/ Parenting, Travel & Leisure

Summer holidays are ripping us off

Sand chart

Most of us know that going on holiday during the summer months will probably cost us a pretty penny. But, do you realise just how much lighter your pockets will be?

I don’t have children, but my partner works in a school and can’t take holidays in term time. It’s a constant source of frustration because we regularly have to pay higher prices for our holidays.

Luckily, we can make savings because the school’s private and term dates can differ from state schools. But, if this wasn’t the case I would be very tempted to encourage him to bunk off so we could get better holiday deals.

And is it any wonder when you’re dealing with whopping price hikes? Our research found that those planning to take a holiday in August could pay more than double the amount of those taking exactly the same holiday in September.

Up to an 181% price increase

We found a Virgin Holidays break to Jamaica increased by 181% in August compared to September. A family of four staying at the Sunset Beach Resort in Montego Bay, departing on 21 August this summer, would pay £7,343. However, the same holiday departing on 4 September, would cost £2,611 – a whopping £4,732 less.

A Thomas Cook holiday to Mallorca would have cost 78% more in August compared with the same holiday in early September – £1,719 compared with £996.

You don’t know how lucky you are if you don’t have to travel during school holidays. A Which? Holiday survey found more than three in ten UK adults who took a holiday in the last 12 months did so during July and August. And six in ten said their last holiday was during school holidays.

When does profit become profiteering?

The tour operators told us that prices reflect supply and demand with family-friendly destinations being more popular at peak times. But, I can’t see how tour operators can justify such huge price increases.

It feels like profiteering, penalising those people who can only travel at this time. So it doesn’t surprise me when parents take their children out of school during term time to go on holiday.

Having seen first-hand the extent of the price differences between August and September, I can’t honestly say that I wouldn’t do the same if I had children myself.

Would you take your child out of school during term time to avoid paying peak-time holiday prices?

Yes – definitely (33%, 38 Votes)

No - never (30%, 34 Votes)

Only if it was a couple of days at the beginning or end of term (26%, 30 Votes)

It would depend on how much I would save (11%, 12 Votes)

Total Voters: 114

Loading ... Loading ...
pickle says:
31 July 2010

I can understand firms wanting to make more money during school holidays – but I think the increase in price is excessive. ‘spose it is a form of rationing as well,. Families with children have no choice of when to go on holiday – to hit the pacage holiday rip-off families should collaborate and all stay at home, or holiday in this country, for one year – that would bring prices tumbling!


I did take the children out of school occasionally when they were very young, but they soon reach an age when they themselves worry they would be missing something. Now coming to the end of over 20 years of paying the school holiday surcharge, I am able to gloat a little, but had always tried to see it as not profiteering by the companies but more as a need to subsidise holidays at the other times which would otherwise have simply been unviable. When we stay in our hotels and villas, dine in pretty restaurants and take boat trips, it would perhaps do to remember how few of the facilities would be available if no-one holidayed outside the end of July and August.

Methuser-la says:
31 July 2010

Re: Summer Holidays
Why not think of it as hefty discounts if you go outside school holidays – not heavy penalties the other way round? Most decent items of clothing in ‘Sales’ are the very small or very big, for the obvious reason that the shops would be stuck with those at normal prices. If you are very small or very big – great, you can take advantage of the offers. If you aren’t at the extremes -tough! Similar reaoning with holiday dates.
Practically – there is no real reason why UK has the same school holidays in every county. Why not stagger them? Holiday companies would have to reflect this broadening of the holiday season in their prices.
It is only a question of ‘parent power’ forcing the changes through local government.

Kiersten says:
21 September 2010

At the moment, I’m fairly satisfied that the kids should just come out of school when we can afford a holiday…. and that won’t be during the school holidays, there is just no way I could afford those prices. As a single parent, I am unlikely to be able to afford those prices when the kids get older and can’t afford to miss school, so I guess they’ll just have to miss out on holidays instead.


Think of it – teachers get ripped off – every single year – with or without children – for their entire working lives – and you are dissatisfied!

Doreen says:
19 June 2014

Yes but teachers get 13 weeks holiday a year. Who else gets that? 25% of the year on holiday!! Don’t ask me to sympathise.

Barry says:
5 August 2014

Doreen, I can only assume you do not know any teachers! I am not a teacher myself but my wife is. If you calculate her hourly rate based on a ‘full’ working year (4 weeks holiday) including the enormous amount of unpaid overtime she HAS to do during the working week (generally 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the school plus a minimum 1 hour at home in the evening and 5 -8 hours over the weekend) you wouldn’t do the job and make such uninformed statements. Do you think the teachers just have the lessons in their head and wing it all day, please, get real!

Little-Bev says:
28 March 2015

I can understand your point, however, I work as a TA in a school and don’t get paid for the 13 weeks of school holidays so am stuck with having to go during school holidays and the rip-off prices!

Lloyd says:
11 July 2016

Err… Don’t be a teacher.