April 22, 2024

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Package holidays and flights up to 30{6932ee47e64f4ce8eedbbd5224581f6531cba18a35225771c06e4f1b3f0d9667} more expensive than last year | Money

Package holidays and flights up to 30{6932ee47e64f4ce8eedbbd5224581f6531cba18a35225771c06e4f1b3f0d9667} more expensive than last year | Money

Prices for package holidays and flights to popular destinations have soared in the last year, according to research.

A week-long trip to Greece costs about 30{6932ee47e64f4ce8eedbbd5224581f6531cba18a35225771c06e4f1b3f0d9667} more than it did last year, with holidays in Italy, Spain and Turkey up by a fifth or more.

The sobering figures, from the consumer group Which?, could cause a rethink for those planning to escape the cost of living pressure with a holiday getaway.

The news is just as bleak for those who prefer to put their own trips together: the average price for a flight this Easter to 15 of the most popular destinations is up 51{6932ee47e64f4ce8eedbbd5224581f6531cba18a35225771c06e4f1b3f0d9667} compared with 2022, with air fares to Italy and Greece up 71{6932ee47e64f4ce8eedbbd5224581f6531cba18a35225771c06e4f1b3f0d9667}.

Furthermore, there is no respite from the price hikes once you arrive at your holiday destination: hotel rates outside the UK and Europe have risen by 23{6932ee47e64f4ce8eedbbd5224581f6531cba18a35225771c06e4f1b3f0d9667} on average, from about £138 over Easter 2022 up to £170 for Easter this year. European hotel rates have seen an average rise of 10{6932ee47e64f4ce8eedbbd5224581f6531cba18a35225771c06e4f1b3f0d9667}, from £108 in 2022, to £119 this year.

“Travellers are likely to experience significantly higher prices than they’re used to for a trip away this year, with huge demand for holidays combining with inflationary pressure to create a perfect storm of spiralling costs,” said Rory Boland, the editor of Which? Travel.

He added: “If you need to book a certain destination or dates, such as during the school summer holidays, book as early as possible to ensure the best price.

“Opting for an all-inclusive break may also be worth considering as you will be protected from currency fluctuations and have the assurance that expenses like food and drink are already covered.

“If you can be flexible on when and where you go, you’ll still be able to find deals throughout the year, so it’s worth shopping around.”

Which? found those booking a summer 2023 package holiday between 1 November 2022 and 3 January this year would have paid 19{6932ee47e64f4ce8eedbbd5224581f6531cba18a35225771c06e4f1b3f0d9667} more on average than for a summer break in 2022.

Nonetheless, better-value holidays can still be found: of the six popular destinations the consumer champion looked at, Portugal had the smallest rises in price, with the cost of a week’s holiday up by 7{6932ee47e64f4ce8eedbbd5224581f6531cba18a35225771c06e4f1b3f0d9667} on average to £705. Despite a significant rise in average costs, Spain still offers the cheapest getaways, with a week’s package holiday costing £693 per person.

Which? also warns that there are no holiday hacks for those planning to take a break in the UK. With many hotels facing increased energy bills and higher wages, the average price of a three- and four-star UK hotel in Easter 2022 and Easter 2023 has increased by almost a fifth, from £100 to £119.

Tips for booking a holiday at the best price:

  • Travel in the so-called “shoulder seasons” of May to June and September to October.

  • Book an all-inclusive trip. Spain and Portugal are the cheapest destinations for all-inclusive holidays.

  • Holiday providers can levy extra charges of up to 8{6932ee47e64f4ce8eedbbd5224581f6531cba18a35225771c06e4f1b3f0d9667} of your holiday if costs including fuel and taxes increase. Five providers – Jet2holidays, Kuoni, Trailfinders, Inghams and Hays – have committed to not levying surcharges this year.

  • If you are not booking a package, wherever possible, book directly with the hotel.