It’s a simple formula – far-flung destinations + longer flights = expensive holiday. Right?
Not really. For the first time in years, travellers are finding this steadfast rule is incorrect. Recent deals have shown that holidays to traditional top spots like Ibiza and mainland Spain are on par price-wise with faraway locales like Thailand and Florida. And due to exchange rates, the cost of spending in exotic destinations is often cheaper than Europe*.
Suddenly, your pennies can take you to exotic holiday spots that, until now, you might never have dreamed of visiting. As if you needed further convincing, here are some top destinations that are now more affordable than ever.
Thailand holidays will take you to some of the most popular tourist hotspots in Asia. It’s an incredible blend of urban and rural, with the all-night energy of Bangkok, rice paddies and lush jungle landscapes in the north and beach havens in the southern region of Phuket.
It’s an explorer’s paradise, with elephant rides through the rainforest and adventures trekking past the country’s iconic golden temples and hill tribes. And then there’s the cuisine – heavy in rice, chilli and garlic, you’ve never had a Thai curry quite like the original.
Make the most of currency exchange rate while you’re there to bag a few treats. A pound currently buys you 49.51 Thai Baht, which will buy you a plate of scrummy pad thai on a street market. Bargain.
Holidays in Florida will have you experiencing summer all year round – it’s nicknamed the ‘Sunshine State’ after all. Home to alluring beaches, winding rollercoasters, waterparks and the pretty sizeable residence of one very important mouse, Florida is a not-to-miss destination that caters to little holidaygoers and the young at heart.
Days here are spent sipping butterbeer at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, dining on the local Caribbean-meets-Floridian cuisine – better known as ‘Floribbean’ – and watching fireworks explode over Cinderella’s castle at the Walt Disney World Resort.
If theme parks aren’t your thing, there are miles and miles of sandy coast that beg for lounging, wetland tours that’ll get you up close and personal with Florida’s famous alligators and lots of local golf courses for sinking those 18 holes.
You can get $1.41 for £1 at the moment, which seems pretty good, considering it will buy you BBQ Ranch Burger at McDonald’s…
Mexico blends a little bit of history with a dash of party atmosphere and days on the beach to create a whole lot of fun. This southern country is renowned for its popular nightclubs, warm waters and ancient Mayan temples.
Outdoorsy types will find solace while swimming with sea turtles and exploring the second largest coral reef in the ocean, while history lovers will marvel at the sheer magnitude of the Kukulkan Pyramid, one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
And let’s not forget about the food – replicated all over the world, there’s no better place to try the spices and flavours of Mexican food than Mexico itself. Throughout holidays here, there’s no shortage of ways to get in touch with the local culture, through dining in outdoor cafes, wandering through a local market or zip-lining above the treetops at heart-racing speeds.
In terms of spending, you can get 24 Pesos for a British pound at the time of publishing this post. That equates to roughly two beef tacos from a food truck.
Nearby bonus – Portugal
It’s not just long haul destinations that are getting more affordable. Another remarkably inexpensive option is Portugal – which has a very limited flight time with maximum days-in-the-sun.
Portugal is home to some of the most stunning beaches in Europe, especially in Algarve, a region that spans across the entirety of the country’s southern coast. In between stints at the rust-coloured beaches, whose waters are lined with intricate rock formations, you can spend an afternoon at a local zoo or let off some steam at a waterpark.
The outlying islands are also worth a visit, especially the volcanic landscape of Madeira, which lies just off the coast of Morocco. Here you can sample the sweet wine that was named for the island and fresh seafood dishes caught locally. Porto Santo is another tiny island that won’t have trouble making your destination list, with historical spots like Christopher Columbus’ house and gorgeous beaches lined with restaurants.
And with a Euro buying you a beer from a supermarket, it’s cheaper than you think to kick back with a cold one.
*Prices correct at time of publication