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Couple smiling on holiday

UK adults overspend on holidays by £220 each year

For most of us, taking a week or two off work for a summer holiday is a big deal. It’s our chance to get away and forget our worries. Yet new research from the Money Advice Service released today shows it can come at a cost. We’re overspending, and even getting into debt just so we can have a break.


We found the average overspend by adults was £220 - a sizeable amount for a week in the sun. This is partly down to three in five getting carried away, with the same number caught out by unexpected costs.

The biggest extra costs are food and drink (32%) and activities (22%), both frequently costing more than expected once we reach our destination. We’re also buying things we forgot to pack, adding to the total cost for one in five.


The result of this overspending is we’re also getting into debt as a result. A quarter of us have been on a holiday we can’t afford in the last year. Worse still one in five (18%) of us have booked a holiday knowing it will cause us financial difficulty.

These figures are despite a decent number of us making an effort to save up for a holiday (68%) or have a budget (58%). The big problem seems to be in underestimating the total cost of the time away.

Planning ahead

It’s never too late to plan your holiday spending. Even if you’ve already paid for part of the trip, starting up a simple budget will help you know what you’ve got to spend when you are away.

 Factor in all the extra costs you think you might face, and try to remember to bring everything with you too!


Of course, keeping to the budget can be trickier, especially when you get swept up in the excitement of being on holiday.

Before spending, especially on any bigger activities and excursions, check if you can afford it. You might find there are cheaper options, so shop around.

If you don’t think you’ll have enough, there’s still time to save as much as you can. Our Quick-cash finder might help you track down a little extra, but you can also save by getting your holiday money before you get to the airport. We’ve got more holiday money tips in this blog post.

Dealing with debt

If you already owe money, or have come back from your trip having spent more than you can afford, don’t ignore the debt.

If you don’t think you can manage it yourself, the earlier you get some help the less likely it will become a problem. Advice doesn’t need to cost you anything, as there are plenty of free and confidential services all over the country, which offer you advice face-to-face, or over the phone.

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  • Denise / 27 July 2015

    We went away during the Easter holidays. We had better weather and worked out cheaper. This was our main holiday of the year.

  • Jim bob mcgregor / 26 July 2015

    We went to Blackpool last year, because we thought a holiday at home would save money, but the cost of meals was very expensive and we had not budgeted for this. So earlier this year when i booked the hotel for edinburgh i booked breakfast there also, meaning we had our first meal of the day already sorted. I think this helped us to save money. We also travelled a lot by bus in edinburgh which was very cheap!