Holiday spending - surprise, surprise ... we Brits always go bust

Brits find it hard to resist spending more than they planned on holiday. Any cocktail anyone?Brits find it hard to resist spending more than they planned on holiday. Any cocktail anyone?
Brits find it hard to resist spending more than they planned on holiday. Any cocktail anyone?
Are you gearing up for your summer holiday or counting the cost of spending half-term abroad? Either way, you are likely to have a lot less money now than you imagined.

It should come as no great surprise that new research has found that most of us make a plan for how much we’ll spend when on holiday - and then splash out more. Yes, we Brits just can’t resist temptation and lying on a sunny beach makes that even worse.

I don’t imagine you’ll be shocked at this news. I was in Spain for a week’s break with a group of families last week - united around an under 12s football tournament - and money that isn’t available at home, is freely flowing overseas. Why shouldn’t I have one more fancy drink, another meal out and a new outfit for the sun? Worries about overdrafts and bank loans melt away in the heat as the only reminder we set for ourselves is that we have earned this reward.

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The truth is, two-thirds of holidaymakers overspend on their planned budget by more than £150 on average. The typical overspend was put at around £155, according to the Post Office Travel Money holiday spending report. Restaurant meals, shop and supermarket-bought food and drinks, and sightseeing trips were among the outgoings blamed for overspending.

Families were particularly likely to have overspent. More than three-quarters of families set a budget for their last holiday but 73% overspent, by around £312 on average. Back in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic and the cost-of-living squeeze, the typical overspend by families was £159.

With around two-thirds of families planning to travel abroad this year, perhaps the reason for overspending on treats is blatantly obvious. Life is for living and it has been a very tough few years. It is easier to give in to requests for an extra ice-cream that have a family row in front of hundreds of tourists and let’s dull the pain with an additional glass of vino.

When holidaymakers who had previously visited destinations abroad were asked which they rated as good value, Greece came top, just pipping Spain and Portugal. Therein lies the secret. There are lots of places which don’t cost the earth and, in fact, are far cheaper than a staycation in good, old Blighty. So pick careful and definitely do not follow the crowd. Try local and don’t fall for the overpriced tourist traps.

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Laura Plunkett, head of travel money at the Post Office, said: “The evidence provided by holidaymakers who have travelled abroad in recent years makes it clear that most people set inadequate budgets and end up overspending as a result. Given the rising concerns about resort costs, we urge holidaymakers to think back to the overall cost of their last holiday and set a budget based on that experience.”

Me, I’d suggest you cut back at home where at all possible because you know you will want to spend more when on holiday. You work hard all year and there is nothing better than relaxing in the sun with a nice drink in a new outfit while the kids make new friends. Buy sensibly because there are lots of cons out there but add a few extra pounds to your budget rather than having to blow it. We all want the holiday of our dreams so let’s make sure we don’t return to the credit card bill of nightmares.

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