Half term may seem like the perfect time for a family holiday, but our latest research has revealed that it’s actually one of the most expensive times for families to go away.
Comparing 120 return flights from eight airports across the UK, we found that holidaying during half term costs an average of NINE times more than the same flight earlier in the month.
It isn’t just half-term flights that receive a price hike though. Travel industry advice usually dictates that it’s a good idea to book a package deal in order to get more for your money, but these package holidays see similar price hikes.
An all-inclusive break in Barbados with Virgin Holidays, for two adults and two children, costs £2,919 in early February. But the price soars to £9,914 for the week beginning February 13, when most British schools break up for half term.
Flight price hikes found by FairFX:
Here’s a highlight of some of the dramatic price rises we have seen for half-term flights.
East Midlands – Venice: A return flight departing during half term is over nine times (844%) more expensive (£406) than travelling just two weeks later (£43)
Newcastle – Dublin: A city break in half term comes in as more than six times higher (568%). A half-term return flight costs £127 compared to £19 just two weeks earlier.
Edinburgh – New York: A big apple break will cost 558% more in half term – an eye-watering £2,310 compared to £351 just one week earlier.
London Gatwick – Tenerife: A spot of winter sun will cost nearly seven times higher (581%) in half term at £293 for a return flight compared to just £42 two weeks later.
These price hikes seem grossly unfair for any time of year but when the government are telling parents that it’s illegal to take their children out of school during term time, it’s pressuring parents into a very difficult catch-22.
Package holiday price hikes found by FairFX:
Here is a sample of price increases for package holidays.
Barbados: A package holiday, with London flights and accommodation for two adults and two children, would cost just over £2,919 in early February. But just one week later, when half term hits, the cost is an astonishing £9,914 – an uplift of 240%.
Family skiing: A week’s package ski holiday for a family of four in La Clusaz will set you back £6,100 in half term – but the previous week the same holiday is £2,420 (153% more).
Algarve: A visit to Albufeira during half term for a family of four clocks in at £1,200 – 203% more than the previous week (£397).
Canaries: A spot of winter sun in Fuerteventura jumps by 84% with one tour operator (from £1,844 to £3,393) and 80% with another operator to a kids resort (from £1,170 to £2,102) just for travelling during half term.
These findings come as a landmark ruling on the validity of the Government’s policy to fine parents who take their children out of school during term time, is soon expected from the Supreme Court.
On January 31st 2017, father Jon Platt when to court for the third time after refusing to pay a fine for taking his daughter out of school for a holiday to Disneyland in 2015. The case has been adjourned for the judges to consider their decision.
This ruling has been long awaited but, ultimately, the fault lies with the industry. A major shake-up is needed to support parents in making the right education decisions for their child without depriving them of the opportunity to see the world and learn through travel. Currently the travel industry is holding parents to ransom, and this must change.
Dealing with escalating costs
When it comes to planning your holidays this year, it has never been more important for families to be aware of the ways they can make their budget stretch further.
Being strategic with spending money is one way to do this, and arranging your currency in advance will mean you never pay more than you need to. There are also ways to take your money further with accommodation, flights and dining at your destination; comparing the cost of these rather than defaulting to a package holiday is always a good place to start.
Travel further this year by planning like a pro
Follow our tips on planning your holidays like a pro and your money will travel much further this year. Even if flight prices do rise around school holidays, you and your family can still experience more with some smart planning.
💶 Currency tip: You book the flight and hotel in advance but leave travel money to the last minute – that’s a mistake. Sign up to our Rate Alert service to find out when the exchange rate is in your favour.
🏨 Accommodation tip: Many hotel comparison sites won’t show you the actual price you pay until the final step. Make sure that you’re comparing like for like rates, including any local taxes or charges for card payments.
🍴 Dining tip: Eating like a local throughout your trip will mean that you can enjoy more for your money. Try out the restaurants that are full of locals or, if you are feeling adventurous enough, restaurants that don’t even have menus written in English.
Social dining for travellers is a modern way to experience traditional cuisine in people’s homes, cooked and shared by locals themselves. Platforms like VizEat connect travellers and local hosts in more than 70 countries.
Check out our full list of tips on how to travel further this year by planning like a pro.