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Where to get the cheapest fuel in Europe

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Over two-in-five of holiday motorists are unaware of new rules of the road in top destinations | Photo: Dan Gold

A third of Britons visiting Europe this year plan to drive while on holiday – either in their own car or in a rental vehicle, according to the Post Office Travel Money Motoring on the Continent report . Published for the first time since the Covid pandemic, the new report reveals that the crude oil crisis means holiday motorists will face pump price rises in 15 of the 17 countries surveyed for the report2. It also found that over two-in-five of them are unaware of new European road rules and risk big fines.

France, Spain and Italy are the top choices for holiday motoring, according to consumer research conducted for the report4. Of these three favourites, drivers will fare best in Spain where the average pump price of £1.40 per litre made it fourth cheapest in the survey for unleaded petrol and 4p lower than in the UK (£1.44). The £1.25 cost of diesel is 21p less a litre than in the UK, making it second cheapest in the survey.

Over one-in-five (21 per cent) will drive in France but high prices at the pumps make it one of the most expensive countries for fuel, at £1.62 for unleaded petrol and £1.47 for diesel. The same is true of Italy, where unleaded petrol costs £1.62 a litre and £1.49 for diesel. However, Andorra, a useful detour enroute to Spain, is cheapest of all for unleaded petrol (£1.23) and diesel fuel (£1.10).

Although fuel costs across Europe have fallen from the record levels they reached over the past year and sterling is at a 2023 high against the euro, pump prices are higher in almost 90 per cent of the countries surveyed than in 2019, when the pricing comparison was last conducted. The biggest percentage rise of over 31 per cent is in Switzerland, priciest for diesel fuel at £1.76 a litre and expensive for unleaded petrol at £1.66 (15thof 17 countries). Prices have also risen significantly in Luxembourg at £1.41p (+29.4 per cent) for unleaded petrol and £1.26 (+29.9 per cent) for diesel – although it remains one of the cheapest places to fill up.

In better news for the holiday motorist, fuel prices have fallen in Portugal. 1,000 miles of motoring will cost £224.11 using unleaded petrol and £196.14 for diesel. At £1.48 a litre for unleaded petrol, this represents a fall of 1p (0.7 per cent) since 2019, while diesel also costs 1p (0.8 per cent) less at £1.29. The cost of unleaded petrol has also fallen 1p a litre to £1.59 in the Netherlands.

Closer to home, Ireland emerges from the pump price comparison as one of the cheapest place to fill up with either unleaded petrol – £1.38 per litre/£209.79 for 1,000 motoring miles, second only to Andorra – or diesel fuel – £1.28/£194.47 for 1,000 miles, fourth cheapest in the survey. Prices have risen by just over four per cent and are lower for both fuels than in the UK.

Ireland is one of 14 countries where motorists driving a diesel car will pay considerably less than for unleaded petrol, a trend picked up in previous reports. The only exceptions are Sweden, where diesel fuel costs 14p more a litre, Switzerland where it is 10p more expensive and the UK where motorists will pay an average of 2p a litre extra. By contrast, Britons will pay 32p less a litre to drive a diesel car than an unleaded petrol one in Denmark, 27p less to do so in Greece and 25p less in the Netherlands.

As Britons gear up to drive abroad, a wave of low emission zones are coming into force across Europe this summer, which, if flouted, could result in costly fines. Post Office research found that 43 per cent of Britons planning trips are unaware of low emission zone restrictions in top destinations like France and Spain where they are most likely to drive. Over half (52 per cent) were unaware of daily entry fees and permits required in many cities and 58 per cent did not know about the requirement to display windscreen stickers showing the emissions levels of their vehicle. In France ‘Crit Air’ emission stickers must be displayed and if not could result in fines of €68-€135.

42 per cent of those planning to drive in Europe did not realise that speeding can carry spot fines. Yet almost one-in-five (19 per cent) admitted having incurred spot fines for speeding or violating other travel regulations on past trips to Europe. Similar numbers (18 per cent) said they had been given ULEZ-style fines for contravening low emission zone regulations and 47 per cent were unaware that those with a paper driving licence issued before 31 March 2000 will need an international driving permit.

“With flight costs reported to be soaring, it is understandable that so many Britons have decided to drive to Europe this summer. However, it is worrying that many people have not realised that driving laws have changed since their last trip and they could be risking big fines if they don’t learn the rules of the road. Popular destinations like France and Spain have long been operating spot fines so it is crucial for holiday motorists to carry foreign currency with them in case they are stopped for speeding or falling foul of new rules.

“Our pump price research found that the cost of filling up in Europe can vary by as much as £100 so we advise planning driving routes carefully before setting out to keep costs down. Save money by diverting from the motorway and trunk roads into local towns. Supermarket prices will be cheaper than on the roadside, just as they are here in the UK. Remember to carry some foreign currency as not all petrol stations in rural locations accept plastic”, says Laura Plunkett, Head of Travel Money at Post Office.

Tips for driving across Europe

  • Get to know the new motoring rules that apply in the countries where you plan to drive.
  • Carry foreign cash to deal with speeding or parking fines or to pay for fuel.
  • Check the level of breakdown assistance cover you have for driving in Europe.
  • Check fuel costs in the countries where you plan to drive and plan detours to save cash.
  • Avoid filling up on the motorway – divert to a local town and get supermarket fuel.
  • Make sure your driving licence is legal in Europe and get an international permit if not.

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Travel

Baros Maldives appoints new PR agency in the UK

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Baros Maldives appoints new PR Agency in the UK
Maldives is experiencing a significant increase in tourism and celebrated a record 12% increase in arrivals last year

Global independent marketing and communications agency, FINN Partners, has been appointed by Baros Maldives and Milaidhoo Maldives to lead on PR and digital services, in the United Kingdom.

FINN Partners communications strategy will focus on tactics that will generate coverage and awareness to showcase the independent, locally and family-owned properties, highlighting what sets them apart from other resorts in the Maldives. 

“With the UK being an important market for us, we look forward to working with FINN Partners to help build brand awareness in the UK for both Baros and Milaidhoo Maldives, by bringing to life the uniqueness of each property and what sets both resorts apart from other luxury resorts in the Maldives,” says Visha Mahir, Chief Operating Officer at Universal Resorts Management.

Maldives is home to 176 resorts and over 800 guesthouses. According to  the Ministry of Tourism, the country is experiencing a significant increase in tourism and celebrated a record 12% increase in arrivals last year.

“Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, it’s an honour to be representing Baros Maldives, ‘The Maldives Icon’. We very much look forward to communicating the private island resorts truly authentic Maldivian offerings to media. We are also excited to showcase how Milaidhoo Maldives, set in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, embraces a contemporary way of living the Maldivian heritage and culture complemented by a wide range of curated meaningful experiences on offer to guests in addition to exceptional cuisine, personalised service, and attention to detail,” says Debbie Flynn, Managing Partner and Global Travel Practice Leader, FINN Partners.

The FINN Partners UK Travel portfolio also includes destinations such as Italy, Greater Palm Springs, The Bahamas and brands including Travelzoo, Intrepid and Accor. 

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Searches for ‘quiet life’ soars by 530%

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a female solo traveler in a mountain trip
The quest for a more serene lifestyle is on the rise, a recent report by Pinterest reveals | Photo: Artur Voznenko

Searches for enigmatic destinations are rising as travellers crave places promising a blend of wonder, adventure and the unexplored, according to a recent Pinterest Summer 2024 Travel Report.

With over one billion travel-related searches and over 10 billion travel saves in one year, the platform has become a source of inspiration for those planning a future trip.

8 out of 10 weekly Pinterest users turn to Pinterest when planning their summer escapades. Since last year, searches for ‘travel vision board’ and ‘packing guide’ have skyrocketed by 210% and 480% respectively as travellers curate their bucket lists and gear up for unforgettable journeys. 

However travellers are not looking only for adventurous things to do while on vacation.

The quest for a quieter, more serene lifestyle is on the rise, with searches for ‘quiet life’ soaring by 530% according to a report by Pinterest. As the longing for simplicity has extended to travel, since 2023, searches for ‘quiet places’ and ‘calm places’ have increased by 50% and 42% respectively. Pinners are searching for digital detox travel: many sought-after nature destinations offer a respite from the constant buzz of connectivity and digital distractions, providing a much-needed break. Solo travel emerges as a liberating choice, granting individuals the freedom to craft their itinerary, pace and priorities without compromise. Whether basking in the tranquillity of a secluded beach or meandering through serene countryside landscapes, these experiences contribute to self-care and overall well-being. Increase in specific searches include solo travel (up +35%), glamping aesthetic (+260%), Cabin in the mountains (+180%), Village vibes (+145%), Island life (+30%), and searches for national parks, which increased +250% since last year.

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Britons holidaying abroad are getting more value for money

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A elderly British couple holidaying abroad.
Sterling has strengthened in value against 21 popular currencies over the past 12 months | Photo: Vidar Nordli-Mathisen

Strong currency performance puts more cash in pockets of Britons holidaying abroad

Rising rates for sterling mean holidaymakers can look forward to getting more for their money in the vast majority of holiday destinations this year, according to new exchange rate analysis by Post Office Travel Money for its regular Holiday Money Index survey of currency rates and sales trends.

Sterling has strengthened in value against 21 of Post Office Travel Money’s 25 bestselling holiday currencies over the past 12 months but the amount by which Britons can hope to benefit varies quite significantly from one destination to another. While Britons can expect to receive 3.8 per cent more than a year ago when changing their pounds into euros and 5.5 per cent more US dollars, they will get far more for their money when visiting Turkey, Kenya and Japan.

The Exchange Rate Monitor, published as part of the Holiday Money Index, reveals that Britons visiting Turkey will currently get around 73 per cent more liras for the pounds than a year ago – the equivalent of almost £211 extra on a £500 currency purchase. This rises to 113.5 per cent – or £266 extra – over two years.

Sterling has also gained almost 21 per cent in value against the Kenyan shilling and 15.7 per cent against the Japanese yen compared with a year ago. Although the dramatic fall in value of the Egyptian pound reported in last year’s Holiday Money Index has bottomed out, it is still 6.3 per cent weaker than last March. Cumulatively, this means visitors will receive around £234 (88 per cent) more on a £500 currency transaction now than two years ago.

There have also been sizeable sterling gains against the currencies for a trio of the most popular destinations for UK holidaymakers – Prague (Czech Republic: +12.7 per cent), Thailand (Thai baht: +9.9 per cent) and South Africa (South African rand: +9.2 per cent), while Britons visiting friends and family in Australia will get 8.5 per cent more holiday cash for their pounds.

Only four currencies – the Polish zloty, Mexican peso, Costa Rican colon and Swiss franc – have gained ground against sterling. The pound’s biggest fall of 4.3 per cent year-on-year has been against the Polish zloty, although this is eclipsed by two year losses of over 20 per cent against the Costa Rican colon and Mexican peso.

Sterling’s current buoyancy against most leading holiday currencies – including the euro and US dollar – provides a great incentive for Britons considering trips abroad in the coming months. Most currencies have weakened against the pound in the past year, and many of these are for destinations that traditionally offer the cheapest prices for meals, drinks and other tourist staples. Good examples of this range from Turkey and the Czech Republic in Europe to Kenya, Thailand and Vietnam further afield,” says Laura Plunkett, Head of Travel Money at Post Office.

The latest analysis of currency sales by Post Office Travel Money, which accounts for one-in-four of all UK foreign exchange transactions, reveals that sales of 16 of its 20 bestselling currencies have risen over the past 12 months (February 2023-January 2024). It also observes that many of these currencies are continuing to show marked growth in 2024 to date.

Reviewing sales for January 2024, Post Office Travel Money reports that Caribbean currencies have seen the most dramatic year-on-year growth among its 20 bestselling currencies. In particular, it found that East Caribbean and Barbados dollar purchases rocketed by 103 per cent and 64 per cent respectively in January – outperforming growth levels by rival destinations in the Far East.

However, taking at the year as whole, seven Far Eastern currencies dominate the top 10 chart of Post Office Travel Money’s currencies showing the greatest levels of growth. The biggest percentage sales increase was for the Chinese yuan, which recorded a spectacular 573 per cent year-on-year rise, albeit against very low sales the previous year when visits to China were off limits.

The euro and US dollar remain by far the most popular holiday currencies, topping the chart for the past year as they have consistently done – and a sales increase of nine per cent in January made the euro the 10th fastest growing currency for that month.

Demand for aspirational destinations is also particularly strong. Both the Australian dollar, third in the Post Office bestsellers top 10, and New Zealand dollar, ninth in the table, have built on the exceptional currency growth seen a year ago when Australia and New Zealand re-opened to international visitors.

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