CHESTER, England – Hard-up Brits may be feeling the pinch, but when it comes to getting away the majority aren’t prepared to give up their holiday, according to research from travelsupermarket.com. The poll of over 2,000 adults revealed that just 11 per cent of Brits definitely won’t be going on holiday next year – slightly up on ten per cent last year. However the amount they are prepared to spend on their main holiday has fallen considerably – by nearly a fifth.
A year ago the average Brit was prepared to spend 1,014 pounds Sterling per person on their main holiday, but fast forward to 2011 and this has dropped to 829 pounds. The research indicates a clear shift in spending habits amongst Brits – six months ago 43 per cent identified cost as a key factor when booking their holiday, but this figure has now surged to 78 per cent. It now towers over the traditional importance of weather (37 per cent) and facilities (37 per cent) when it comes to the 2011 getaway.
The research, the fourth bi-annual poll commissioned by travelsupermarket.com, includes a Holiday Spending Money Index, which found that current weekly spending levels (not including flights and accommodation) are also down three per cent on July 2010 from 307 pounds to 298 pounds. And there is a continued dependence on credit cards – seven per cent will be relying on the plastic for spending money compared to six per cent last year.
It appears that when it comes to the sexes, women are watching the wallet a little more carefully – although both men and women are budgeting less than they have previously. Of those who do budget, men will take an average of 334 pounds a week per person, down from 348 pounds six months ago, but still well above the figure from a year ago which was 313 pounds. For women, the figure is steadily decreasing – they are budgeting 258 pounds, which is down from 265 pounds six months ago and 278 pounds a year ago.
Those from Northern Ireland are still the biggest spenders, budgeting 373 pounds, an average of 40 pounds more than the nearest region – London. However this is down from 420 pounds six months ago. Those in the Midlands appear to be the most frugal, with those in the East Midlands budgeting 256 pounds and West Midlands 273 pounds.
And when it comes to the overall holiday, men are slightly happier to flash the cash – they are prepared to pay on average 922 pounds per person for their main summer holiday compared to 740 pounds for women. Those in the South East are prepared to spend the most on their main holiday (960 pounds) closely followed by Londoners (950 pounds).
Perhaps surprisingly despite recent holiday company collapses, the misery caused by the ash cloud and all the issues snow has presented in recent weeks, the number of people who ensure their holiday is ATOL protected has gone down from 21 per cent six months ago to just 18 per cent.
Bob Atkinson, travel expert from travelsupermarket.com, said: “It appears that when it comes to luxuries, holidays are one thing Brits simply aren’t prepared to give up. In order to get away however, a whopping three quarters of Brits will be looking for deals and best value as their key determining factor when booking a holiday.
“Pre-holiday research is the key – invest a bit of time in investigating to see what good deals or added extras are out there. It’s certainly encouraging to see that 47 per cent of Brits shop around to get the best deal when it comes to travel – but the real question is why aren’t the other 53 per cent?
“And with all the unrest in the holiday industry I’m shocked that more people still don’t see ATOL as important when booking their holiday. Even if you get the cheapest deal in the world, you could still lose it all if something happens to the company.”
Bob Atkinson’s tops money saving tips:
Set yourself a maximum budget – considering both your spending money and the cost of booking travel and accommodation, try and stick to it and don’t stretch yourself too far financially.
Do lots of online research – on your favourite holiday companies, airlines and travel sites and compare offers on a price comparison website such as travelsupermarket.com as you may be able to find companies that you have not heard of with an ever better deal.
Focus on the final price for your holiday – when comparing offers and deals, how much will you pay today and how much will the deposit be? Don’t just focus on the discount message and any freebies. Is it within your budget guidelines?
Don’t rely on the ‘freebies’ – if considering a package holiday with free child places, ensure you get a price with both a free place and also a second quote with a child price. Sometimes ‘free’ places can cost more due to extra charges tour operators make for under occupancy.
Beware of low deposit deals – you often have to pay the remainder of the full deposit within only a few weeks, so it is only an introductory offer from many companies as opposed to a genuine long term saving.
Think about your board basis – all inclusive holidays allow you to set your budget here in the UK and keep a check on extras when away. Self-catering will allow you to make and prepare your own food and avoid eating out – great when you have small children to cater for. Or choose hotels on B&B, half board or full board.
Think about where you plan to go – what is the cost of living like? Will you be able to get away with a smaller amount of spending money or will you need to dig deep for cash in more expensive destinations?
Consider where you stay – it may be cheaper outside of the city or resort, however you may end up paying more for taxis and travelling around to and from the beach or attractions. Book somewhere that has good access to public transport. If hiring a car, check you have somewhere to park close to your accommodation that won’t cost a fortune.
Book before it goes – when you get a price and a deal you are happy with, get it. Prices for holidays, flights and hotels can change quickly so don’t miss out on a cracking deal. It is unlikely that a cheaper deal will come along once you have done a full check of availability.
Check your deal has ATOL cover – if it doesn’t then ensure you have either full protection insurance from your holiday company that covers all elements of the booking. Or take out travel insurance immediately with ‘End Supplier Failure’ in case anything goes wrong with the company, airline or hotel you are booked with. Pay by credit card or Visa debit card where possible for additional protection.
Use a price comparison site to compare prices on package holidays – travelsupermarket.com has a revamped search that allows you to leave the destination open to get an idea of prices across many destinations; once you have a destination you can use the date tab at the top to see if it is cheaper travelling up to three days either side of your requested date; and on the results page you can use filters to check out, for example, if a 4* hotel is cheaper than a 3*, or narrow the results down to one of your favourite brands.
Don’t forget to budget for all those extras – airport parking, transfers, car hire and baggage costs, the earlier you book, the more you save.