Vietnam: I’m only here for the beer

SINGAPORE, 23 April 2024: If you travel for a cheap beer, then spend your holiday time in Vietnam’s famed World Heritage town of Hoi An for the cheapest glass of lager that will set you back GBP1.16 while sipping a local brew in Phuket Thailand, will cost GBP2.08.

Long-haul destinations top the 2024 UK Post Office’s World Holiday Costs Barometer leaderboard, with Vietnam delivering the lowest prices and five other Asian destinations in hot pursuit in the top 20 rankings.

The Post Office holiday costs research* surveyed 40 destinations worldwide, focusing on the price of eight items that UK tourists are likely to purchase during overseas holidays. The eight items: A three-course meal for two with a bottle of house wine, a cup of coffee, a bottle of local beer, a can of cola, a glass of wine, a bottle of still water, suncream and insect repellent.

Vietnam, using Hoi An for the price samplings, was declared the winner with the lowest costs for the eight items, totalling GBP51.18, ahead of South Africa in second place (GBP54.35) and Kenya in third place (GB54.93). 

In addition to Vietnam, five Asian destinations figured in the holiday costs barometer’s top 20 list. Japan (Tokyo), in fourth place, tallied GBP59.05 for the eight items. Bali (Kuta) was in eighth place, totalling GBP63.31, and Malaysia (Penang) was in 11th place, totalling GBP74.57. Thailand (Phuket) took the 12th spot with a tally of GBP77.77, and India (Delhi) in the 13th spot with a total cost of GBP77.84

Portugal (Algarve), in fifth place with a tally of GBP59.60, was the best-ranked European destination for price bargains.

The Post Office research claims that over half of adult Britons will travel abroad this year – and 60% have already booked. More than half will dip into savings to fund the trip despite concerns about overspending.

Sterling looks set to play a pivotal part in holiday choice in the coming months, based on the findings of the 18th annual Holiday Money Report from Post Office Travel Money. 

That report reveals that 90%  of the Post Office’s 30 bestselling currencies are currently weaker against sterling than a year ago, resulting in price falls in many of the world’s most popular destinations—especially long-haul resorts and cities.

Research for the Post Office Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer (part of the Holiday Money Report) found that prices for meals, drinks and other tourist items have fallen since last year in 25 of the 40 resorts and cities surveyed. However, the strength of the sterling, rather than the prices charged in restaurants, bars, and shops abroad, will make many destinations cheaper for British visitors.

The barometer research reveals year-on-year local price rises for tourist commodities in four out of five destinations. However, once these prices are converted to sterling, holidaymakers can expect to pay less than a year ago when visiting 19 long-haul destinations and six European ones. 

Vietnam a price paradise

For the first time, Vietnam tops the chart. In Hoi An, a 14.4% price fall has been achieved through lower restaurant and bar charges and a sizeable drop in the value of the Vietnamese dong. 

At GBP51.18 for a barometer basket consisting of a range of drinks, a three-course meal for two with wine, sunscreen and insect repellent, Hoi An has leapfrogged last year’s leaders to rise from sixth to first place in the worldwide barometer. It has done so because it is one of only eight destinations to combine a reduction in local prices with falling currency values.

In common with Vietnam, Japan is another Asian destination benefiting from a significant rise in sterling’s value combined with a fall in local prices. Tokyo has moved up four places to fourth after seeing barometer costs plummet by 16.2% to £59.05.

In eighth place, prices in Bali (Kuta) are down 6.7% to GBP63.31.

Bottom of the table  

At the bottom of the barometer table, Tamarindo in Costa Rica is the most expensive destination, based on the eight items. At GBP158, prices have risen significantly in recent years – up 13.2% year-on-year. The same applies to Cancun, Mexico, once in the best value top 10 but now down to 33rd place after a price rise of 16.7% to £127.10, primarily due to the strength of the Mexican peso.

Prices in resorts and cities are among the biggest concerns for holidaymakers planning trips abroad. In consumer research conducted for the Holiday Money Report, 84% of them – rising to 89% of family travellers said that costs for items like meals and drinks would be one of their biggest considerations when choosing their holiday destination. Even more, 90% of Britons planning overseas holidays were concerned about overspending their budget.

Post Office Travel Money head Laura Plunkett said: “The barometer results make it clear how important it will be this year to consider how sterling’s strength has impacted individual destinations. Holidaymakers intending to travel long haul can expect to get more for their money because the pound has gained ground in most destinations. By comparison, sterling’s gain against the euro has been more modest, so it will pay to compare eurozone destinations to see which offer the cheapest prices. Portugal and Cyprus look the best choices for bargain hunters.”

Despite concerns about holiday costs, half (51%) of Britons told Post Office researchers that they intend to travel abroad this year – rising to 58% of younger people aged between 16 and 34. More revealingly, three in five (60%) of them have already booked their holiday – although almost a quarter (23%) are waiting to book in the hope of bagging a discounted late package.

The research confirms that holidays abroad are a priority for many Britons. Half (51%) of those planning overseas travel admit that they will have to dip into savings to fund their trip abroad, while a quarter (25%) will reduce spending on other areas to afford the holiday – 12% delaying plans for home improvements or car purchases.

*40 destinations were surveyed for the Post Office Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer, compiled with the help of national and local tourist boards (Marmaris info for Marmaris, Turkey). Eight items — a three-course meal for two with a bottle of house wine, a cup of coffee, a bottle of local beer, a can of cola, a glass of wine, a bottle of still water, suncream and insect repellent — were selected as representative of the purchases UK tourists are likely to make and Post Office researchers cross-checked prices.

For a full breakdown of costs, go to 


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