Pound’s strength boosts Brit buying power abroad

Pound's strength boosts Brit buying power abroad

The stronger pound has boosted tourists’ buying power across Europe and US with prices down year on year in 80% of 25 cities surveyed.

The deepest price falls are in Copenhagen (around 30% year on year), Barcelona and Prague (both around 18%), according to a report published today by Post Office Travel Money.

Stockholm (£363) is Europe’s most expensive city with prices over three times as high as in Budapest.

Budapest is identified as the best value for a city break with prices in the Hungarian capital falling 11% year on year, thanks to a combination of lower hotel costs and the stronger pound.

At under £117 for 12 typical city break items – including an evening meal for two with wine, drinks, two nights’ weekend accommodation, sightseeing and city transport – the city offers the  best value for bargain hunters, according to the research.

The Lithuanian capital of Vilnius (£118) is close behind, followed by Warsaw (£132) and Prague (£136).

Prague saw price falls of over 17% to move it past Lisbon, Riga and Dubrovnik into fourth place in this year’s city costs barometer.

Researchers found that meals and drinks are cheaper in the Czech capital (£27) than anywhere else.

Lisbon (£137) remains the most affordable in the eurozone with prices lower than in 2013 for meals, hotels and sightseeing.

As a result, the Portuguese capital has leapfrogged new eurozone member Riga (£148) to take fifth place in the barometer.

Prices in Lisbon are down by over 15% and are under half those in Amsterdam (£310) and Paris (£311), where high hotel rates make them the most expensive of 11 eurozone cities surveyed.

While prices are up by over 6% in Paris (£311) and 3% in Vienna (£238), the Post Office found big falls elsewhere, most notably in Barcelona (£230) where prices have dropped by more than 17%.

The pound’s increased buying power since last spring has helped make tourist costs cheaper in 80% of the cities surveyed.

The biggest drop is in Copenhagen, where tourist items remain high at £306 but cost almost 30% less than a year ago.

New York (£366) is marginally higher-priced than the Swedish capital but a fall in meal and accommodation charges has made it more than 11% cheaper than Boston (£413).

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “Meals and drinks are rarely included in city break packages, so it is important to check prices before booking.

“Over a weekend break we found that tourists could pay four times as much for meals and drinks in Copenhagen as they would in Prague.

“We also found that a meal for two with wine in Prague cost £22, less than half the price charged in 17 other cities across Europe.”

He added: “The rising value of sterling is good news if you are planning a city break this spring, but make sure you do your homework to get the best value.

“Cheap flights and accommodation will not necessarily give you the best deal overall.

“Before taking the plunge, make a shortlist of cities you are interested in and check both sterling’s value and local living costs, adding these to the flight and accommodation cost to see which comes out cheapest.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly

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