places to top up your tan this winter. Here are the ten most expensive long-haul destinations:
DestinationTotal cost of travel staples % rise/fall over 2013 prices
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil£104.68+17%
Darwin, Australia£109.47-12%
Miami, USA£114.33+18%
Penang, Malaysia£115.85+35%
Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt£117.32n/a
English Harbour, Antigua£117.53+48%
Muscat, Oman£126.00+48%
Auckland, New Zealand£133.01+10%
China Town, Singapore£155.34+29%
Jumeirah, Dubai£160.61+64%

Costs have risen sharply in the most expensive countries surveyed, including a whopping 64% in Dubai! A cocktail is £14.04 in the Middle Eastern hotspot, so there's probably never been a better time to 'drink responsibly'.

Local resort prices are responsible for much of the increase in the most expensive countries as they've risen by an incredible 63%. Luckily the strength of sterling cushions the impact, generally.

Savvy travellers

Holidaymakers are becoming increasingly shrewd when it comes to booking holidays. They're now more likely to plan long-haul trips where sterling is strong and the cost of living is low.

Sterling has strengthened against 25 of the 27 currencies featured in the Long-Haul Report, only falling against the Korean won (-2.1%) and Malaysian ringgit (-0.1%).

So if you're going on holiday, keep an eye on the exchange rate and try to time your currency switch when the pound is strongest.

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Winter sun: the cheapest long-haul holiday locations

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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