Despite the recession, UK holidaymakers increased their holiday spend by 2% in 2011, according to research published in June by Visa Europe and the trend looks set to continue in 2012 with people budgeting even more for foreign holidays this year. We might be cutting back on other luxuries but it seems our holidays are sacred and not to be sacrificed.
Those surveyed were planning to spend around £3,890 on one or more overseas trips, with £1,600 of that budgeted as spending money at their chosen destination. This represents an increase of £300 on the previous year. However, most people are not going on more expensive holidays to more exotic locations. It appears that the major factor in the increase is the rising cost of holidays. Forty per cent of people who said they were likely to spend more on their 2012 holiday blamed inflation for the added expense.
While many are reluctant to give up their annual break, they are searching harder for better deals and looking to shave costs wherever possible. The internet is playing an increasingly important role in helping people to search for their ideal getaway. Data from Visa Europe shows that in January 2011 over 922,500 transactions were made with online travel agents, which is more than twice the amount (406,123) made in person on the high street.
Book Online to Save
It appears that there are better deals available online, with data showing that the average online travel agency booking is £300, whereas the average face-to-face transaction is £516. And the trend for online booking is set to rise again in 2012.
So the holiday is booked, but what about all the extras? Getting to or parking at the airport can be an expensive business but a little thought and forward planning can help to save money. There are savings to be made by booking well ahead or using alternative forms of transport such as the train or a bus.
Something else which is worth researching in advance is foreign currency. If there is one thing you should never do, it is to change money at the airport. Rates vary widely on the high street and on the internet but a little online research will find you the most competitive rates. In many cases, the cash will be delivered to your door free of charge within a couple of days.
Bring a Packed Lunch
Many airlines have stopped serving meals on short-haul flights, leaving you at the mercy of departure lounge food which is usually over-priced. While you can't take liquids through security, food is permitted, so bring your own lunch and save your euros for local delicacies when you arrive at your destination.
Meals in restaurants and cafes, particularly when it comes to drinks, are expensive but eating out is an essential part of a holiday. Kids can easily go through a couple of cans of soda in one meal, which really adds up. Stock up on soft drinks at the local supermarket and give each of the kids a drink on the way to the restaurant so they have a drink before their food arrives then demand another to go with the meal.
Despite the increase in the cost of holidays, with some careful planning there is no reason why you can't enjoy a carefree escape from our miserable weather and gloomy economic climate.
About the author : This guest article was submit by British financial blogger Francesca on behalf of So Switch (http://www.soswitch.com/insurance/) who can help you to find the best deals on everything from travel insurance to mortgages.