The cost of a family holiday to many European destinations has risen sharply in the past year or so, thanks to the weakening value of the pound against the euro. While this may have put many off a summer holiday this year, others are turning to alternative destinations which have become cheaper for a winter break instead.
There are many reasons why certain destinations can become more affordable. It may be that the country is only just becoming popular with holidaymakers and price rises taking advantage of this have not yet come into play. Or it could be down to the strength of the pound against that country’s currency, or flights becoming cheaper as competition mounts.
Here, we’ve listed our top 5, great value winter holiday destinations for 2017/18 – if you’re up for something a little different this year, one of these may be the perfect choice.
Image credit: By Ricardo Liberato
Egypt has been a popular holiday destination for UK holidaymakers for a long time, but with turmoil and terrorism affecting the country in recent years, many have understandably been put off from visiting. While the Egyptian and UK Government still advises against travelling to certain areas of Egypt, there is currently no advice against travel to Red Sea resorts, tourist areas along the Nile and Cairo itself.
The currency used – the Egyptian Pound – has also gone through some changes in the last year. In November 2016, the currency was floated on the stock market and subsequently lost value against the pound. At the time of writing, one British pound is worth twenty-three Egyptian pounds, making it great value for money.
The fall in the number of visitors to Egypt has meant that many tour operators and resorts are lowering their prices to encourage more visitors. When you add this to the favourable exchange rate, you start to see how much more you are able to get for your hard-earned cash. As long as you follow official advice and do your research before you go, there’s no reason why you should feel the need to avoid such a beautiful and sunny destination.
Image Credit: Arnoldo Zocchi
Destinations in Eastern-Europe are becoming more and more popular with UK holidaymakers in recent years. Bulgaria is a large and very beautiful country located just north of Greece and Turkey. It has a coast on the Black Sea, and a pleasing mix of tourist areas and untouched towns, villages and stunning countryside. It boasts a mild climate, although if you’re planning to visit Oct – Feb do expect it to be a little cooler. Exploring Sofia – the capital city – and the surrounding countryside or enjoying the diverse coastline can all be done relatively cheaply.
Sunny Beach, a popular resort on the Black Sea was crowned Europe’s cheapest beach-break destination for the fourth year running in April 2017. A bottle of beer costs around 70p and you can enjoy a three-course meal and a bottle of wine for two people for under £20. This dramatically lowers the cost of your holiday overall when compared with eating out in France or Spain. If you’re prepared to do a little exploring and visit more remote areas of the country, you may well find prices to be cheaper still.
Image Credit: Luis Argerich
If you’re feeling adventurous and you have 10 days+ to spare on your winter holiday, a visit to Argentina may be just the thing. Although it’s around 14 hours away from London by plane, many would argue that what the country has to offer is well worth it. Those wanting a bit of winter sun will be happy to learn that the capital, Buenos Aires, enjoys its hottest month in January with average temperatures of 25°c.
Eating out is relatively cheap and if you’re prepared to go a little way outside the most popular tourist areas, two people can get by for under £40 per day, including a bed for the night. Patagonia in southern Argentina is also worth a visit, with entry to Península Valdés– a world heritage site nature reserve where you can see penguins, whales and elephant seals in their natural habitat – priced at around £10. You can explore the area yourself, or book a guide.
The Argentine peso collapsed in the later months of 2015, and whilst it is recovering the pound has gained around 40% against it over the past 2 years. This makes the Argentine peso very good value for money. At the time of writing you can get twenty-three pesos for just one pound.
Image Credit: By AJ Oswald
Vietnam is a fascinating country located just east of Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. It has a huge stretch of coastline on the South China Sea and modern, bustling cities to explore. The climate in Vietnam is ideal for those who like to be a bit warmer during the winter months, with the average temperature between November – April being 17-22°c. The weather is much hotter during the summer months and also much wetter due to the rainy season. This can make it very humid and uncomfortable, so visiting during winter is advised.
Vietnam is unspoiled in many areas, and the cost of living is extremely cheap here. Staying in a guest house, eating local food, taking local transport and having a few drinks can cost as little as £10 per day all-in. If you’d like a pint of the local beer, Bia Hoi, you’re looking at an expense of just 50p. As a cheap destination with stunning beaches and scenery, Vietnam is definitely worth a look.
Image Credit: Hans-Peter Bock
While it may not be the first place you think of when wanting to book a winter holiday, Ireland could surprise you with what it has to offer. Although Ireland uses the euro as its currency and doesn’t tend to experience high temperatures during the winter months, it’s found its way onto this list due to the dramatic drop in the cost of travelling there. Many tour operators are offering flights to Dublin for just £10, so if you find the right time to book you could save a huge chunk of your travel budget to be spent elsewhere.
As with any capital city, Dublin is vibrant all year round, with plenty to do. Getting out into more rural areas - where you can find beautiful vistas and friendly people - means saving even more money. Prices tend to be much cheaper outside of the city.
For those who prefer a short travel time, colder weather or holidaying somewhere where they speak the same language as local residents, Ireland could be just the thing for a short winter break that won’t break the bank.
If you’re going on holiday this winter and still need to sort out your foreign currency, check out H&T’s great travel money deals here. We charge 0% commission and offer buy-back at a guaranteed price, just in case you have any left over from your cheap winter holiday. See us in-store today or order your currency online.