While the study revealed the ever popular North African destination of Morocco to be the cheapest country, in reality once the cost of flights are factored in a very different story is revealed; Morocco slips to seventh position, while Poland (Poznan, pictured) takes the coveted top spot, closely followed by Germany, which is the surprise bargain destination of the year.
With sterling reaching a four year high against the Euro, many popular destinations across the continent now offer much better value than perceived. Germany was perceived as the 12th most expensive of the 30; however the study shows that it is actually the 10th cheapest and becomes the second cheapest total cost inclusive of flights.
Spain, a popular destination for British holidaymakers for many years was thought to be the 18th most expensive when in reality its true value saw it become the sixth cheapest. The cost of a holiday in Ireland was also overestimated – believed to be one of the most expensive destinations (position 22) when in fact the Emerald Isle is the eighth cheapest.
The Americas are prime examples of misconceptions with three out of four destinations actually featuring in the top ten most expensive.
Brazil (Rio de Janeiro pictured, right), thought to be the ninth cheapest country, is actually the second most expensive in terms of real value and becomes the most expensive destination when the cost of flights and hotels is factored in. Mexico is considered the sixth cheapest when in reality is actually in position 15. The USA, thought to be the 14th cheapest is actually the seventh most expensive, and Canada perceived as the 14th most expensive, is actually the eighth most expensive.
When the cost of flights is factored in, Brazil, New Zealand and Mexico take the top three spots in the overall cost ranking, with the impact of the price of long haul flights best illustrated by New Zealand which jumps from 11th cheapest to second most expensive destination. Thailand is also a good example of a cheap destination when you get there (£622 in-resort costs for a week) but the cost of the flight (£853), more than doubles the total holiday cost.
However, other countries benefit from the flight routes offered by budget carriers; Italy for instance goes from the ninth most expensive destination to become the 12th cheapest once the cost of flights is added to the total price. Likewise both Sweden and Denmark benefit from the average cost of flight. Sweden goes from being the third most expensive to the 14th cheapest and Denmark goes from being the fourth most expensive to the 13th cheapest.
How the UK performs
The study also reveals that a holiday in the UK (Cornwall, pictured) is less expensive than many perceive but still more expensive than many European neighbours, including Spain and Portugal.
Skyscanner’s spokesperson Sam Poullain commented: “This study highlights the huge disparity between the perception and the reality of holiday costs. It is essential that travellers should consider the proportion of the total cost that the flight makes up before deciding upon a destination.
“With low cost flights available across the UK, and the strength of the pound against the Euro, European destinations such as Germany, are our tip for the best value resort this year.”
Tables are in order of price where one is the cheapest and 30 is the most expensive:
|Rank||Perceived Country Cost Ranking||Actual Country Cost Ranking (one day cost)||Actual Country Cost Ranking Incl. Flights (one week cost)|
|18||New Zealand||Dominican Republic||Switzerland|
Respondents were asked to rate the countries according to costs within the country, not including the cost of flights. Respondents were given the options of very cheap/cheap/neither expensive or cheap/expensive/very expensive and a score allocated for each response type.
Actual costs were calculated using the average in resort costs per day based on a cup of coffee, a bottle of beer, a three course meal including a half bottle of wine (per person), and one night’s accommodation. Prices used were according to the Post Office Holiday Cost Barometer Reports 2012* and Hotels.com 2011 Price Index.
The flight prices used were the cheapest direct flight available with Skyscanner.net for travel on 1 July 2012, and accurate as at 18 April 2012 (the cheapest indirect flights were used for Australia and New Zealand which do not have direct flights available).
* where food and drinks prices were not available the relevant tourist board provided average costs for India, Poland, Denmark and Japan, while costs were taken from Wikitravel.com and Mytravelcost.com for Russia, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Iceland, Ireland and Morocco.
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