Research reveals extent of school holidays price disparity

Sharp falls in the cost of both overseas and UK family holidays have been recorded since schools reopened following the summer break.

A family of four can save an average of £626 – or 26% – on an all-inclusive break in the first week of September compared to the last week of August.

However, the biggest saving overall was for a self-catering caravan at Haven’s Primrose Valley Park in Yorkshire – with a 62% reduction to £272 instead of £720.

Prices for 2016 show that holidays in the Balearics are on average 27.75% less in September, 27.25% cheaper in Corfu, 22.5% in mainland Spain, 21.5% in the Canaries and 20% in Turkey.

The survey, based on two adults with two children aged four and eight travelling from Manchester, found that travellers make the biggest savings on domestic breaks.

It revealed that the cost of a ‘staycation’ in the last week of August was an average 51% higher than in the first week of September, when school starts again.

Families booking Centre Parcs in Sherwood Forest could cut 46% from their bill for a self-catering, two-bedroom villa – which would cost £730 more in August.

A break for four at Butlins, Bognor Regis is £742 in the first week of September 2016, compared with £1,370 in the last week of August – a 46% saving.

Cathy Crewdson, head of travel at which carried out the study, said: ”It used to be the case that if you couldn’t afford to go abroad you could always stay in the UK.

“But as our data shows staying in the UK during the school holidays doesn’t mean you are immune to price hikes.

“Whilst we would never advocate children missing out on education, we can sympathise with the many parents who decide to risk a school fine, especially when the savings far outweigh the actual fine.”

An Abta spokeswoman said: “The reason prices rise during school holidays and other busy periods is due to supply and demand.

“More people in the UK and across Europe want to take holidays in July and August, at Easter and at Christmas, therefore prices rise during these times, as there is increased demand for a limited number of hotel rooms and flight seats.”

She said allowing schools to set their own holiday dates is a good first step to alleviating the sharp peaks in pricing, but that demand would still be concentrated at certain times.

“The best way for families to ensure an affordable holiday, with the greatest choice, is to book early; package tour operators offer free child places for early bookers and lower fares for children.

“If holidaymakers can be flexible about their booking arrangements, for example selecting a holiday with different departure or destination airport or a different departure date, they may also find cheaper deals.”

Share article

View Comments

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.