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Revealed: Where the cool crowd are going on holiday

16 Jul 2018

70% say New York is coolest overseas getaway, followed by Iceland, and South America

80% believe a cool destination needs to have a different culture

first direct bank finds this year’s ‘coolest’ getaway destinations don’t need to be off the beaten track or even the best value, but they do need to have a different culture.

While New York has been voted the world’s hippest holiday destination this year, it’s followed by Iceland, South America (generally), and Paris. But while some destinations are on the up, Brits have labelled traditional party hotspots such as Ibiza and Marbella as ‘not cool’.

One reason could be that eight out of 10 holiday-makers in the UK now claim they’d prefer to get up at 5am than fall into bed at 5am, with only one third saying the chance to party influenced their choice of holiday destination.

What makes a cool destination?

The research from first direct found going somewhere desirable is important for millions of Brits. One third say they want others to think they’re going somewhere enviable on holiday, and nearly half (45%) want family and friends to be jealous of their holiday destination.

80% of Brits think a destination has to have a completely different culture in order to be considered cool. Sought after holiday destinations are those with a strong selection of unique activities and attractions (80%), but also need to be attracting great reviews from travel writers and other influencers (72%).

For those also factoring in how to get away from other tourists and enjoy value for money then Iceland and Cuba score highly, although Argentina in South America offers the best value for Brits with the Argentinian Peso falling over 70% against the Pound in the last 12 months.

According to the survey, the top 10 coolest destinations are:




Value for money**


New York








South America
























South of France







*How many non-domestic tourists visited in 2017

**GBP appreciation vs local currency in last 12 months (source: first direct )

*** Argentina +70.55%, Brazil +20.67%


Joe Gordon, Head of first direct , said: “Being off the beaten track or offering value for money doesn’t have an impact on whether somewhere is a cool holiday destination. Holiday-makers told us different cultures and finding places to stay and see that others haven’t experienced yet is key to having a good time on holiday.

“Wherever people go on holiday, making sure you have arranged your travel money in before you leave, means you can focus on enjoying being in the moment more.”

Planning is key

Holiday hotspots may change, but good planning remains key to making the most of your time away.

Almost a third (31%) of all British travellers claim they use a spreadsheet to plan every aspect of their holiday. This doubles for millennials, who say they have to plan carefully because they have a budget to stick to, compared to 45% of over 55s. 

To help make the financial side of holiday planning worry-free, first direct has the following tips:

It is usually cheaper to get your travel money sorted before you go, and banks like first direct can deliver it to your door.

A third of us rely on debit and credit cards while abroad, but when in the Eurozone remember to pay in the local currency, not sterling if given the option

Check your European Health Insurance Card is valid, and make sure you’ve taken out the right travel insurance and get it when you book your holiday

Download a budgeting app before you go to make sure you don’t overspend, and don’t forget you can use your smartphone as an instant translator

Make sure your smartphone data allowance will cover you while you’re abroad and, as 60% of us worry about not having wi-fi, download a wi-fi finder app

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