Kate Simon: Make sure your sums add up when you plan a cheap break

So where are you going this summer? The British lead the world in putting together holidays on the internet, and, according to British Airways, we have become so bargain hungry that more of us than ever are now booking trips within a week of departure. Yet the tradition of buying a summer holiday at the turn of the New Year remains.

Emma Waddell of Tui Travel, Europe's biggest tour operator, confirms just how important this time of the year is to travel firms. "Thomson and First Choice still count January as a key booking period for summer holidays," she says. "For many, the grey winter months are motivation enough to search for a bit of sunshine, and memories of the weather in the UK over the past couple of summers [has] encouraged holiday bookings."

There are already signs that we're intent on making the most of our cash in 2010. "Value for money is key this year," says Ms Waddell, pointing to "continued growth of all-inclusive and full-board product, a migration towards the non-euro zone areas, such as Turkey and Egypt, and also long-haul destinations".

Turkey is a case in point. It saw a 12 per cent rise in British visitors last year, and is banking on similar growth this year. This boost was due in part to the competitiveness of the Turkish lira. But is a good exchange rate the ultimate way to measure value for money when you're deciding where to go on holiday?

Not according to the Post Office's Annual Travel Services Holiday Money Report, which has just been released. While Turkey's weak currency may look good from the perspective of British tourists – and it has slid a further 7 per cent in value in the past year against a strengthening pound – there's still the question of the costs you'll face on the ground.

To assess these, the Post Office uses its Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer – which measures the price of eight items, such as a cup of coffee and a bottle of sun cream in 30 key destinations. In the case of Turkey, this year's indications show that while British tourists do well on currency exchange, they face a 44 per cent price increase on the typical things that they will buy while there.

The report says: "... while Turkey proved 2009's big winner ... the country has dropped 14 places, to 22nd position, in the barometer table ... it is unlikely to be the cheap destination that it was a couple of years ago."

Meanwhile, the euro remains a holiday currency that is in high demand, even though it has recently offered poor value for Britons. Contrary to belief, there have been good deals in the euro zone because of a fall in local prices. Apparently, Spain is the place to make the most of your pound – there prices have dropped by 30 per cent.

Further afield, Jamaica, Egypt and Dubai come up trumps. Visitors from Britain to Jamaica will receive more than 21 per cent more local dollars than last year. In Egypt, you'll get 14 per cent more Egyptian pounds, and 12.6 per cent more dirhams in the UAE.

But Hungary takes the top slot for the cheapest destination for British tourists for the second year running. The Post Office reckons a city break here is great value – the forint has depreciated by more than 9 per cent on a year ago. Be advised: make sure you do your sums carefully before you book.

Is there a travel issue you want to raise? Email: sundaytravel@ independent.co.uk

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Casual Visitor Experience Assistants

    £7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: To work within the Visitor Experience Departm...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Day In a Page

    Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
    How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

    Heavy weather

    What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
    World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

    World Bodypainting Festival 2015

    Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
    alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

    Don't call us nerds

    Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
    How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

    How to find gold

    Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
    Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

    Not born in the USA

    Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
    10 best balsamic vinegars

    10 best balsamic vinegars

    Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
    Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

    Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

    Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
    Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

    Greece referendum

    Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
    Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

    7/7 bombings anniversary

    Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

    Versace haute couture review

    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
    No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

    No hope and no jobs in Gaza

    So the young risk their lives and run for it
    Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

    Fashion apps

    Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy