Best value long-haul destinations where the Pound goes furthest

The easing of travel restrictions has seen sales of foreign currencies surge – with holidaymakers getting extra value for their spending money on many long-haul destinations.

The first Post Office Holiday Money Index of 2021 reveals pent-up demand for trips to the USA, which reopened to UK tourists this week.

It reports that US dollar sales surged by 142 per cent year-on-year in September and October, but the biggest year-on-year sales increase of 3,009 per cent was for the Icelandic krona.

Meanwhile, the new freedom to travel has stimulated an autumn surge in currency sales for winter sun destinations ranging from Dubai to a clutch of Caribbean islands.

Sales of the UAE dirham have rocketed by 633 per cent, suggesting that significant numbers of Britons will be heading to Dubai. Barbados, St Lucia and Antigua also look set to be popular choices for winter sun trips.

Sales of the Barbados dollar have risen 570 per cent rise, while purchases of East Caribbean dollars are up 400 per cent year-on-year in the past two months.

In addition to measuring exchange rate movements and foreign currency sales trends, the Post Office Holiday Money Index also reports on holiday costs in 10 leading winter sun destinations now open to UK tourists.

This found that resorts in Jamaica, Mauritius and Thailand offer the best value, while their currencies are among those suffering the biggest falls of more than 10 per cent against the Pound.

It shows sterling has risen year-on-year against 25 of Post Office Travel Money’s top 30 currencies. The biggest gain of 20.5 per cent is against the Turkish Lira, giving holidaymakers almost £85 more cash on an average £500 currency transaction.

Comparing the exchange rate now with the rate in March 2020 when lockdown started, holidaymakers will get 73 per cent more lira – amounting to over £210 extra on a £500 transaction.

Holidaymakers travelling to popular long haul destinations will also get far more cash for their pounds.

The Mauritius rupee has seen the steepest fall in value of almost 14 per cent, giving UK visitors over £60 more on a £500 transaction, while holidaymakers travelling to Phuket in Thailand will get 13.2 per cent or over £58 more.

The impact of sterling’s strength in these destinations, where local prices are also low, means holidaymakers can expect their travel cash to stretch much further.

This also applies to Jamaica, whose dollar has slumped by almost 12 per cent against sterling year-on-year and where the cost of a three-course meal for two and a range of drinks in Montego Bay – £52.82 – is cheapest of 10 long haul holiday destinations surveyed.



Montego Bay, in Jamaica

Mauritius is second cheapest at £55.19, while Phuket, the first Thai destination to open to UK visitors, was placed third with a total cost of £61.45 for a meal, coffee, beer, soft drink and bottle of water.

Nick Boden, Post Office head of travel money, said: “Looking at our currency sales, the green shoots of recovery are now evident for most of the destinations now opening up to British visitors again and reveal a latent demand for hotspots in Europe and further afield.”

He added: “The strength of sterling is a real bonus but it is also important to consider the cost of living in individual countries. When you combine the two, Jamaica and Mauritius look like winter-sun winners according to our barometer of resort costs.

Get the latest travel and staycation news sent straight to your inbox



Best value long-haul destinations where the Pound goes furthest

Dreaming of when you may be able to go on holiday again and where that might be? Want the latest travel and staycation news sent straight to your inbox to help you plan ahead?

Sign up here for regular updates on the latest travel advice, plus top destinations and wonderful places to stay post-Covid.

When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use you data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.

“Prices for meals and drinks are 79 per cent higher in Barbados than in Jamaica. Similarly, when you compare costs in the most popular US destinations, visitors to Orlando in Florida will pay around a third less than in New York.”

Post Office Holiday Money barometer for total cost of a meal, coffee, beer, soft drink and bottle of water.

  1. Barbados £95.69
  2. USA (New York) £88.22
  3. St Lucia £80.51
  4. Canada (Vancouver) £80.29
  5. Canada (Toronto) £74.21
  6. Dubai £73.82
  7. USA (Orlando) £61.51
  8. Thailand (Phuket) £61.45
  9. Mauritius £55.19
  10. Jamaica £52.82

For more stories from where you live, visit InYourArea.