If you thought the strong pound would save you a packet this half term, you’re in for a nasty surprise, because a new survey has revealed that seven out of ten family holidaysare more expensive this half term than they were at the same time last year. Fortunately, you can beat the price hike.
The findings came from M&S Money, which found that overall prices were up 11.2%, and had risen in seven out of ten popular winter sun destinations. It feels counter-intuitive given the fact that the pound is so much stronger than this time last year – and has risen over 9% against the euro.
One of the most striking rises is in Tenerife, where the average cost of a return flight for a family of four has more than doubled in a year, from £1,020 in 2014, to £2,148. As a result, the total cost of a family holiday has risen from £1,800 to £2,804 this half-term; an increase of 56%.
The price hike is likely to be a result of the fact that overall more favourable economic conditions have persuaded more people that they can afford to go away. This increase in demand has pushed up the prices of flights and accommodation.
What can you do?
The good news is that if you are prepared to be flexible, there are some bargains to be had. The most affordable half-term holiday destination is Malta, costing a family of four £1,872, or £468 per person, a saving of £84 compared to last year.
The biggest price drop has been seen in holidays to Crete – overall the third cheapest popular destination. A holiday for a family of four in the popular Greek island will cost £1,940, down by £476 or 20% since 2014.
The top five most affordable destinations were named as:
1. Malta (£468 per person)
2. Menorca (£484)
3. Crete (£485)
4. Cyprus (£647)
5. Madeira (£688)
The study added that of all of the top five, Cyprus typically has the sunniest weather – with an average temperature of 22 degrees in October.
Five steps to cheaper half term travel
1. Paul Stokes, Head of Products at M&S Bank, says that you should be prepared to be flexible – flights leaving at less sociable hours or during week days, rather than weekends, could prove cheaper.
2. You should also use a comparison site to compare the price of flights and accommodation. Aggregation sites like Kayak.co.uk can scan far more holidays than you would ever have time to check yourself.
3. Plan your holiday budget to work out how much your holiday will cost and how much travel money you will need. Even if you’re staying in half-board or all-inclusive accommodation, don’t forget to factor in currency for taxis, tipping and other extras
4. Stokes suggests that it’s worth finding out if you can buy tickets for activities you’re planning cheaper in advance. Many major attractions will offer up to 10% off for advance bookings.
5. Finally, don’t rely on internet rates to check the cost of buying travel money in-store; many providers have different rates online and some change their rate throughout the day. If you have enough time before you travel, you may get a better deal by ordering your money online than you will on the high street.