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FAMILIES hoping to swap the UK autumn weather for a sunshine break abroad at half term will need to weigh up whether low cost or guaranteed sunshine is more important to them, according to new research comparing costs in six European and six long-haul resorts.

The Post Office Travel Money Half Term Barometer reveals that Spain and Portugal are cheapest - but cooler - for a week away, but the rising value of sterling in long-haul destinations will make these a tempting option.

Low resort costs for a week's meals and drinks combined with cheap late availability package prices make Spain's Costa del Sol the best value. At PS1,775 for a half term week for a family of four, the Costa del Sol was almost half the cost for Lanzarote (PS3,319), the most expensive European resort.

Portugal's Algarve coast is almost as cheap as the Costa del Sol with just PS30 dividing the two family favourites. At PS1,805 for two adults and two children, prices in the Algarve are also 25% cheaper than in third-placed Marmaris (PS2,407).

However, the Post Office says families visiting Turkey will benefit from sterling's rise of 29% against the Turkish lira. Visitors will get more than PS113 extra when changing PS500 into lira, compared with a year ago. Sterling has also risen 1.7% against the euro compared with last October when it was at a 2016 low.

In the Canary Islands, another popular family choice for half-term breaks, Tenerife looks a cheaper option than Lanzarote.

The holiday package and basket of eight tourist essentials - family meals with drinks, coffee, beer, wine and soft drinks for a week, together with insect repellent and suncream - costs PS2,780 in Tenerife, 16% less than in Lanzarote.

For families who want to travel further, longer flights may make long-haul destinations more expensive than Europe, but temperatures are likely to be around 28degto 29deg compared with 19degto 23deg in Europe. And sterling has gained more ground over the past year against long-haul currencies than against most European ones, according to the Post Office.

The cheapest longer-haul half-term option for families is Dubai, where the UAE dirham is currently more than 8% weaker than a year ago.

At PS3,019 for a family of four in Jumeirah Beach, prices are far lower than in most of the long-haul resorts surveyed. Thailand is almost as cheap as Dubai at PS3,032 for a family week away in Phuket. That is a third less than in Montego Bay, Jamaica (PS4,032), Penang, Malaysia (PS4,161), Rodney Bay, St Lucia (PS4,401) or Mombasa.

However, holidaymakers will find their pounds stretch between 8.4% (Malaysia) and 10.3% (Kenya) further than a year ago in these four destinations - putting PS39-PS47 extra in the holiday purse for visitors to these countries.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUSP
Date:Oct 18, 2017
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