Costs of your winter break rise
Families looking for some winter sun will find prices have increased by £111 on last year. However, this remains much more affordable than a ski trip, with those hitting the slopes paying an average of £1,000 more.
The most affordable half-term holiday can be found in the Algarve in Portugal at £3,632 per family, or £908 per person. Just three hours flight away, temperatures will reach 18 degrees this week. Malaga in Spain is the second most affordable destination at £3,784 in total. This has seven hours of sunshine and average temperatures of 13 degrees in February, The Italian island of Sardinia is the third most affordable destination at £4,404 for a family of four.
Families wanting to ski are looking at a greater financial hit. Bulgaria is the cheapest destination, with a ski trip to Bansko costing just £4,588 for a family or £1,147 per person. It’s also cheaper when you get there, with a meal out costing £9 per person compared to £21 in Meribel (where eating-out costs are highest). However, prices are still up 4% on last year, partly due to the fall in sterling.
The most expensive holiday destination this half-term is the popular German ski resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen at an average cost of £5,909 per family, where eating out costs an average of £20. However, snow is pretty much guaranteed given its proximity to Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze.
Paul Stokes, head of products at M&S Bank, said: “While holidays are up £120 on average this half term, there is a significant difference between the cheapest and most expensive destinations. So, whether families are looking to hit the slopes or the sun loungers this half-term, we would encourage them to look at some alternative destinations and not just the more popular resorts to make their holiday budget stretch further.”
M&S’ top travel money tips:
- Be prepared to be flexible – flights leaving at less sociable hours or during weekdays, rather than weekends, could prove cheaper
- Shop around and use a comparison site to compare the price of flights, accommodation and, if you are planning a ski holiday, ski pass and rental fees
- Plan your holiday budget to work out how much your holiday will cost and how much travel money you will need. Even if you’re staying in half-board or all-inclusive accommodation, don’t forget to factor in currency for taxis, tipping and other extras
- Research the cost of tickets for activities or in advance online – it may be cheaper to buy before you depart
- Don’t rely on internet rates if buying travel money in-store; many providers have different rates online and some change their rate throughout the day
- Don’t leave your holiday money until the last minute; airport bureaux often offer less competitive rates and may not have a wide variety of note denominations