Whilst Parliament continues to debate the problem of soaring travel prices during school holidays, a growing number of schools are introducing the threat of fines for parents who take their children away during term time.
Responding to this almost perfect storm of pressures for families, travel money expert, ICE (International Currency Exchange), has offered advice on getting the best value for money for parents who don’t want to take their kids out of school in term time.
Tom Johnson, head of online business at ICE, explained: “Over half (53%) of our customers spend more than a month’s salary on their main holiday and the majority (80%) dip into their savings, which proves that getting away from it all is important to people.”
“A week or more away is precious time for families, but it’s a big financial investment which is why it’s understandable that some parents may think the only way to be able to afford the holiday is to take their children away during term time.”
However, for those parents who want to abide by school rules, ICE believes it makes sense to consider the rate of exchange against the pound and the local cost of living, rather than just being influenced by glossy pictures and local attractions, in their choice of destination.
Johnson continued: “Travellers need to consider choosing destinations that offer the best exchange rate for the Pound – and generally have a lower cost of living. The combination of these two factors can deliver real savings on day-to-day costs. Turkey, Greece, Portugal and Spain look good for affordable short-haul destinations. For longer holidays, head to long haul locations with a low cost of living, such as Thailand, Mexico and Brazil, as the pound has strengthened against these currencies.
“With our research showing that school fines start at £60, which is the equivalent of a meal for four with wine at many of the better value overseas destinations, clearly the benefits of taking a term-time holiday can be quickly eroded. Instead we suggest families consider our top tips on how to get that holiday for less, even when school’s out.”
NineTop Tips from ICE on Holiday Savings
• Pick the locations that offer good value against the pound and are known for low living costs so eating out and day time excursions are not too expensive
• Book early to get good deals on flights and accommodation
• Book flights and accommodation using the ICE Travellers Cashcard to avoid paying interest on a credit card
• Plan to travel mid-week and early flights – that will often save money
• Add savings each month to a prepaid currency card for Euro destinations – then the money’s ready to spend when you arrive at your destination
• Plan for tipping as part of your holiday spending money so you don’t get caught short
• Pay strict attention to baggage allowances if opting for no frills flights so you don’t have to pay extra for luggage
• Look at package holidays – they can offer better value than booking hotel and flights separately
• Negotiate with the travel agent to see if you can get one younger child for free