Half-term holiday and exchange-rate rip-offs

Planning to take the kids away next week? Beware the price hikes and hidden costs

Holiday firms have hiked the cost of travel by up to 249 per cent for the half-term holiday, greedily profiting from parents' desire to escape during breaks in the school term.

Around 4.8 million people are expected to go abroad this half-term, according to the Post Office, with many booking at the last minute. But the chance of finding a bargain looks remote as holiday companies cash in on the half-term boom.

For instance, anyone trying to book though travel website Expedia last week would have discovered that the price of a family holiday to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, leaving today, rose to £5,485.62 – three and half times more expensive than during term time. The following week the same trip for four costs £1,572.46.

Families flying from Manchester to the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh faced similar soaring charges. A holiday package cost £6,544.58 during half-term, compared to only £2,433.08 the following week.

"Parents with children of school age face a massive premium if they want to take their children away during the half-term break," says Emma Roberts of Santander Cards. "It's not surprising that many families take their children out of school during term time and risk censure from their children's school rather than be hit by such staggering premiums."

Londoners are most hit by the rip-off surcharges with half-term package holiday prices rising an average 108 per cent compared to a 101 per cent increase for those flying from Manchester. However, it's still more expensive to fly from Manchester generally, with prices around a fifth higher across both weeks on package holidays.

Anyone booking just before they go is also facing extra costs in currency and insurance. "Late-bookers are creating stress for themselves and, more worryingly, putting themselves at risk," warns Sarah Munro, head of Post Office Travel Services.

"Buying foreign currency at the last minute can leave you with less cash to spend while you're away due to hidden fees and poorer rates. We also urge consumers not to leave their travel insurance to the last minute either to ensure they are covered for cancellation should an illness or an emergency happen before they travel."

If you're still hoping to get away, head outside Europe. With the pound plummeting to a six-month low last week, you'll get better value for money outside the Eurozone.

"While the value of the pound is still on the decline against the euro, travellers can get more for their money by heading outside the Euro-zone, with the US and closer-to-home destinations, including Turkey and Egypt, continuing to provide excellent value for money," says Peter Davies of Travelex.

In fact, the pound has increased in value over the last year by nearly 7 per cent against the Turkish Lira, resulting in an extra 29 Turkish Lira for every £500 they exchange. Those visiting the US can expect to receive almost $120 more for every £500 they exchange compared to six months ago.

Companies are also warning travellers about buying currency at the airport. Doing so could cost you as much as an extra £86 through fees and poor exchange rates, according to the Post Office. Even exchanging the average amount – £286 – could add an extra £22 to the overall cost.

Travelex.co.uk offers a price promise guaranteeing to beat other currency providers, with the best price foreign currency, commission-free, or the difference refunded. Book currency online to get the price promise and have it delivered to your home or pick it up at the airport. You can get a four-hour pre-order service on US dollars through the firm.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

    £15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

    £15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

    Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

    £40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

    Day In a Page

    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test