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More than half of families plan foreign summer holiday, new research finds

More than half of families plan a trip abroad this summer with more than a third opting for a European beach holiday despite Covid-19 travel regulations.

Over two-in-five (44%) of the families planning to travel abroad this year will budget more to allow for rising resort costs and Covid-19 tests, Post Office Travel Money found.

As many as 82% expect to pay for tests at an average cost of £349 for a family of four.

Over a quarter (26%) said that savings made during lockdown have made it possible to set a bigger budget.

However, a new family holiday report found that three-quarters of parents who set a budget on their last family holiday blew it by an average of 39%, spending £262 extra on the budget of £674 they set.

The biggest cost is likely to be family meals, which range from around £28.62 in Sunny Beach, Bulgaria to £125.37 in Nice.

‘Pester power’ is another pitfall as spending on beach items rose 21% to an average of £185 on the last family trip.

Despite enthusiasm for overseas travel, more than two-thirds (68%) of families felt they had been ripped off on their last trip abroad, causing them to spend more than they had expected.

The biggest irritations were on prices for food and drink on flights (35%), the high cost of sightseeing (27%), meal and drinks costs (21%), restaurant service charges (18%) and beach extras for children (10%).

While prices collected for the Post Office Beach Barometer have fallen in more than half of the destinations surveyed, there are big differences in the cost of 12 tourist items across the Eurozone.

Prices in the Algarve are £126 lower than in Nice, making the south of France 132% more expensive.

Consumer research conducted for the report suggests that the growing trend towards overspending on meals, drinks and beach extras could wipe out the benefit of the strong pound.

Despite this, families could shave hundreds of pounds off resort spending, depending where they choose to holiday – especially across the Eurozone.

A comparison of costs in 14 destinations found that prices in Portugal are 16% cheaper than Spain and 24% lower than in Greece, the three countries rated best value by holidaymakers.

The Portuguese Algarve was cheapest of 11 Eurozone destinations and third-placed overall for a basket of 12 items at £95.51, including a family meal, drinks, sun cream, insect repellent and beach items.  Prices fell 1.5% on 2019 levels.

The biggest fall in costs across 11 Eurozone destinations surveyed was in Paphos, Cyprus.  At £113.10, prices were down by 16.7% on summer 2019.

Majorca (£122.32, down 5.6%) and Corfu (£125.74, down 2.1%) also registered price falls.

But prices have risen by 10.7% in Nice, most expensive in the barometer at £221.63, and by 10% in the Costa del Sol to £114.17.  although the destination is cheapest of four Spanish spots surveyed.

Costs in Majorca are over seven per cent more expensive, while Lanzarote (£124.73) and Ibiza (£178.62) are pricier still.

However, the lowest prices are in Turkey and Bulgaria, which are a third the cost of most Eurozone resorts.

Nick Boden, head of Post Office Travel Money, said: “After such a long wait, it is understandable that families want to head to European beach resorts for some summer sun.

“However, the big variations we found between costs in European resorts means it will pay dividends to do some homework before leaving home to get a realistic view of the holiday cash needed in the resorts they are considering.

“Paying for beach items can tip the holiday budget into the red so plan carefully and keep costs down by packing items like sun cream, insect repellent and kids’ lilos and swimming masks in the suitcase.

“Prudent packing could save enough to pay for ice creams and pedalo rides.

“Overspending on holidays abroad seems to be a growing trend and that makes it doubly important to plan carefully, set a realistic budget and stick to it.”

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