School holidays special: Money matters
Julian Knight on how to stretch your pound abroad
Sunday 25 July 2010
With all the chatter about the collapsing euro and debt crises in Portugal, Greece, Spain and Ireland, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the bargains that were available in euro-land a couple of years ago are back on.
Think again. The euro may have collapsed in value against major world currencies such as the dollar, but against the pound it's only fallen back a little – mainly because our government finances are in as big a mess as theirs.
As a result, it's still quite pricey to head to many parts of the continent this summer. The latest edition of Which? Holiday contains a survey of the key costs for holidaymakers this summer in popular spots for British travellers in Europe. It looks at the costs of a basket of groceries, care hire, petrol, hotel stays and a restaurant meal for two with a bottle of plonk.
If you want cheap meals out and a less expensive place to lay your head, then the message is "head east". On average, Which? Holiday found that a meal for two with a bottle of wine in Poland cost £28.79, a third cheaper than in the UK. At the other end of the scale, Ireland, the worst affected by the credit crunch, was the costliest at an average of £54.40.
A night in a five-star hotel in Warsaw was a reasonable £81 compared with double that in London. However, Paris, never a bargain destination, is the most expensive for four-star hotels, coming in at an average of £163 per night compared with just £78 in Berlin.
Switzerland, which isn't in the euro but has a strong currency, comes out as the costliest place to live this summer. A basket of standard groceries, a bottle of house wine in a restaurant and stays in three- and five-star hotels cost more in Switzerland than anywhere else and for nearly everything else – apart from a litre of petrol – it is near the top of the price charts.
Even traditionally cheap spots, such as Portugal, are no longer budget beaters. Although supermarket food is cheaper than in Britain, a meal for two is almost 10 per cent more expensive in Lisbon than London. Likewise, a week's car hire will set you back a whopping £257.51 compared with just £173 in the UK.
In Turkey, car hire was the priciest out of all the countries surveyed at £305.10 (for a week) and a litre of unleaded petrol was a staggering £1.86. But the No 1 destination for Briton, Spain, came out well with three-, four- and five-star hotels all below UK costs: a litre of petrol cost £1.06 and a week's car hire was £151.28. Even a basket of groceries was cheaper by nearly 10 per cent compared with the UK.
I know where the money-conscious Brits will be booking holidays this year.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Avengers: Age of Ultron: Nearly 700 German cinemas refuse to show movie
- 2 Donald Trump decides that Baltimore riots are Barack Obama's fault
- 3 X Factor in crisis as numbers of people auditioning plummets
- 4 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
- 5 Baltimore riots: Furious mother marches her son home live on TV
French air-traffic controllers strike Q&A: When is the strike and which travellers will be affected?
A380 celebrates first decade in flight - but how long will the Superjumbo's time in the sky last?
Best large holiday homes and cottages in the UK for a group, family, hen do or stag party
The 10 Best lightweight luggage
The most powerful passports in the world
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This hotel in Chadderton is a p...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...
£15310 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a...
£24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Situated in the heart of Bradfo...