Cheapest countries to visit now for some winter sun

Some of the old holiday favourites like France, Spain and Italy are no longer on the map for the budget conscious traveller. These days, countries outside the eurozone are increasingly popular destinations, as are some of the more unexpectedly cheaper holiday destinations. Read on to find out which countries offer better value for money than some of the usual suspects…

Iceland’s reputation for being expensive, with some of the costliest food and drink in Europe is no longer justified. After the recent collapse of the country’s main banks, you now get more pound to your Icelandic krona. Basics like food and hotels have near halved in price, which while still not considered exceptionally cheap when compared to other bargain destinations, is still cheaper than it has been in years. For anyone wanting to check out the country’s lava landscapes or bathe in natural hot springs of the geothermal Blue Lagoon – the time to do it is now. You may even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights!

Relative stability in currency markets between the pound and the Turkish lira have meant that Turkey remains a good cheap option, so much so that people are even using the likes of Istanbul for a weekend city break. Unlike shopping meccas like New York, you can still haggle yourself a shopping bargain in the Grand Bazaar and being outside the euro zone means that prices are still low compared to the majority of Europe.

South Africa
South Africa is a good holiday destination for UK travellers looking to get a bit more for their pound. There are plenty of budget accommodation options combined with a low cost of living, which make South Africa a good choice for the budget conscious. Try a budget safari break in the Kruger National Park, with tented accommodation being a good cheap option.

The low-cost Egyptian pound makes Egypt one of the best value countries at present to the UK traveller. While previously for some, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Egypt is open to even the most budget conscious of travellers. Fine sandy beaches and some of the world’s best historical sites make Egypt a hot destination in many more way than the excellent sunshine hours of summer. Don’t forget that Egypt has some of the best scuba diving and snorkelling around and the likes of Sharm el Sheik is now one of the first places that people will take the plunge if they want to learn to scuba dive.

Another North African option, Tunisia enjoys fine sunshine which sees it as a popular spot for both winter and summer sun breaks. Accommodation and eating out are great value, making Tunisia a great choice for the budget traveller. Resort hotels around Hammamet, Sousse and Port el Kantaoui are good options, and provide opportunity for some bargain pampering spa sessions at a fraction of the price that you would normally expect. Another good destination is Monastir where you can delve into Tunisia’s past, including the well preserved Ribat (fortress) used in Monty Python’s Life of Brian, plus chilling out for free on the gorgeous beach.

Croatia still remains outside the eurozone, so is good value for money compared with the likes of France or Italy. The weakness of the Croatian kuna against the pound, makes it one of the cheapest destinations in Europe. If you are on a budget, there’s no lack of cheap accommodation in Croatia, from campsites to private guest houses, while even the more up-market hotels still offer good deals. The easiest way to do this is to travel outside of the peak summer season and travel in April/ May or September/October, when you should still experience good weather but find room prices far cheaper.

Don’t forget your travel insurance!
You can purchase great value travel insurance direct at 24/7 travel insurance. For a 3-day break in Europe, it will cost you just £5.32* – a small price to pay to really relax and enjoy your break all the more!

*Premium £5.32 includes Insurance Premium Tax based on an individual aged under 55 taking out a Standard Single-trip 24/7 travel insurance policy for 3 days in Europe excluding personal possessions cover and purchased within 14 days of departure date. Cover details and prices are correct at time of going to press (December 2009) and are subject to change.
† Content sourced from Yahoo Travel Dec 09