Go Stateside for best Christmas shopping bargains
There's still time to fill your stocking on a pre-Christmas shopping trip to the States, where plunging prices and a weakening dollar mean you should be able to pick up some festive bargains.
Holiday firm Hayes & Jarvis (www.hayesandjarvis.co.uk) says the U.S. offers better value for money than earlier in the year, pointing out that sterling has risen almost 25 per cent against the dollar since its low point in March this year.
Whereas New York is usually booked up at this time of the year, holiday firms say the recession combined with the credit crunch have left many rooms in the city empty.
Hayes & Jarvis, part of the TUI travel group which specialises in long-haul holidays, has a four-night package to New York from £502 per person, including accommodation and flights leaving next week.
If you can't squeeze in a pre-Christmas trip you can still bag some bargains in the January sales. New York is well known for its mega stores like Mac's and Bloomingdales, but other cities including Boston, Minneapolis and Philadelphia also boast fantastic shopping malls.
Other destinations that offer bargains for British travellers include Dubai and Hong Kong and any countries where the currency is linked to the U.S dollar, including many of the Caribbean islands like Antigua and St Lucia.
Places to avoid include most of those within the eurozone as the pound is continuing to struggle against the euro, though there has been a slight improvement in recent weeks.
This week, one pound would have bought $1.64, but only 1.09 euros, according to the currency website xe.com.