The holiday treats that are twice as pricey in some spots
HOLIDAY expenses can be twice as much in some locations as others – it all depends on where you go.
A survey of costs at destinations popular with Irish holidaymakers found that typical day-to-day expenses, such as meals, drinks and suncream, vary enormously.
Bulgaria, Turkey and Spain's Costa del Sol came out as the cheapest sun destinations, at only around half the cost of Sorrento in Italy for a basket of tourist expenses, according to a survey by the UK Post Office.
The price of dinner out for two with wine came to €60 in Sorrento, compared with €30 or less in Spain and Portugal.
Meanwhile, a bottle of local beer would cost you €3.80 on the French Riviera, compared with just €1.50 in Portugal or €2 in Spain.
Bulgaria came out as the cheapest sun destination of all, yet Irish travel agents said it was not very popular with Irish holidaymakers.
However, the second-cheapest holiday hotspot, Turkey, has become one of our biggest package holiday destinations.
The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) said that holiday bookings had been quiet in recent weeks due to good weather over Easter, with the upcoming local and European elections also distracting consumers from holiday planning.
However, ITAA chief executive Pat Dawson said that while the number of package holidays on offer has plummeted to a quarter of its 2007 level of 1.2 million, there was increasing demand for "dynamic packages".
These involve travel agents tailor-making packages for customers using scheduled flights and specialist industry hotel booking sites, he explained.
The packages save passengers a lot of time trawling sites themselves as well as protection and assistance if anything goes wrong.
"We would expect May to be very busy with bookings, as there is greater capacity on flights and there's great deals with airlines such as the current Aer Lingus sale," said Mr Dawson.
Aer Lingus is offering up to 50pc off flights to Europe booked by May 11 for travel between June and December.
While last year's heatwave in Ireland caused last-minute bookings and prices to plummet as consumers enjoyed blistering sunshine at home, it would be a very big gamble to expect such exceptional weather two years in a row, said Tanya Airey of Sunway Travel.
Their bookings were quite strong already, but as always the weather over the coming months would determine how the season panned out and whether discount deals were available for late bookers.
"However, family bookings remain strong and there's a lot of people who because they didn't travel away last year, are saying that this year they will definitely take a holiday abroad," she said.