More than two thirds of Britons plan an overseas holiday this year despite the majority overspending last year to the tune of £1.97 billion or £100 each.
The statistics from Post Office Travel Money’s 2017 Holiday Spending Report predicts that Spain will be the destination of choice for almost a quarter of holidaymakers.
Dubai was again rated the worst value with only 44% of past visitors rating the emirate as good value and it fared worse still in the perception of those who had not visited (39%).
The majority (91%) of those who had visited the Spanish mainland previously on holiday rated it good value with 87% for the Balearic Islands.
But around two-in-five of those who had holidayed in France and a third who had been to Italy thought they offered poor value for money.
Despite attracting the worst value ratings in Europe, 18% of UK holidaymakers say they will travel to France and 17% will go to Italy, making them runners-up to Spain in popularity.
Just 2% plan to visit Sunny Beach or other Black Sea resorts in Bulgaria this year despite the country rated by the Post Office earlier this year as the best value in Europe.
Only three-quarters of holidaymakers who had visited Bulgaria before rated it good value – far fewer than for Greece (85%), Portugal (83%) or Turkey (86%).
This result came even though today’s research confirmed cost to be a priority for up to 87% of people, with flight and resort prices high on the list of concerns that determine holiday choice.
Busting the budget
Choosing a more expensive destination may help explain why almost seven-in-ten holidaymakers bust the budget they set for their last trip abroad.
While four-in-five holidaymakers said they set a budget for their last trip, less than a third (31%) stuck to it.
On a budget averaging £741 per couple, the Post Office found the remaining 69% overspent to the tune of £212 – 29% more than they planned.
Just 11% of those planning holidays abroad intend to increase their budget this year to make up for the fall in sterling despite the high level of overspending.
In addition to asking holidaymakers who had visited a range of 16 destinations to rate them as good or bad value, the Post Office also sought the opinions of those who had not visited them.
In several cases – notably Spain, Greece, Turkey, the Caribbean and the US – expectations of value were exceeded by actual experiences, with those who had visited destinations giving them far higher ratings than non-visitors.
For example, 64% of non-visitors thought the US would be good value but this rose for 78% of visitors.
Andrew Brown, of Post Office Travel Money, said: “Holidaymakers seem to bust their budgets year after year. The latest research findings suggest holidaymakers start with good intentions by setting a budget but then let go of the purse strings once they reach their resort.
“Careful budgeting will save money in the long run because there are so many ways in which tourists can fall prey to the holiday money trap.
“One in six complained about the charges they incurred by using plastic to get cash from an ATM abroad. Another one in six felt ripped off by charges made on credit and debit card payments in shops and restaurants. But the cost of meals and drinks can be a bigger pitfall.
“That’s why it is surprising to find that holidaymakers choose destinations where resort costs are pricy.
Most popular destinations
“Our advice to those who haven’t booked their trip yet is to do their homework by comparing our barometer costs and choosing a resort where living costs are low.”
• Of the 70 per cent of the 2,081 survey respondents planning trips abroad, the 10 most popular destinations are:
1. Mainland Spain 24%
2. France 18%
3. Italy 17%
4. US 16%
5. Canary Islands 11%
6. Portugal 10%
7. Greece 10%
8. Balearic Isles 9%
9. Caribbean 6%
10. Croatia 6%
• The Populus research found that the important factors in holiday choice are:
Cost of transport (i.e. international flights) 87%
Resort costs for meals, drinks and other tourist items 76%
Package holiday price discounts 68%
The strength or weakness of the pound 51%