The True Cost of a Summer Holiday

Summer is finally here which means many people will be jetting off into the sun for a relaxing trip abroad – or braving the unpredictable weather in the UK to holiday closer to home. There’s something wonderfully refreshing about getting away for a few weeks, but before you pack your bags and go, let’s delve a little closer into the true cost of a holiday. This isn’t to put you off, more to make you aware of how and where you spend your money and to help you budget using tools from the likes of MAS.

1. Pre-holiday spend
As if the cost of hotels, car hire, airport parking, plane tickets and other holiday essentials aren’t expensive enough, it seems the average UK holidaymaker spends a whopping £156 on pre-holiday essentials before they even leave home. According to research carried out by the Money Advice Service, UK adults wrack up such a bill on clothes, holiday products and beauty treatments to ensure they look and feel as good as possible during their vacation.
While it’s nice to feel beach-ready with a manicure or pedicure or to revamp your wardrobe ready for beach party or hotel BBQ, it’s important to factor these expenses into your overall holiday budget. If not, you might turn your trip into an adventure you can’t afford which will most certainly dampen your spirits.

2. Soaring prices
Recent rule changes have made it harder than ever for parents to take their kids on holiday during term time. This means that more and more families are forced to fly during the holidays which is when many travel companies, including airlines and hotels, hike up prices and cash in on this busy period.
In fact, the cost of staying at many top resorts in the UK not only doubles during peak times, but can even triple with term-time versus school holiday comparison charts revealing startling price jumps. While there is pressure being put on both the government to change their ‘no holiday rule’ and on holiday companies to lower fees during key times, families still face high costs if they want a week or two away.

3. Credit card fees
Paying for a holiday on your credit card might seem like a great idea, particularly if you’re short of cash and there are many good reasons for using plastic to seal the deal. Firstly, you’ll be able to spread out the cost into manageable amounts. Secondly, under the terms of section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, credit cards offer enhanced purchase protection for anything you buy that costs between £100 and £30,000 giving you peace of mind that should something go wrong the credit card issuer is equally liable. Thirdly, some credit cards offer cashback incentives and rewards helping you enjoy an array of bonuses and treats – especially if you spend a lot.
That said, you must be aware of the cons such as high interest rates and processing fees.
If you fail to pay your monthly instalments in full, for instance, you could be hit with a hefty interest charge. Similarly, if you only pay the minimum amount back per month, your holiday could end up costing a fortune due to interest – far more than you would have shelled out if you paid up front.

The true cost of a summer holiday can be quite daunting, but in reality you can lower prices by being a savvy spender. Setting a budget, keeping your eyes out for deals and avoiding credit cards with high interest rates will all bring costs down, so it’s worth planning every inch of your next trip carefully.

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