The woes of the pound are taking their toll on the cost of holidays this Easter. A new study has revealed that the average family holiday costs 6% more than this time last year - a total of £182. Fortunately you can beat the price rises - by opting for the most cost-effective destinations for Easter.
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The study by M&S Bank found that the average cost of a week long family holiday over Easter is £2,991. It then tracked down a number of bargain destinations where the average cost comes in far lower than this.
1. Andalusia - £1,964 per family or £491 per person. This is actually up £145 from last year, or 8%.
2. Malta - £2,144 per family or £536 per person. This is an increase of £137 or 6.8%
3. Crete - £2,156 per family or £539 per person. This is an increase of £122 or 6%
4. Madeira - £2,488 per family or £622 per person. This is an increase of £142 or 6.1%
Liam O'Hara, Head of Network and Bureaux at M&S Bank said: "The cost for a family getaway this Easter has risen by over £180 this year, partly due to the weakening of the pound against other currencies like the euro, where it has lost around 8.5 per cent of its value. However, there are still some affordable options left for those booking a family break."
If families want to go further afield, they can expect to break the average budget. The priciest destination in the study was Florida, which costs £5,628 per family. This was followed by Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic at £4,696 and Dubai at £4,412.
Cut your costs
Clearly your choice of destination will make a major difference to the cost. However, wherever you travel this Easter, there are seven steps you can take that can bring down the cost dramatically.
1. Shop carefully for flights
Shopping around is key - and sites like skyscanner.net can produce some real bargains. Be patient, and check all the carriers to see if they have any special offers on their own website too.
2. Be flexible about flights
If you are traveling long-distance, the more stops you can bear, the cheaper the flight is likely to be. Adding two stops to a trip to Florida, for example, can shave £300 each off the cost of a flight. Also consider flying at less popular times of day: overnight flights can be particularly cost-effective.
3. Consider the geography
If you are flying to a popular resort, check the map to see whether there's an alternative nearby. If, for example, you are planning a trip to Orlando, you can get significantly cheaper flights to Tampa, and do the journey by road in less than two hours.
4. Embrace the packed lunch
Paying for full board may be a waste of money, especially if you can opt for bed and breakfast, and make a packed lunch from the breakfast buffet. That way you only have to cover the cost of dinner, for a significantly cheaper break.
5. Think carefully about stars
Hotel star ratings don't rate customer service or cleanliness - it's largely about the services on offer. If you check Trip Advisor carefully for reviews, you can snap up two-star accommodation, opt for the beach instead of the pool, and cut the costs dramatically.
6. Exchange money wisely
Unless you are travelling all-inclusive, the exchange rate you get will make an enormous difference to the overall cost. It's worth hunting around for decent exchange rates in plenty of time, so you can look online as well as the high street. For larger sums they can often offer a more competitive deal.
7. Plan your trip in advance
If you are planning days out and trips to attractions, have a look online before you go. You may be able to get a ticket for a number of days for a better price, you could get a discount for buying online, and you may find multiple attraction tickets at a discount.