The winter sun destinations where your money will go furthest

With a deep freeze followed by wild storms it’s not surprising Britons will be thinking of fleeing for a winter break in the sun. Now there is another incentive to let the gusts propel your flight to warmer climes – the power of the pound.

Sterling has made significant gains against several currencies over the past year, with cost-effective destinations ranging from Med package break favourites to Indian Ocean beaches.

It means UK travellers could get more from their winter holiday budget if they pick their destination based on latest exchange rates.

Data from direct debit travel card provider Currensea gives an indication of the countries to target for low-cost holidays in the winter sun.

Turkey

This month, the pound is up 65 per cent against the lira compare to January last year. In March, Fethiye on the country’s south-western coast will see temperatures reach an average high of 19°C with around seven hours of sunshine a day – and there are cost-effective holidays on offer.

For example, a week’s break with Jet2 Holidays, including a four-star hotel stay on a bed and breakfast basis, return flights from London and transfers is available for £569 per person, departing 15 March.

Or, for those who prefer to travel independently in Turkey, the average price of a double room in the country is around £92 a night. Dalaman is the closest airport to Fethiye and return flights from London start at around £70 in March.

Istanbul can offer a cheap weekend getaway, with restaurant prices around 42 per cent lower than in Barcelona, 55 per cent cheaper than Paris, and 33 per cent less than in Lisbon, according to data from Numbeo, a cost of living comparison site.

Kenya

Kenya, where the pound is up 31 per cent year-on-year against the shilling, might tempt visitors on an extended city break. Lonely Planet named Nairobi the world’s best city to visit in 2024. The capital has a national park, rooftop bars and cost-effective hotels.

Plan for a holiday on Kenya’s Indian Ocean beaches (Photo: Getty)

In December, President William Ruto announced Kenya would offer visa-free entry to visitors. However, all international visitors must secure a $34 Electronic Travel Authorisation at least three days before departing for the east Africa nation.

That said, once there, the average cost of a night in a double room is just £18, with around £20 per person, per day needed for spending money.

Travellers seeking sea and sand might consider Mombasa beach. Last September, the Post Office’s Long Haul Holiday report found that the price of typical holiday purchases in the resort had fallen by 19.8 per cent compared with 2022.

About 19 miles south of Mombasa is Nyali beach. With the Indian Ocean lapping its white sand, its looks are comparable to the resort islands of the Maldives.

South Africa

Now may also be an opportune time to plan a safari holiday in either Kenya or South Africa, where the pound is up 14 per cent year-on-year against the rand.

The minimal time difference between the UK and Kenya (three hours) and South Africa (two hours) adds to the appeal of both countries.

Indeed, South Africa is among the top 10 long-haul destinations chosen by UK travellers for a holiday in 2024, according to travel agency Flight Centre UK.

Egypt

Egypt continues to represent good value for British visitors. Sterling is seven per cent stronger against the Egyptian pound than it was in January 2023, while the average cost of accommodation is just £18 per day.

Indonesia

For a long-haul trip where the pound will go further than in winter 2023, consider Indonesia’s tourist islands. The pound is up six per cent against the Indonesian rupiah.

For fewer crowds and lower prices, tourists might choose Lombok over Bali. There are high-end beach huts for around £100 a night or five-star hotels for less than £120 – about £100 cheaper than similar accommodation in Bali.

Among Currensea’s tips for saving money while travelling is to watch out for hidden costs when exchanging currencies. A zero per cent commission might not be the best deal if providers are working profit into their exchange rate.

Other advice includes avoiding ATM charges (some transactions cost £5 a time); always paying in local currency at card machines; and using a debit card designed for travel.

James Lynn, co-founder of Currensea, said: “At a time when we’re all looking to make our holiday savings go further, ensuring we get a good deal on not only flights and accommodation but also exchange rates is vital.

“In total, UK holidaymakers are paying £2.7bn in unnecessary foreign exchange fees every year.”