​Families adopt money-saving measures to avoid budget-busting holiday rip offs

Over three-quarters of families are now taking steps to avoid holiday rip offs after 72 per cent got caught out on their last holiday abroad; Holidaymakers’ savings tips include taking food from the breakfast buffet; Biggest gripes: charges for paying on plastic; entry to attractions; excursion costs and meal and drink prices on flights and in resorts.

As families prepare to jet off to the sun when school breaks up next week, new research from Post Office Travel Money has revealed that over three-quarters (77 per cent) of them are planning to take cost-cutting steps to avoid the rip-off practices that caused them to bust their budget on past trips1. These include avoiding high café and restaurant prices for soft drinks by buying litre bottles in supermarkets instead, making packed lunches for the flight, and taking fruit and pastries from the breakfast buffet to save on lunch costs.

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money, which accounts for one-in-four currencytransactions, said: “Our research suggests most holidaymakers have learnt from experience and are now taking more active steps to avoid busting their budgets by hundreds of pounds on trips abroad. The money-saving measures that many of them are adopting will help to slash the high levels of overspending on food, drink, transport and sightseeing.

The Post Office research found that seven-in-ten families had overspent their budget by an average of £1772 on their last trip abroad – 26 per cent more than they intended – and 72 per cent of parents complained that this was because they had been ripped off.

The biggest complaints related to unexpected charges for paying on plastic. Two-in-five (40 per cent) parents told the Post Office researchers they had been caught out by hidden charges for using their debit or credit cards to pay for items in shops, restaurants and bars or to withdraw cash at ATMs. This cost an average of over £191 per family. A big gripe for one -in-six was being charged a fee every time they made an ATM cash withdrawal.

Andrew Brown said: “Holidaymakers can avoid the hidden charges added to credit and debit card payments by using a travel money card loaded with holiday cash because this won’t incur transaction charges in shops and restaurants.”

85 per cent of families – a record five-year high – are also concerned about the high cost of meals and drinks in resorts abroad. Along with expensive charges for entry to attractions and high excursion costs, rising prices for meals and drinks were rated among the worse rip offs by a quarter of families responding to the survey. 88 per cent said they spent an average of £278 on meals and drinks on their last holiday, a 14 per cent year-on-year rise.


1.Charges and fees for paying on plastic
2.Food and drink prices on airplanes
3.High cost of attraction entry and organised excursions
4.Meal and drink prices in restaurants and bars
5.Compulsory service charges on meal bills
6.Transport costs
7.Waiters expecting tips in cash
8.Poor exchange rates at airports
9.Kids’ beach extras e.g. buckets and spades, lilos and ice creams
10.Unexpected visa charges and tourist taxes


It was not just in resorts that families were caught out by meal prices. A third of families said prices charged for food and drinks on flights abroad had contributed to their holiday overspending. Post Office research found that a family of four could fork out as much as £36 on a meal deal of sandwiches, crisps and soft drinks on a low-cost airline3 but could cut this by two-thirds by taking a packed lunch and stocking up on soft drinks at an airport shop.

Preparing a packed lunch for the plane is one of a wide range of money-saving measures planned by 77 per cent of families to avoid budget-busting holiday rip offs this year. One-in-four will make their own sandwiches while the same number plan to take food from the hotel breakfast buffet to save on lunch costs. Other cost-cutting initiatives to reduce spending on food include eating from fixed price menus (19 per cent) and in restaurants frequented by locals rather than beachside tourist hotspots (22 per cent).

Over a third (34 per cent) are planning a DIY excursion rather than an organised one and the same volume will take buses rather than taxis. By far the biggest money-saving measure adopted by almost half (45 per cent) of families will be to cut down on bar and café bills by buying large bottles of water and soft drinks in shops.




1.Buy large bottles of water/soft drinks in shops to avoid high bar/café charges
2.Arrange own excursions rather than going on organised ones
3.Use buses instead of taxis
4.Sightsee on foot rather than by public transport
5.Take fruit and pastries from the breakfast buffet to eat during the day
6.Make a packed lunch to take on the plane
7.Drink local draught beers and carafe wine rather than international bottled brands
8.Use restaurants frequented by locals rather than ones in tourist hotspots
9.Eat from fixed price set menus rather than a la carte
10.Buy a travel/sightseeing pass to reduce transport/attraction costs

The Post Office is the UK’s leading provider of foreign currency, offering euro on demand at over 10,000 branches and US dollars in more than 4,000 branches. Both currencies can also be ordered online at postoffice.co.uk for same day ‘click and collect’ at almost 3,000 branches or for home delivery/next day collection at any Post Office branch. 

Post Office Branches stock 30 leading currencies while up to 80 can be pre-ordered at over 11,500 branches or online at postoffice.co.uk/travel for next day branch or home delivery.

Published: 18 July 2018

Source: http://corporate.postoffice.co.uk

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