Looking for travel deals? Head to Asia for hotel bargains

London’s prices are falling down. But you’re still much further ahead if try Prague or Bangkok.

A new study of hotel prices by hotels.com shows that the Brexit vote has had an effect on hotel costs. The study found that Canadians last year paid an average of $254 a night for a hotel in London, England. That’s down 9% from the 2015 average price of $278.

Hotel prices in London have dropped, but it’s still relatively expensive for Canadians. JIM BYERS PHOTO

It’s a sizable drop, but $254 Cdn. per night is still a hefty price to pay for a night’s sleep. The hotels.com Hotel Price Index study found you’re much better off in Paris, where the average room last year cost $192. That’s down 7% from the previous year.

Here are a few other Europe hotel price figures you might want to think about. A room in Amsterdam cost $214 last year; $40 less than London. Barcelona was $50 cheaper than London, with an average price of $204 per night, and with much better weather than England.

Looking for even cheaper European spots? The average hotel price for Canadians in Berlin last year was $152; a full $102 cheaper than London. Athens was a buck behind at $151, while the lovely city of Prague was down at $144 per night, on average.

Hotel rooms in Athens are a fraction of what you’d pay in London, says hotels.com.

That’s worth thinking about for Canadians faced with a struggling currency. I haven’t been to Berlin, but I enjoyed Prague and always love getting out in the cafes and soaking up the history in Athens. An Athens’ trip also puts you close to many of the Greek Islands, and how good are they for a holiday?

I didn’t see prices listed for Lisbon or Porto, but I’ve found in the past that Portugal offers outstanding value for folks who want to visit Europe on a budget. Poland also comes up a lot in stories about the cheapest destinations in Europe. Warsaw is fairly modern but the photos I’ve seen of Krakow are stunning.

So you can definitely find value in Europe this summer. But if you REALLY want to save on your hotel costs (and food and attractions), try Southeast Asia. The hotels.com study found that Tokyo hotel prices averaged $194 last year, up 14%, while Singapore hotels averaged out at $185 (down 5%) and Hong Kong about even at $165; a very good rate for a fantastic destination with great culture, food and surprisingly great hiking and nature spots.

Way cheaper were Bangkok at $90 a night, Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) in Vietnam at $88 and Chiang Mai, Thailand at an average of just $67 per night.

A study from hotels.com says Canadians pay an average of just $90 a night for a hotel in Bangkok. – JIM BYERS PHOTO

I haven’t been to Ho Chi Minh City but I quite enjoyed my visit to Hanoi a few years ago. I’ve been to both Bangkok and Chiang Mai and loved the food, the temples and the energy in both destinations.

What’s that I hear you say? It costs too much to get to Asia? True, but you’ll more than make up for the extra flight costs with the savings on your hotel and food.

Let’s look at the math for a minute. You’ll probably pay $700 or more to fly to London or any place else in Europe from Toronto. Maybe even $1,000. I looked on skyscanner.ca this morning and found flights from Toronto to Bangkok in the $1,200 to $1,400 range.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume that a flight to Bangkok from Toronto costs $500 more than a flight to London (and it might be the same from Vancouver). Now let’s look at hotel prices. In Bangkok, you’d pay roughly $90 a night for your lodging, compared to $254 in London. With a differential of $164 dollars, you’d make up that $500 flight difference in just three nights. Over seven nights, you’d come out roughly $650 ahead by staying at a hotel in Bangkok instead of London. And then there’s the cheaper food and attractions and taxis and other things to take into account.

You WILL likely face longer flights, which isn’t much fun. But the savings can be huge.

I’m not dissing London. Or Amsterdam or even Singapore. They’re all wonderful destinations. But a trip to Asia, especially southeast Asia, might be a much better way to watch your pennies than a trip to traditional spots in Europe.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Katia 7 March 2017, 3:50 pm

    Hello Jim
    I´m thinking about traveling during Crhistmas and News Eve. Is it a good time to go to Vietnam?? Any sugestions ??

    • jimbyers 10 March 2017, 2:52 pm

      I honestly don’t know. It’s certainly not a Christian country so I don’t see that as an issue. I’d check the weather though, in case that’s the rainy season.

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