Average cost of family holiday up by six per cent on last year

But families can save over £1,700 off the cost of long haul destinations using budget-busting tips

M&S Bank reveals the Easter Holiday budget breakers


Research from M&S Bank examined which holidays ‘beat’ and which ‘broke’ the £2,991 average cost of a week’s family holiday, and found that holidaymakers will pay an average of six per cent, or £182, more this year than last Easter.


Despite the overall rise in the cost of a family holiday, six out of 10 destinations researched all beat the £2,991 budget – leaving families free to choose whether to bank the difference or upgrade their holiday with a few little treats.

Short haul budget beaters

Andalucía was found to be the most affordable destination this Easter at over £1,000 less than the average.  M&S Bank says that families travelling here for a week’s holiday could upgrade to business class flights, four star accommodation and a seven-day attraction pass, and would still spend less than the average budget.

Malta and Crete complete the top three most affordable holiday destinations this Easter, at £2,144 and £2,156 respectively – and are the only two destinations where a family of four can get flights for under £1,000. These budget-beating destinations would enable families to upgrade to a convertible or premium hire car and those heading to Greece could also enjoy a hotel upgrade.

Sun-seeking families heading to the Portuguese island of Madeira could upgrade to all-inclusive accommodation and hire a car for the week, adding nearly £500, but still coming under the average holiday budget.


Long haul budget breakers

Unsurprisingly destinations further afield are the definite ‘budget breakers’ this Easter with Cancun, Dubai, Punta Cana and Florida all costing more than the average week-long family holiday.

Florida comes in as the most expensive, at £5,628, followed by Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic (£4,696) and Dubai (£4,412).


However, families can still make significant savings, with some budget-busting cuts, including downgrading flights and / or accommodation, bringing the cost for Florida down to £3,934, Punta Cana down to £4,275 and Dubai down to £3,370.

Hover over bar chart to see the price increases

Liam O’Hara, Head of Network and Bureaux at M&S Bank said:

“The cost for a family getaway this Easter has risen by over £180 this year, partly due to the weakening of the pound against other currencies like the euro, where it has lost around 8.5 per cent of its value. However, there are still some affordable options left for those booking a family break. 

“Savvy families can trim nearly £1,700 off the cost of a holiday to Florida by opting for a flight with two stops instead of flying directly and downgrading to a two star hotel, bringing the cost down to £3,934.

“Similarly, families who opt for a flight to Dubai with one stop and have cheaper food for lunch, could save themselves over a grand on their holiday.”


Easter holiday ideas

Location2017 price per familyBudget beater or breaker? (£2,991)Upgrades/downgradesUpgraded/downgraded price
Andalucía (Spain)£1,964 BeaterUpgrade to a 4* hotel; Get a 7 day attraction; Upgrade to business class flights£2,988
Malta£2,144BeaterTake a private day tour; Hire a mini convertible for a week £2,981
Crete (Greece)£2,156 BeaterUpgrade to a 4* hotel; Hire a premium car for a week£2,991
Madeira (Portugal)£2,488 BeaterUpgrade to all-inclusive; Hire a mid-size car for a week£2,966
Lanzarote (Canary Islands)£2,516 BeaterTake a full day trip; Hire a mid-size car for a week£2,964
Paphos (Cyprus)£2,912 BeaterTake a trip to the local zoo; Money left over for drinks/snacks£2,953
Cancun (Mexico)£3,788 BreakerDowngrade to 2* accommodation; Take a cheaper day trip £3,510
Dubai (UAE)£4,412BreakerDowngrade to a flight with 1 stop; Have cheaper fast food for lunch£3,370
Punta Cana (Dominican Republic)£4,696BreakerDowngrade to a longer flight time; Downgrade to a 2* hotel; Downgrade to a shorter activity£4,275
Florida (USA)£5,628BreakerDowngrade to a flight with 2 stops; Downgrade to a 2* hotel £3,934

How to cut costs

Follow Liam’s travel money top tips:

  • Try to be flexible with flight times, an indirect, night or weekday flight (if possible) could prove cheaper
  • Check  comparison sites to compare the price of flights and accommodation before booking
  • Always set a budget and remember to factor in travel money for snacks, excursions, taxis, tips and other costs, even if you are travelling half-board or all-inclusive
  • Research to find out if buying tickets in advance and online, such as attraction passes, is any cheaper than waiting until you arrive
  • Don’t rely on internet rates if buying travel money in-store; many providers have different rates online and some change their rate throughout the day
  • Don’t leave your holiday money until 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 ensure you have multiple methods of payment

In resort costs

M&S Bank didn’t just look at the flights and accommodation, they looked into the whole holiday.

While speaking to the John Guinn Travel Show about M&S Bank’s research, travel writer Jill Starley-Grainger said:

“When you’re at the destination, restaurants, bars, activities, etc., they are still the same price that they were before, but now it is costing you a lot more to spend that money.”

Jill Starley-Grainger

Cheap flights

Jill said that last minute holiday deals are a thing of the past, but it is not impossible to find bargains after carrying out online research.

“I would always check the top flight comparison websites. I check a few of them because it only takes a few minutes.

“Each of the flight comparison websites pulls in different information from different airlines. Then if you’re checking two or three of them, you can be sure that you’re getting the best deal”


Jill suggests:


Accommodation deals

Jill also has tools to find accommodation prices, she said:

“I check Trivago, which is the leading hotel comparison website. Now Trivago pulls in hotels from hotels.com, booking.com, all of the big hotel booking sites.”


Just like with flight comparison sites where you don’t book with them, Trivago shows you where the best deals are and doesn’t book them.


Last minute hotel rooms

Jill uses apps for last minute hotel bookings, she said:

“There’s an app called Hotels Tonight, and it’s really good at bringing up bargain hotels very close to the time of departure.

“You do it on your phone and it’s very easy to use.”

Hotels.com has a similar app. Jill also had some mapping suggestions. Using data on your phone overseas can be expensive, so she recommends Navmii and Sygic which allows users to download maps onto their phones with can be used offline.


Tourist boards

Another way to save money in resort is to check the tourist board websites.

“A lot of people don’t do that as maybe they don’t think of it, or that they think it’s a waste of time.

“In many cases, if there is a good tourist board website they will have deals and discounts for 2for1 entry at various attractions or deals for meals, etc.

“It is always worth taking a quick check. Just Google your destination tourist board.”

Jill nearly always avoids the city passes that some boards sell as they are not always the bargain they seem. She advises travellers to check them thoroughly to see that the pass is relevant, and don’t have difficult to meet conditions, such as visiting five attractions in one day.

Mobile phones

If you do need to take your phone away with you, make sure that roaming is disabled. However, there is one phone company that Jill feels offers great value.

“One thing that is great about 3 Mobile is that they have this ‘Feel at Home’ deal, which you get to use your minutes when you are abroad.”

For those who are not with 3 Mobile, the do have sim cards with roaming deals which can be used in unlocked phones.


For more tips on money or travel ideas follow Jill and M&S Bank on Twitter