How to keep control of holiday spending

Planning to head overseas this year for a well-earned break? Despite best intentions, many of us could end up spending far more on holiday than we meant to, according to new research from Post Office Travel Money.
Three-quarters of holidaymakers say resort costs are a worry. Photograph: Getty ImagesThree-quarters of holidaymakers say resort costs are a worry. Photograph: Getty Images
Three-quarters of holidaymakers say resort costs are a worry. Photograph: Getty Images

With an average holiday spending budget of around £360 per person, to cover costs like meals, drinks and sightseeing, the survey found that over two-thirds of people who set a budget end up overspending anyway – typically to the tune of nearly £100 per person.

Here’s how to make sure your money goes far on holiday this year.

Find a place where prices remain low

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Three-quarters of holidaymakers say resort costs are a worry and help determine their choice of destination, the Post Office found. Their holiday costs barometer suggests Bulgaria’s Black Sea resorts are a good bet. Some part of Portugal also offers value, though the Algarve is on the rise.

Go where sterling is strongest

Sterling may still be weaker against the Euro than in recent years, but there are destinations where the pound will still pack a punch. Turkey is a good example, while the Dominican Republic is a good bet as its peso has dropped over 11 per cent against sterling since this time a year ago, according to the Post Office.

Take note of what other holidaymakers think

Places that have been tried and tested by others are a great way of finding value. In its consumer research, the Post Office found that 57 per cent of people had been to Spain on holiday, and nine in ten of them said it offered great value for money. Further afield, 80 per cent of past visitors to Thailand and the United States rated them good value.

Weigh up ‘all-inclusive’ packages

Three in ten holidaymakers are heading off on an all-inclusive package this year, the Post Office’s research found. But some who had been on all-inclusive trips previously said they were surprised about extra costs they ended up facing, with one in ten families saying not everything they’d thought was included ended up being covered. Some said they weren’t happy about having to pay for internet use, while others ventured out to restaurants, shops and bars outside the resort. Among those who had paid out for extras on their last all-inclusive holiday, they said an average of £112 per person had been spent.

Set a realistic budget

Be realistic about your costs, to avoid your budget spiralling out of control and potentially incurring extra fees to pay on plastic or withdrawing cash from an ATM. One solution could be to load money onto a pre-paid multi-currency card, which you could use for another trip elsewhere if you still have money left over after your holiday ends. If you do use plastic abroad, be wary about agreeing to pay in sterling when in shops or restaurants – as this could end up costing you more than if you paid in the currency for your holiday destination.

Try to resist pester power

Parents told the Post Office they spend an average of £170 on children’s beach items. Avoid pester power by setting the youngsters an up-front budget and letting them decide how to spend it.

Youngsters in for a rude awakening over finances

Children may be in for a shock when they eventually enter the world of work, – as youngsters are expecting to earn £1.5 million a year. There is also a gender gap, with boys expecting to pocket £2m a year, compared with £1.1m for girls, a survey of eight-to-15-year-olds from Halifax found.

Children are also vastly overestimating the current costs of everyday life, the poll found, with a loaf of bread being priced at £15, a pint of milk at £17, while cars were typically thought to cost £67,000. But their expectation of the cost of a house wasn’t too far off from reality (depending on where in the UK you live), coming in at £485,000, and they put a high value on their teachers, typically estimating they’re paid £110,000 a year. They may be disappointed by how long they’ll be working, however – according to the survey, on average, today’s youngsters are hoping to retire at 56.

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Internet users keep quiet rather than complaining about faults

Two-thirds of people experiencing internet problems have suffered in silence, rather than complain to their supplier, a study from has found. Despite not complaining, two-fifths of those who’ve had problems say outages or periods of slow speeds have impacted them. This could include making it harder to communicate with family and friends, not being able to access a key piece of information, or not being able to complete an important piece of work.

Parents omit travel insurance despite children falling ill

Nearly half of parents say they do not take out insurance for family holidays, despite more than a third having experienced a child falling ill or suffering an injury while away, a survey by Co-op Insurance has found.