Posted by: menarys | January 5, 2009

Where the pound still plays

With the dollar and and the euro flexing their muscles, perhaps it’s time to rub the old favourites off the holiday list. Benji Lanyado recommends five destinations where sterling is still faring well.

Remember the good old days, when the pound was strong as an ox? This time last year, when it was worth $2, we were having a field day in New York’s shops. Over in Thailand, long a preserve of Brits on a budget, we were getting well over 60 baht, and the euro was coming in at a none-too-shabby €1.37.

How times change. The pound has lost over 25% on the dollar, you’ll be lucky to get 50 baht – and the euro? According to pintprice.com, a beer in Paris will now cost you the equivalent of £5.58. Surely the old holiday favourites of France, Spain, Italy, Thailand and America will be given a wide berth next year.

But there are some currencies that are performing even worse than our own, and some destinations now represent much better value than the usual suspects. This isn’t just economic schadenfreude – you could argue that even our weakened purchasing power will help out struggling economies. So, let’s consider the alternatives.

Iceland

Until recently, the krona was as glacially cool as its surroundings, a contributing factor to Iceland regularly appearing in the “world’s most expensive” lists. The country’s moonscape and dramatic geology – not to mention the ultracool downtown Reykjavik 101 district of bars and boutiques – seemed the preserve of the cash-rich. But since the bottom fell out of Iceland’s economy, the krona has dramatically weakened against the pound, devaluing by as much as 65%. Those who were once scared off by the prices seem to be seizing the moment – Iceland Air reports demand for its weekend packages rising by 50% compared to this time last year.

Price of entry to the Blue Lagoon
Last year: £21.17
This year: £13.50


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Posted by: menarys | January 5, 2009

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