Forget the flights: Wise and travel expert Nicky Kelvin show that holiday value comes from cost of hotels, beers and food - not flight deals.
- Despite rising prices, 74% of Brits still plan to holiday this year - but value is a priority, with half keen for somewhere new if it means money goes further.
- Brits too focused on flight prices, with better value to be found when considering price of hotels, meals and drinks - i.e. how far our money goes.
Brits looking to save on their holidays abroad should forget about the price of flights and focus instead on the cost of hotels, food and drink at their destination. This is according to a new guide by Wise and Nicky Kelvin, travel expert from The Points Guy UK, which urges holidaymakers to consider Albania, Bosnia and Slovenia this summer.
Polling, commissioned by Wise, shows that 74% of Brits still plan to holiday this year, but half (50%) are keen to try somewhere new or unfamiliar if they can get more bang for their buck - unsurprising, given the cost of living crunch.
Despite this, the familiar plazas, playas and poolsides of Spain, France and Italy are still the most popular choices for Brits heading overseas. Brits are likely focusing too much on the price of flights, which are a priority for 41% of us (and often cheaper for popular destinations), and not enough on what their money can get them when they land - with fewer than one-in-five (18%) considering their destination’s exchange rate.
For example, while only 1% of holidaying Brits are planning a trip to Albania, .3% a trip to Slovenia and .1% Bosnia and Herzegovina, these sun-soaked, grid-worthy and overlooked getaways offer far better value than “following the herd down to Greece” (or Spain, France).
And, although flights to Albania are 45% more expensive than flights to Spain, hotels are a whopping 87% cheaper, the average meal costs 65% less and a beer is 35% less expensive. So, you might pay more upfront, but the day-to-day spending is far less, meaning the overall cost of the trip is vastly cheaper. All this is welcome news for the 46% of Brits expecting their money to go further abroad than at home.
What’s more, the 42% of Brits ranking food as their top holiday priority should rest assured: cheaper does not mean less delicious. You’ve tried souvlaki and tapas - now it’s time for some Albanian byrek (flaky pastries), Slovenian struklji (delicious dumplings) and Bosnian cevapi (excellent sausages).
Kelvin said: “A good deal on flights is often the difference between booking a holiday and not - but flights are just one part of your holiday spend.
“If you’re looking for great value, it’s better to focus on how far your money stretches when you get there - so, how much is a hotel room? A meal? A beer? Even if the flights seem like a great deal, you might end up paying through the nose on everything else once you get there.
“We have so many great destinations within a few hours of the UK — by exploring some new places, even ones you’ve not heard of before, you might be surprised by the great value holidays you find.”
Cities like Belgrade or Sofia are often overlooked for a city break, despite their rich history and closeness to the UK — and more bearable summer temperatures compared to Rome and Athens.
Similarly, sunsoaked Porto, filled with mediaeval buildings and delicious seafood, is sometimes forgotten in favour of Lisbon, while Mostar’s Mediterranean-Balkan fusion cuisine is only just beginning to get the attention it deserves.
With the cost of living considerably lower in these European cities compared to the UK and London in particular, Brits heading to these places will be able to make their money stretch much further.
Nilan Peiris, Wise’s Chief Product Officer, said: “Despite rising prices, most Brits are still keen to travel — even if they’re on a tighter budget. While popular hotspots are loved by tourists for a reason, people can end up spending more than they bargained for. Exploring Sofia instead of Rome, or Albania instead of Spain, means you can do more of what you love to do on holiday, whether that’s eating at a nice restaurant, exploring museums and galleries, or simply lazing by a beautiful pool. With 74% of Brits still planning to travel in 2023, alternative choices like these will be the key to an affordable holiday.”