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Holiday Spending Report

From European hotspots to far-flung destinations, UK travellers are making overseas holidays a top priority this summer. But the latest Post Office Travel Money Spending Report reveals we’re overspending more than ever on our trips away.

Here, we look at some of its highlights – including why we’re going over budget. Holidaymakers also named their best-value destinations to help make holiday money go further.

Two persons in a seaside village enjoying the sunshine

Overspending in the sun

Each year, the Post Office Travel Money Holiday Spending Report shares the latest research into UK travellers’ holiday spending habits.

This year, our partners Yonder asked over 2,000 UK adults if they were planning to jet off on holiday in 2024 – and the answer was a resounding yes. Despite the rising cost of living, many of us are putting overseas travel high on our list after paying for food, energy bills and household essentials.

But the gap between our holiday budgets and the cash spent is wider than ever. So, what’s the reason? We’ve highlighted the key findings from our report here. And if you’d like to know more, you can also download the full report.

Key findings include:

  • The number of UK holidaymakers has grown year-on-year. Three in five people – and 68% of families – plan to travel abroad this year. That’s despite cost of living pressures
  • Overspending is on the rise. 67% of holidaymakers went over budget on their last trip abroad by an average of £154.62. That’s 46% more than planned
  • Families are overspending even more. 76% blew their budgets on their most recent getaway, spending around £312 more than they’d budgeted
  • 57% of holidaymakers said the soaring meal prices were to blame. 32% said the cost of buying food and drink from local shops and supermarkets was the reason they’d gone over budget
  • Paying extra for food and drinks in all-inclusive packages has more than quadrupled in the last decade. That’s despite them usually being seen as a way to keep spending in check
  • Holidaymakers rated Greece as the best-value destination (94%), followed by Spain (93%) and Portugal (92%). When it came to long-haul holidays, Thailand (89%) and Mexico (87%) topped the list

Who’s heading abroad this year – and what for?

Here are the proportion of adults and families who told us they’re planning overseas holidays in 2024. We’ve broken them down by the trip types they’re planning, too.

All respondents All respondents Families
Total planning an overseas holiday 61% 68%
City break 42% 35%
All-inclusive holiday 35% 47%
European beach holiday 34% 35%
Long-haul holiday outside Europe 28% 24%
Self catering holiday 21% 20%

Weighted base: From 2,067 UK adults surveyed, 1,262 in total and 379 families are planning a holiday abroad this year

Go deeper with our full findings

Travel money: buy before your fly

When you’re getting your travel essentials together, remember you’re likely to get a better rate on travel money if you buy it before you get to the airport. Check the exchange rate for where you’re heading and try to by when you’ll get the best value from your foreign currency. 

With Post Office, you can order travel money online and either collect in any branch or have it delivered to your door. You can buy selected currencies in 7,000 of our branches. Or you can load your holiday funds onto a handy, secure, prepaid  travel money card.

Travel insurance: safeguarding your trip

Don’t forget to get good travel insurance for your trip too. If you’re travelling to an EU country, a Ghic or Ehic will provide some medical cover, but they don’t safeguard against everything. It’s important to find a policy that offers the protection you need, including coronavirus cover and for any activities you’ll be doing while you’re away. 

Where will your money go furthest?

If you’re looking for destinations where your holiday money will go a little further, why not read our Post Office Travel Money reports about exactly that? We’ve a Holiday Money Report and Long-Haul Report plus a City Costs Barometer for tips on the best-value city breaks. Plus, check our guides on how to take a European city break on a budget and hot destinations throughout the year – for holidays ideal for a nation in need of one.

Always check the latest travel advice

The requirements of UK travellers visiting and returning to different countries can change at short notice. Check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice for your destination regularly, as travelling against this advice may invalidate your travel insurance. 

Discover more in the full Post Office Travel Money Holiday Spending Report

About the research

Consumer research by Yonder for Post Office Travel Money among 2,067 UK adults aged 18+ (28-30 April 2024), of whom 1,382 have been on a holiday abroad in the past five years and 1,262 (61%) are planning to do so this year (533 of the survey sample were parents and 405 of these had been on a family holiday in the past five years, with 378 planning to do so this year). Data is weighted to be representative of the population of Great Britain. Targets for quotas and weights are taken from the PAMCO survey, a random probability F2F survey conducted annually with 35,000 adults. Yonder is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by it rules.

Other travel products

  • Travel money

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