Avoid high holiday costs during the school holidays

One of the most seemingly unfair aspects of being a parent is the huge hike in prices of holidays around the school breaks. This is, of course, just a simple response to the demand around certain times of years but for many families it means that holidays abroad are simply impossible to afford.

This has lead to some parents opting to take their kids out of school during the term time which has lead to issues with the school and education board. However, there are other tricks you can try to avoid high costs for your family.

The latest report

A report by FairFX, the currency analysts, suggested that families were already being forced to pay up to double the price for a package break this summer if they wanted to travel during the school holidays.

The average package holiday for a family of four cost £2,828 in the second week of July, which is during term time. If the trip was booked for four weeks later, on the weekend of August 5, the price rose by £905, or 32 per cent. A week for four on the Costa Brava cost £1,512 in June; the price rose to £3,415 in August.

FairFX compared 104 package holidays based on a family of two adults and two children, aged five and seven.

Andrew Shelton, managing director at Cheapflights, said: “Sadly, for families, this ruling will increase the pressure on available capacity during the school holiday periods, with the inevitable consequence that demand will further outstrip supply.”

Ian Strafford-Taylor, the chief executive of FairFX, said travel companies were holding parents to ransom.

“Despite national outcry and a legal battle reaching the Supreme Court, the industry has ignored the plight families are facing up and down the country who are worried about the escalating cost of their holiday. Some of the price hikes we’re seeing are outrageous and bring the industry into disrepute.”

The school holiday price petition

Three years ago, a petition to stop holiday companies charging extra in school holidays was debated in parliament after it gathered more than 160,000 signatures. The department for business, innovation and skills had responded that “in a competitive market, it is for business to decide the market worth of their products and to price accordingly”.

Industry officials said that because parents will now be less likely to take their children out of school for unauthorised holidays there will be greater demand for breaks during the peak season, driving up prices.

Destinations such as Greece, Spain and Portugal are likely to face the biggest price rises, they added. Holidaymakers have been flocking to these countries amid concerns over security in formerly popular holiday hotspots such as Tunisia and Egypt.

Andrew Shelton, managing director at Cheapflights, said: “Sadly, for families, this ruling will increase the pressure on available capacity during the school holiday periods, with the inevitable consequence that demand will further outstrip supply.”

Ian Strafford-Taylor, the chief executive of FairFX, said travel companies were holding parents to ransom.

“Despite national outcry and a legal battle reaching the Supreme Court, the industry has ignored the plight families are facing up and down the country who are worried about the escalating cost of their holiday. Some of the price hikes we’re seeing are outrageous and bring the industry into disrepute.”

A hard choice

Overall, it is a tricky one to deal with. Most parents are reluctant to remove their children from school during term time and would prefer to face a situation in which they are not able to go on holiday at all. This is understandable, but it is a shame to deprive kids from vacations as they can be such a valuable experience, particularly in terms of learning about other cultures. For those that really struggle to afford even a basic holiday with their children, there are fund available from organisation to help you take some time away. If you would like some advice on what’s available in your area, get in touch with us at our contact page.