Families save more on half-term holidays

Family on beach

The average total cost of a half-term holiday has fallen by almost 5% as a result of the strong pound, according to new research.

M&S Bank has revealed that in this May's half term, a family of four will spend 4.8% less year on year, and that money-conscious families can save almost £900 for a week in the sun by picking different holiday destinations to the usual holiday hotspots in the same country.

Families can make the biggest savings by holidaying in Greece, the Canary Islands and Italy. For example, by taking a week's break in the Greek island of Thassos rather than going to Crete, a family of four could save £896, or £224 per person.

Meanwhile, a break in La Palma, in the Canary Islands, will cost £892 less than a trip to Lanzarote. For those who prefer a break in Italy, a holiday in Arzachena, in Sardinia, is £680 cheaper than flights and accommodation on the Amalfi coast.

La Palma is the cheapest overall holiday hotspot, at £1,872 (or £478 per person) for a week's break. The cost of the holiday - which includes seven nights' three-star accommodation, flights, dinner, spending money and one activity - has dropped by £110 a year, saving families 5.6%.

For families planning to take a city break during half term, a trip to Barcelona offers the biggest drop in prices, with the overall cost falling by 8.4% from £2,733 to £2,504. It also offered the cheapest flights, at £250 per person.

The cheapest accommodation could be found in Nessebar in Bulgaria where a family room for two adults and two children costs £203 a week, while the Greek island of Thassos was the cheapest for what families spent while they were at the resort.

Thinking outside the box

Paul Stokes, head of products at M&S Bank, said: "Families looking to book a half-term holiday this May will already benefit from lower prices, thanks to the strong performance of the pound against many foreign currencies this year. Those heading to eurozone destinations will find their money stretches even further with sterling gaining 14.3% against the euro since this time last year.

"However, families can significantly cut the cost of their holiday even further by thinking outside the box and choosing alternative destinations, which are perhaps a little less well known to some of the more popular resort areas. Taking exchange rates into account and shopping around for the best deal will help families to get even more from their travel money this half-term."

Paul's has the following travel money tips:

  • Always check whether an alternative destination in the same country could be more affordable - being flexible with your holiday plans could result in big savings.
  • 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, remember to take extra money for taxis, tipping and other extras.
  • Check if you can buy tickets for activities you're planning cheaper in advance.
  • Don't expect internet rates if buying travel money in store; many providers have different rates online and some change their rate throughout the day.
  • Don't order your holiday money at the last minute; airport bureaux often offer less competitive rates and may not have a wide variety of note denominations.
  • Always take both travel money and a credit/debit card to make sure you have multiple methods of payment.

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