Winter sun: the cheapest long-haul holiday locations

Post Office reveals cheapest long-haul destinations for winter sun

Updated: 
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
Cocktail
Small chocolate bar
Bottle of mineral water
Suncream
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%
Mauritius£71.66-24%
Tobago£71.68-9%


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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