Costs of half-term getaways soar

Mother and child enjoy a half-term getaway

Taking the kids away this October half-term is 11% more expensive than the same time last year, according to research from M&S Bank.

The bank’s research found that the cost of getting some autumnal sun had risen in seven out of the 10 destinations covered by its survey.

However, while costs were up overall, the fact that sterling is up 9.1% on the euro over the last year means that some European destinations are still offering good value to UK holidaymakers.

According to M&S the most affordable destination is Malta where a family of four can get away for £1,872 – £84 less than the same time last year. Last year’s most affordable getaway, Menorca, came in second at £1,936 for the same family – up £124 on last year.

The cost of holidaying in the Greek island Crete has fallen by 20% over the last year, and at £1,940 for a week it comes in as the third most affordable destination.

But if sun is your priority you may want to jet off to Cyprus, which came in fourth in the survey and promises the best weather. Families can enjoy 10 hours of sun a day and average temperatures of 22 degrees for £2,588.

For higher temperatures still, families will have to head further afield and fly long haul. During October the mercury is likely to hit an average of 27 degrees in Antigua and Barbados and so unsurprisingly these two destinations were the first and second most expensive in the survey. The cost of a holiday for four to Barbados was up by 47% to £6,336, an increase that was largely led by rising flight prices. M&S said it believed increased demand was driving up the price of a seat on a plane.

Paul Stokes, head of products at M&S Bank, said: “Families that are prepared to be flexible in where they go this half term can still find some savings, particularly in Europe where the pound remains strong against the euro.

“Taking exchange rates into account and shopping around for the best deals will help families get even more from their travel money.”

Stokes has the following tips to help holidaymakers get best value:

• Be flexible and consider flights leaving at less sociable hours

• Use comparison sights to compare the costs of travel and accommodation

• Plan a holiday budget factoring in all those extras like taxis, tipping and meals out

• Do your research to see if advance booking will save you money on tours and activities

• Shop around for currency and bear in mind that some providers offer different rates for those buying in store and those ordering online

• Get your currency in advance – airport bureaux can be expensive and may not have a wide choice of note denominations.

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