As the New Year settles in and the credit crunch continues to loom, travellers have resolved to set a new trend with mid-haul destinations serving as the industry’s new black.
According to Cheapflights.co.uk, when it comes to travel in 2009, Brits are forgoing the long and the short of it for somewhere down the ‘mid’ instead.
Cheapflights’ viewer searches show the top five mid-haul favourites to be:
2) Sharm El Sheikh
With celeb Kylie Minogue having just opened Dubai’s Atlantis Palm Jumeirah Hotel, attracting the likes of Charlize Theron, Mischa Barton, Catherine Zeta Jones and hubby Micheal Douglas, Dubai is more firmly on the tourist map than ever before.
So it’s no wonder that searches to this star studded destination rose by 30% in 2008, making it ideal for a credit crunch free escape.
But how much bang will you really get for your buck if you go non Euro? The answer lies in comparing like with like. For example, the price of beer in somewhere like Dalaman would cost 1.55 Euro (£1.40) where as in Barcelona, it goes up to 2.5 Euro (£2.25), nearing double the cost.*
Another good example of outer Euro zone bargains is a comparison between the price of a taxi ride in the zone and a taxi ride elsewhere. To use Barcelona again, a ‘cheap’ 30-40 minute ride runs up 18 Euro (£16.23) on the meter.
By comparison, a full hour taxi ride in somewhere like Dubai would cost 30 Dirhams, which is equivalent to roughly 6 Euro (£5.41) and a full day’s taxi service in Sharm El Sheikh would cost about 8 Euro (£7.21).**
Among the rising destinations of choice with Cheapflights.co.uk’s viewers is Muscat, Oman’s capital city which is fast becoming a hotspot for tourists. Its nature, comprising mountains, lakes and long stretches of white sandy beach is stunning and offers a different holiday experience. It also offers world class hotels, beach resorts, and cultural attractions like the museum of Bait Al Zubair and the Al Alam Palace.
A day tour by car or minibus in Muscat costs around 30 Omani Riyals, equivalent to 16 Euro (£14.43).
Taxis, on the other hand, are not metered, so travellers should be prepared to bargain and do local research before flagging one down. Flights to Oman start from just £265.
A destination not currently on the ‘it list’ but very much in line for it, is Abu Dhabi. “Our viewer searches to Abu Dhabi show a five percent increase compared with last year and although its plans for development will go on for quite a while yet, Abu Dhabi is definitely hot on the heels of its neighbour state Dubai with upcoming cultural attractions like satellite museums of the Louvre and the Guggenheim in addition to world class dining and luxurious beach resorts,” says Hallak, travel expert for Cheapflights.co.uk.
So travellers who are making plans for their next holiday, might want to consider the mid-haul option which can save them money rather than a Euro zone holiday.
Hallak said: “According to our user search patterns, although the old Euro zone favourites remain popular despite the Pound being so weak against the Euro, travel patterns are shifting to more adventurous pastures.
“These are located along the shores of the Middle East and North Africa where the Pound still carries more weight. It’s clear that people are keen not only to save money, but also to escape the credit crunch by continuing to take holidays while enriching their travel experience by trying something different.”