UK holiday prices cost up to £1,400 more than trips abroad for families hit by rising bills this half-term

Families hoping to get away at half-term may find it is cheaper to jet abroad than holiday in the UK this year.

With the four-day Jubilee bank holiday on the horizon, the May half-term offers an ideal opportunity for those with school-age children to take a break.

But staycations, which proved popular while Covid travel restrictions were in place, now look less tempting as the costs of holidaying in the UK appear to exceed a week of sun, sea and sand abroad.

Research by i has revealed a trip to St Ives in Cornwall for a family of four from Saturday 28 May to Saturday 4 June would cost £1,400 more than a week-long break in Cala Millor in Majorca.

An Airbnb five-star 2-bedroom holiday cottage with sea views in the Cornish resort costs £3,029 for the half-term week, with return train fares from London Paddington adding an extra £320.35 bringing the total to £3,349.35.

Whereas an Airbnb 4.92-star 3-bedroom apartment with sea views in the Majorcan destination is £569 for the week, plus £1,365 for four return flights from London Luton to Palma with EasyJet totalling £1,934.

Rory Boland, Editor of Which? Travel, told i: “Each time we have carried out a UK vs Europe holiday comparison, we have found it’s cheaper to holiday abroad.

“UK breaks have always been expensive because of high accommodation costs, but prices increased significantly over the pandemic and half-term hikes may put holidays out of reach for families whose budgets are already stretched due to the rising cost of living. “

He recommended booking outside popular destinations, which can be “outrageously expensive”, to save hundreds of pounds on a UK holiday and price compare hotels and B&Bs with private rentals to find a bargain.

And despite the financial squeeze on families from the increased cost of living, holiday firms said they are still seeing “strong demand” for trips abroad.

UK travel company Tui said: “School holidays have always been a popular time for an overseas break, and this half term is no exception.

“We’re continuing to see strong demand, especially with this being the first peak holiday period with all summer destinations open for over two years.”

And as Covid travel restrictions ease, enthusiasm to head further afield appears to be returning.

Chris Webber, Head of Deals and Holidays for price comparison sites Travelsupermarket.com and icelolly.com said there’s “a definite volume of searches and bookings for last minute departures”.

He added: “There’s a sense that a lot of people have either been away in Easter or have seen family and friends go away (i.e. people whose opinion they trust) and they’ve had a great time or expected holiday experience and are keen to get away now.”

As a result, a break abroad may be a more affordable option.

How the holidays compare

Five-star Airbnb with sea views in St Ives, Cornwall, with return train for four from London Paddington for half-term week: £3,349.35

Five-star Airbnb with sea views in Cala Millor, Majorca, with four return flights from London Luton to Palma with EasyJet for half-term week: £1,934.

Four-star two-bedroom cottage in Cartmel, Lake District, with return train for four from London Euston to Oxenholme for half-term week: £2,126.70.

Four-star beachside Airbnb in Malaga, Spain, with four return flights from London Gatwick with Iberian Express and Norwegian for half-term week: £1,903.

Eurocamp two-bedroom caravan for six at Valras-Plage in the south of France for half-term week: £225.60.

Hoseasons two-bedroom caravan at Glenluce in south west Scotland for half-term week: £575.

Those hoping to head to the Lake District for half-term could expect to pay £1,584 for a four-star two-bedroom cottage in Cartmel through holidaycottages.co.uk plus £542.70 for return travel by train for a family of four from London Euston to Oxenholme adding up to £2,126.70.

But a trip to Malaga in southern Spain at the same time would be more than £200 cheaper.

The cheapest return flights from London Gatwick to Malaga for a family of four come to £1,584 for half-term with Iberian Express and Norwegian.

And an Airbnb 4.46 star two-bedroom holiday apartment in Torre del Mar, a few minutes walk from the beach, costs £319 bringing the total for the trip to £1,903.

If campsite holidays appeal, then Eurocamp is offering a two-bedroom caravan which sleeps six at Valras-Plage in the south of France for £225.60 for the week.

While Hoseasons has a two-bedroom caravan at Glenluce in south west Scotland for £575 for the week.

A spokesperson for the travel firm Awaze, which includes Hoseasons and cottages.com, said: “Demand for UK breaks remains strong, but there’s no doubt people are leaving it later to look and book as they consider the impact the increased cost of living is having on their finances.”

“Value for money is vitally important at the moment, which is why we have a range of offers in place across key booking periods.”