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How does anyone afford a family holiday these days?

affordable family holidaysWill summer ever come? This unending, grey cold is making me ill, I swear. My normal antidote would be to book a family break somewhere hot (see photo of the Philippines above, yes please!). This year though it’s different – has anyone noticed how expensive flights are at the moment?

I’m looking at going to Majorca in summer half-term. Gatwick is our nearest airport so inevitably we end up in the tender care of Easyjet. We’ve done this trip several times so imagine my shock to find that May flights this year are costing more like peak-season August levels last year.

Check this out: it’s £440.24 per person flying out on the first Saturday of half term at 9 am. Then £280.87 to get back the next Saturday at a sensible lunchtime hour. This is a two-hour flight, by the way. So for a family of four (before the £13 discount per child) that comes to £2,884.44 – in economy!

Obviously these are the most convenient and popular flights. The option we would probably take is flying out on the Tuesday of half term at 9 am for £134.24 and coming back on the Sunday at midday for £269.74. I’d be on my own with the kids though, Mr Minted would join us just for the weekend to save on his holiday allowance, maybe early evening Friday for a respectable £51.49. So that’s £1,533.17 in total, even before accommodation.

It’s possible to travel for £44.24 per person – on the Tuesday night flight out leaving at 22:10. If you’re Bear Grylls, maybe. With kids in tow, I don’t call that much of a holiday.
Even for the truly minted, this is steep. I don’t normally like surveys but one from Give as You Live website caught my eye: Brits this year will be spending two and half times their monthly salary on the family trip. Easily done at these prices.

Why is it so expensive? Terrorist attacks in Turkey and Tunisia have made the Balearics a number one choice for Brits and the rest of the sun-starved northern Europeans. There were 30 people looking at the same route as me this morning and that was 8:33 am!

Then there’s the fall in sterling due to Brexit uncertainties. The pound doesn’t buy what it used to in Europe or America and airplane fuel is generally sold in dollars. As normal, the end user (us) foots the bill. There is some hope that, if interest rates in the UK, sterling might regain some of its losses. Borrowers would pay more but our holidays abroad would be cheaper. No-one knows whether that will happen but, at this rate, it could be Cornwall again this year.

Where are you going this year? Tell us in the comments below and don’t forget your travel insurance - we’ve got a guide to it here.

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Monday, 22 April 2019