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SURVEY: Thomas Cook reveals holiday living costs

Thomas Cook has revealed the findings of
its 2006 survey into the cost of living in the world’s leading holiday resorts. The
Thomas Cook Cost of Holiday Living Index surveys prices on 16 typical holiday items
across 25 popular destinations.

The survey reveals that Goa remains the world’s cheapest package holiday
destination, with Bulgaria the best bet for bargain hunters on short-haul holidays.
However, Brazil, a new package holiday destination for summer 2006, is set to be a
big hit with holidaymakers, as the second cheapest destination worldwide - and the
cheapest of all for a pint of beer! A pint in Brazil costs just 79p, compared to
£1.00 in Goa, 90p in Bulgaria and £1.75 in Spain.

An interesting shift in 2006 is that Spain, particularly the Mainland and Balearics,
has become cheaper than in previous years. After the introduction of the Euro in
1999, Spain, Italy and Greece became more expensive than non-Euro destinations,
leading to huge growth in popularity for Bulgaria and Turkey. But this year Spain is
the second cheapest overall European destination, with Majorca in third place. This
is likely to attract many holidaymakers back to Spain this summer and in the future.

The cheapest holiday destinations for summer 2006 are as follows (first figure is ‘Overall cost of living’, second figure is ‘Cost of a Three course meal’, all figures in £, 2005 positions in brackets):

1. Bulgaria (1)      34.73     10.00    
2. Spain (5)      44.72     11.00    
3. Majorca (10)      45.98     11.00    
4. Turkey (3)      48.62     13.00    
5. Menorca (9)      49.44     11.00    
6. Croatia (2)      50.74     13.00    
7. Cyprus (4)      51.75     17.50    
8. Algarve (8)      52.54     13.50    
9. Greece (7)      54.50     17.50    
10. Madeira (6)      54.76     13.50    


1. Goa (1)      25.70     5.00    
2. Brazil (-)      26.89     8.00    
3. Tunisia (2)      29.22     7.20    
4. Cuba (3)      39.48     13.00    
5. Morocco (7)      40.60     12.00    
6. Gambia (4)      45.25     15.00    
7. Egypt (5)      46.50     18.00    
8. Jamaica (6)      54.28     20.00    
9. Florida (8)      54.75     15.00    
10. Mexico (10)      60.38     30.00  

The long-haul destinations offer greater savings in holiday spending compared with
Europe, with Goa, Brazil and Tunisia all cheaper overall than even Bulgaria. An
important point to note is that with most long-haul destinations the majority of
hotels offer all-inclusive deals, which means that holidaymakers don’t need to pay
for food, drinks and snacks. This option is becoming increasingly popular in Europe
too, as it means that holiday spending is reduced and more easily budgeted for.

In all holiday destinations, Thomas Cook recommends that people can save additional
cash by seeking out restaurants and supermarkets away from the main tourist areas,
and by pre-arranging their holiday money so there’s no need to risk high charges
from using bank and credit cards abroad.

Another hot tip for summer 2006 is for people travelling to the USA to take
advantage of the weak dollar. At present the dollar rate is the highest it has been
for 18 months. As rates are unpredictable now is a good time to buy dollars or
travellers cheques.

The 2006 Thomas Cook Cost of Holiday Living Index also examines what holidaymakers
are most likely to spend their money on abroad. Car hire and excursions often make
up a key part of people’s spending.

The top ten destinations for car hire are all European-based, as roads tend to be
better and UK drivers more confident. Island destinations are the favourites for car
hire, with Greece, Cyprus, the Balearics and Canary islands the top four.

Excursions, on the other hand, are popular across a wide range of destinations.
Family outings in the Canary Islands are sold the most, followed by excursions in
Cuba to Havana, or sailing trips to explore the Caribbean. Water parks and tours in
the Balearics, sightseeing and camel-riding in Egypt, and historical excursions in
Turkey complete the top five.

Melanie Whitehouse, Director of Foreign Exchange at Thomas Cook, said: “It’s
important to plan ahead for your holiday to make sure you have plenty of spending
money - whether it’s for food and drinks, souvenirs or sightseeing. The Thomas Cook
Cost of Holiday Living Index helps give an idea of what things cost in your
destination, so you can budget accordingly. You should make sure you’re getting a
good deal on your holiday money too - so speak to the experts at Thomas Cook where
all currency is commission-free. One tip is to avoid using credit and debit cards
abroad as hidden charges often make them very expensive. Thomas Cook offers a new
Travellers Cheque Card, which is the safest and most convenient way to take money