Cheapest holiday destinations in 2024

23/02/2024

The cost of living crisis is still making a big dent in holiday budgets, so choosing the right destination is crucial if you want to make your money go further.

The good news is that sterling is stronger than it was a year ago, which means prices have dropped in many destinations. We compared average flight and hotel prices in 20 popular long-haul destinations where the pound has strengthened to find the cheapest spots.

Don’t let a hefty airfare put you off. Sri Lanka and Vietnam might be expensive to get to, but hotels and eating out are a bargain once you’re there.


Read our editors’ picks for winter holidays this season.


India

  • Return flight to Delhi: £605
  • Hotels: £51

A three-course meal with wine is around £25 a head in Delhi, while a filter coffee is £2. No wonder visitors rated it great value for money in our latest survey of the best long-haul cities to visit. They were also impressed by Delhi’s cultural sights, from ancient bazaars to Mughal monuments.

After landing in Delhi, many visitors head to Agra to see the world’s most beautiful tomb – the Taj Mahal. Just down the road is the immense Red Fort – one of the finest Mughal palaces in India.

Northern India’s other attractions include the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur, which has rose-hued fortifications and intricately carved palaces. Jodhpur’s old town is painted blue, while Udaipur has a lake lined with palaces that you can stay in – but it might blow your budget.

Egypt

  • Return flight to Sharm el-Sheikh: £297
  • Hotel: £66 per night

If you just want to fly and flop, consider booking a trip to the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh. Surrounded by desert and craggy mountains, it’s a fail-safe bet for winter sun and great for snorkelling and diving – you can spot tropical fish and explore vibrant coral reefs in the clear waters.

Even in January, Sharm el-Sheikh typically enjoys pleasant highs of 20℃ and eight hours of sunshine a day. A three-course meal for two with wine comes in at under £50, but booze is relatively pricey – don’t expect to get much change from a fiver if you order a beer.

A 90-minute drive north, the low-key beach town Dahab has cheaper independent hotels and bargain fish shacks.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against traveling to the area around Egypt’s border with Israel due to the war and to the west of the country – but does not warn against traveling to Europe’s main tourist destinations, including Sharm-el-Sheikh, Cairo, Hurghada, Luxor and Alexandria.

Marvel at the Pyramids and shop for silverware, spices and handmade accessories in Khan el-Khalili bazaar in Cairo, and the tomb of Tutankhamun in Luxor’s Valley of Kings.

Dubai

  • Return flights: £547
  • Hotel: £95 per night

Hotels are a bit pricier in Dubai, but flights tend to be cheaper. The temperature soars in summer, so the cooler winter months are a great time to visit – expect highs of around 25°C in January and February.

Dubai is known as a luxury destination, but you can do it on a budget. Hop in an abra – a brightly painted traditional boat – to explore the 18th-century Al Fahidi Fort in the old quarter. Hunt for handicrafts and textiles in Dubai Flea Market and soak up some rays on one of the city’s free beaches, such as Jumeirah Public Beach.

A three-course meal for two is around £39 per head in the upmarket resort of Jumeirah but you can keep food costs down by eating at the shawarma stalls, hole-in-the-wall vendors and curry shops – you’ll find plenty to choose from on 2nd of December Street.

Sri Lanka

  • Return flight: £838
  • Hotels: £50 per night

You can quench your thirst with a £2 bottle of beer in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital. A three-course meal for two with wine is around £65.

Holidaymakers flock to the golden beaches on Sri Lanka’s south coast, but this small island nation in South Asia has plenty more to offer.

Admire intricately carved Buddhas and ancient paintings in the caves at Damballa, and a fifth-century fortress perched on top of a 180m boulder. A great way to see Sri Lanka’s lush tea plantations is on the creaky train that trundles into the hills from the lakeside city of Kandy – expect hair-raising views.

Down south, 16th-century Galle Fort has cobbled streets, lovely shops and trendy restaurants. In February and March, you can do a whale-watching boat tour from nearby Mirissa – one of Sri Lanka’s loveliest beaches.

Vietnamese

  • Return flight to Hoi An: £870
  • Hotel: £54 per night

With over 3,000km of coastline along the South China Sea, sunseekers can flop on palm-fringed beaches in Vietnam’s lively resorts such as Nha Trang.

In the riverside port of Hoi An, the incense-perfumed streets are lined with amber shop-houses and a three-course dinner with wine comes in at just £17 a head.

In Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam’s biggest metropolis, also known as Saigon – skyscrapers, French colonial buildings and crumbling temples rub up against each other. Its most famous attraction lies outside the city, surrounded by paddy fields – a 75-mile network of tiny tunnels that were a Viet Cong base during the Vietnam war.

In the capital, Hanoi, enjoy cafe culture in the French quarter, and tuck into fragrant pho in the old quarter. Both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi scored highly in our world cities survey, clinching four stars for food and drink and value for money.

Our research

We calculated the cost of a two-week holiday in 20 popular long-haul destinations where the pound has strengthened in the last year, using annual average flight prices from Skyscanner and annual average hotel prices from Kayak. Delhi, Sharm el-Sheikh, Colombo, Hoi An and Jumeirah were the cheapest destinations. Food and drink costs are from the Post Office research.

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