Families Paying through the Nose For Summer Sun Again!

Seven out of 10 family holidays more expensive this half-term!

  • Cost of a family holiday up 11% on last October
  • Most affordable destinations are in Europe due to strength of sterling against the euro
  • Malta is best value destination this half-term

Research from M&S Bank reveals that the cost of a family break has risen in seven out of ten holiday destinations this October half-term, with an average overall price increase of 11 per cent (11.2).

However, there are still some savings to be had with the strength of the pound against the euro meaning many European holidays still prove good value for British holidaymakers; sterling has risen nine per cent (9.1) against the euro since this time last year.


The most affordable half-term holiday destination is Malta, costing a family of four £1,872, or £468 per person, a saving of £84 – or four per cent (4.3) – compared to last year.

Menorca, last year’s most affordable destination, is now in second place, costing a family of four £1,936, or £484 per person, still proving relatively good value, despite a seven per cent (6.8) rise in cost or £124 in the past year.

Crete is the third most affordable destination; it has seen the biggest decease in cost on last year. A holiday for a family of four in the popular Greek island will cost £1,940, down by £476 or 20 per cent (19.7) since 2014.

Out of the top five most affordable destinations, Cyprus offers the best weather for families hoping to enjoy some sunshine before winter sets in. The island enjoys average temperatures of 22°C in October, with ten hours of sunshine, and only 18mm of rain forecast for the month. Cyprus is the fourth most affordable destination overall at £2,588 for a family of four.

Table 1: Top five most affordable destinations

Destination Total Cost (per person)


Total Cost (Family of Four)


Total Cost (Family of Four)


Difference in total cost 2014-2015 % Change in total cost 2014-2015
Malta £468 £1,872 £1,956 -£84 -4.3%
Menorca £484 £1,936 £1,812 £124  6.8%
Crete £485 £1,940 £2,416 -£476 -19.7%
Cyprus £647 £2,588 £2,416 £172 7.1%
Madeira £688 £2,752 £2,676 £76  2.8%

Also popular with holidaymakers travelling in October due to its year-round warm climate, Tenerife has seen the average cost of a return flight for a family of four more than double, from £1,020 in 2014, to £2,148. As a result, the total cost of a family holiday has risen from £1,800 to £2,804 this half-term; an increase of 56 (55.8) per cent.

The price of a return flight for a family of four has risen in seven out of ten popular winter sun destinations, with an average increase of 24 per cent (23.9). As a result, the total cost of a holiday in these destinations, including flights, accommodation and spending money, has risen by an average of 21 per cent.

Despite an increase in costs, long haul destinations could still prove popular options for those looking for warmer climates. While Antigua and Barbados come in at first and second most expensive, they enjoy average temperatures of 27°C in October. However, they also have higher levels of rainfall – 101mm and 178mm respectively.

The total cost of a family holiday to Barbados has increased from £4,304 to £6,336; up 47 per cent (47.2). Again, flight prices have increased, having gone from £3,164 in 2014 to £5,224 this half-term.

The increase in flight costs for some of the destinations suggests that higher demand from holidaymakers over half term could be pushing up prices.

Paul Stokes, Head of Products at M&S Bank, said: “Families that are prepared to be flexible in where they go this October half-term can still find some savings, particularly in Europe where the pound remains strong against the euro. Taking exchange rates into account and shopping around for the best deal will help families get even more from their travel money.”                

Follow Paul’s top travel money tips:

  • Be prepared to be flexible – flights leaving at less sociable hours or during week days, rather than weekends, could prove  cheaper ·
  • Use a comparison site to compare the price of flights and accommodation ·
  • Plan your holiday budget to work out how much your holiday will cost and how much travel money you will need. Even if you’re staying in half-board or all-inclusive accommodation, don’t forget to factor in currency for taxis, tipping and other extras ·
  • Find out if you can buy tickets for activities you’re planning cheaper in advance ·
  • Don’t rely on internet rates if buying travel money in-store; many providers have different rates online and some change their rate throughout the day ·
  • Don’t leave your holiday money until the last minute; airport bureaux often offer less competitive rates and may not have a wide variety of note denominations

All holiday costs are for a family of four for one week. Costs include seven nights’ accommodation, flights, dinner, spending money and one activity. All flights and accommodation booked for a family of four from 24th to 31st October. Accommodation costs are from www.expedia.co.uk. All restaurants from www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living. All exchange rates from M&S Bank correct for September 2015 and September 2014. 2014 costs are from M&S Bank’s 2014 research (Six in ten sunshine breaks are cheaper this October half-term). 2014 flight costs are for October half-term 2014.


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