Putting a holiday on credit can double the cost

You could take decades to pay off your family break - and waste thousands of pounds

attractive young woman on the beach , paying for a cocktail with credit card

Over half of British holidaymakers put their summer holiday on a credit card this year - over a fifth of them doing so because it was the only way they could afford to take a break. Credit card spending on travel has risen a third in the past five years, and now holidays account for around a fifth of all credit card splurges. Unfortunately, paying this way, without a foolproof plan to pay it back, can cost jaw-dropping sums of cash.

A study by comparison website money.co.uk found that 1.15 million holidaymakers (just under one in ten) can only afford to make the minimum payment on their credit card each month. This means it'll take them an average of 23 years to pay the debt off.

The website crunched the numbers for a week's all-inclusive holiday to Spain for four people. Putting it on a credit card and only making minimum payments would take over 27 years to clear - doubling the cost to more than £7,800.

If a family of four spent £4,637 on a holiday to Florida this summer, meanwhile, then making minimum repayments would take the total cost to £11,000 over the 30 years it would take to pay off.

Hannah Maundrell, Editor in Chief of money.co.uk warns; "Paying for at least part of your holiday on a credit card can be a good idea as it gives you Section 75 protection - this is invaluable if something goes wrong. However, spreading the cost over many years without using a 0% deal is where the problems begin. There's no point doubling the cost of your break - think about how you'll fund your holiday before you book. In reality, if you're paying for a holiday on a credit and can only afford to make minimum repayments, you really should consider whether it's worth it.

"Using a credit card for long term borrowing should be avoided unless it's on a 0% or low interest deal. With purchase rates averaging almost 20%, you'll pay the price for convenience and flexibility as the interest charges will quickly mount up. By using a standard rate credit card as a long term loan you'll risk playing with a ticking time bomb of unmanageable debt, especially if you don't have a plan for paying it off. If you're carrying loaded credit cards now is the time to take control and work out how to clear them or at least make them cheaper ASAP."

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