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How to save money on holiday... travel further

By Peter Hutchison

Northern Ireland holidaymakers will get more value for their money travelling far afield to places such as Thailand and South Africa rather than raditional European hotspots, a cost index shows.

With the pound now at an all-time low against the euro, tourists from the province are seeing rising costs in eurozone countries such as Spain, Malta and Cyprus.

Taking the price of 10 holiday commodities, including drinks and restaurant meals, the Post Office index ranked Thailand, South Africa, and Egypt as the best value countries.

The cost of 10 items regularly bought by tourists, including a cup of coffee, bottle of beer, suncream, and a three course evening meal for two in a local restaurant, cost just £28.50 in total in Thailand.

South Africa is relatively cheap also with £40.43 covering the cost of all items.

In Thailand a coffee costs 88p while in Cyprus it will set the tourist back a whopping £3.36.

A three-course meal for two in the South East Asian country costs £17.64 while in Malta the charge rises to £42.05. In Italy, the total cost of the 10 items is £73.40, and in Portugal £69.93.

Bulgaria was the cheapest European destination while Turkey was the second cheapest. Just £49.94 would cover the cost all of the items while £52.28 would do so in Turkey.

Shirley Beggs of McNeill Worldwide travel agents on Lisburn Road, said: " Long-haul flights are selling. People are a lot more aware about what they are getting this year compared to last. There's been a lot of American and Canadian business this year."

The pound's plunge against the euro means short trips across the border to the Republic are considerably more expensive.

A pint regularly costs ¤4 (£3.23) in Dublin. It is not unusual to pay ¤40 for a three course meal making a three course dinner-for-two more than £60.

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