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Should Brits remain loyal to the tourist hot-spots of Europe or embrace a long-haul love affair?


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The rising cost of travel in Europe has seen a shift in people considering further-afield destinations for their holidays. Backpacker favourites such as Thailand, Australia and India continue to grow in popularity. However, despite the attraction of far-flung destinations made famous by Instagram influencers, should package holidays to Spain, Italy and France remain an option?

While both options have their advantages, a recent study by TravelSupermarket found that it may be cheaper to take a two-week holiday to Thailand rather than to Palma Mallorca despite the 9577km distance between the two destinations.

Hence, it would seem unwise to many people not to opt for the cheaper and more exotic holiday.

Image credit: Tim Gouw on Unsplash

However, the changing patterns in the way that we travel have unintentional consequences. As far-flung travel becomes the new norm, could the beaches of Southeast Asia begin to resemble the Costa del Sol?

And how do you choose between short-distance and long-distance travel?

Long-distance travel

The appeal of unknown or hard-to-pronounce destinations nestled in a faraway country with palm-fringed beaches is undeniable.

Despite initially appearing cheaper, long-haul travel can turn out to be more expensive than short-haul travel when you consider that it may be necessary to purchase a more expensive travel insurance policy, visas or costly vaccinations.

Many destinations such as the UAE have very different cultures and customs which may impact how you want to spend your holiday. Furthermore, healthcare and legal infrastructures are not always to the same standard as in Europe.

If you are conscious of the environmental and social impact of your travel habits, you should also be aware that long-haul flights are more detrimental to the planet by contributing massively to carbon emissions. Alongside this, emerging tourist destinations often come hand-in-hand with exploitation in developing countries.

Short-distance travel

The close proximity of European countries to the United Kingdom makes them ideal for last-minute holidays or short breaks free from the headache of the planning that long-distance travel requires. All you need is your passport and you are ready to go!

In a matter of hours, you could be eating Pizza in Napoli, swimming in Greece's Aegean Sea or drinking beer in Munich.

Image credit: Tom Grimbert on Unsplash

In Europe, there are many different types of holidays right on our backdoor step: school leaver party package trips, adventure excursions in the Alps or laid-back weekend city breaks.

It may be cheap to reach your destination, but a trip to Europe can hit the wallet harder than anticipated. As home to some of the world's greatest cities and sights, Europe is naturally more expensive to visit.  The average cost for two nights accommodation in Paris is £171, significantly more expensive than in Bangkok where it will only set you back around £50. This excludes additional food and sightseeing costs.

The affordability and accessibility of package short-haul city breaks have had devastating consequences at some European destinations such as Venice, Barcelona and Amsterdam, which have suffered environmental damage due to over-tourism.

Long-distance and short-distance travel offer different experiences. While Europe is convenient for quick culture injections, far-away destinations allow for true escapism. However, whether the shift in interest to long-haul holidays is a temporary trend or reflective of how interconnected our world is today, it is important to consider the greater impact of our travel habits.

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