Euro exchange rate bad news for Brits travelling to Europe

With the pound plunging against the euro, British holidaymakers will get more value for money travelling to places such as Thailand, South Africa and Egypt rather than traditional Mediterranean hotspots, a travel cost index out today showed.

And with countries such as Malta and Cyprus now in the eurozone, UK tourists are seeing holiday costs rising considerably, the index from the Post Office revealed.

Taking the price of 10 holiday commodities, including drinks and meals out, Thailand, South Africa and Egypt were the best-value countries of 16 destinations surveyed.

The 10 items cost just 28.50 in total in Thailand - less than a third of the cost of the same items in Australia.

Bulgaria was the cheapest European destination, although more expensive than last year, with Turkey the second cheapest. Of countries using the euro, Spain was the cheapest, followed by Malta, although Spain had the highest one-day car rental at 58.87.

The most expensive eurozone destinations were France, Greece and Italy, where an evening meal for two including wine was at least 20% more than in Turkey.

Cyprus's entry into the eurozone has seen costs rise by 32%, but UK travellers can at least take heart from the continuing strength of the pound against the US dollar which has led to America moving from being the most expensive of the countries surveyed last year to seventh-cheapest this year.

A bottle of Coca-Cola in Florida is now just 1.60 compared with 2.94 in France, while suncream in Florida will set tourists back about 5 - half the price in Greece.

Post Office head of travel Helen Warburton said: "Holidaymakers planning trips further afield this year will get excellent value for money by travelling to long-haul destinations.

"The pound is still strong against the US dollar and the new (transatlantic) Open Skies agreement introduced this month should mean cheaper flights in the future."

She went on: "Elsewhere, sterling is up more than 8% against the rand, making South Africa a good choice for UK tourists, and booming sales of Egyptian and Thai currency indicate that holidaymakers are already opting for trips where their pounds will stretch further.

"Looking forward we believe that holidaymakers will be smarter about where they choose to go this year. Prices vary quite significantly within Europe so people will be looking to visit countries where a lower cost of living will offer them more for their pound, like Spain and Turkey."

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