Can a family holiday in the Mediterranean really be cheaper than staying in the UK? Common sense says no, but with prices in child-friendly hotspots in the UK being dramatically hiked for the school holidays, and with such amazing offers available for short-haul destinations including the Greek islands, it seems that prices can be comparable if you choose a full-board option in the Mediterranean.
The key, it seems, is to set your dining and activity costs in advance, as these are the kinds of things that could send your budget soaring once you’re at your destination. At Mark Warner resorts, the vast majority of activities are free, meaning that you can be as sporty as you like without driving your bill sky-high.
Stay at a British holiday village such as Center Parcs, on the other hand, and you could well find your budget spiralling out of control as the kids badger you to sign up for all kinds of expensive activities, and also if you want to take advantage of childcare (at Mark Warner, kids’ clubs are free for ages 2 and up).
It’s a similar scenario with self-catering. You might think you’re going to save a lot of money by renting an apartment or villa, but once you’re in holiday mode you’re likely to abandon all notions of shopping, cooking and cleaning in favour of eating out. This is particularly dangerous in Europe given the euro’s continued strength against sterling. Slip into the habit of eating out once or twice a day and you may find yourself going £1000 or more over budget over the course of just one week.
And while it’s true that flying to a destination will increase costs, air travel is factored into family holiday packages – on a ‘staycation’ you might end up spending just as much on petrol or rail/air travel and car hire. Again, if you’re self-catering you’re likely to spend more time outside your accommodation and hence rack up charges not only for petrol but for paying attractions such as zoos and themeparks.
Britons spend an average of £1,024 per person on holidays in an average year, but your family holiday don’t have to cost you as much as this – a sample price for a Mark Warner holiday at Lemnos Beach Resort in Greece is £4,872 for a week including flights, transfers, accommodation, breakfast, dinner, tennis, sailing and windsurfing with tuition, mountain biking, a fitness programme, and childcare for ages 2 to 17. On a week-long London city break, you’ll like to spend that on your hotel alone. Food for thought…
Read more about family beach holidays with Mark Warner.