• Powerful pound helps prices plunge in most top European family resorts
  • Sunny Beach, Bulgaria and Costa del Sol are again cheapest for families
  • Biggest falls of over 26 per cent come where restaurants have cut meal costs says new Family Holiday Report (www.postoffice.co.uk/familyholidays2014)
  • Resort spending rises 16.5 per cent and two-in-five bust the budget by £242

Families travelling to the Eurozone and other European hotspots at the end of the school term will find that the powerful pound will make it cheaper in almost every destination surveyed for the annual Post Office® Travel Money Family Holiday Report. Sterling’s increased buying power¹ has been compounded by local price-cuts in three-quarters of resorts, making it up to 31 per cent cheaper for families compared to a year ago.

Family meals remain cheapest in the Costa del Sol and in Sunny Beach, Bulgaria at less than £33 for three-courses plus a bottle of wine and kids’ drinks. This has again made the two resorts best value of 14 surveyed for the Post Office Family Holiday Report basket of 15 items.

However, Sunny Beach (£65.97) has extended its lead on the Costa del Sol (£79.69) with an 18.1 per cent year-on-year fall in prices², thanks partly to the lower resort costs.

The biggest falls have come where competition between resort restaurants has led to hefty cuts in meal costs³. Even though it remains the most expensive resort to eat out, meal costs have plunged 39 per cent year-on-year in Sorrento. This enabled the Italian resort to surrender its position as the highest-priced destination to Nice. At £142.54 prices in Sorrento are down 26 per cent, compared with 17 per cent in Nice (£147.63).

Meal prices have fallen even further – by over 46 per cent – in the Croatian resort of Porec and this contributed to a 31 per cent drop in its barometer total to £105.25. By contrast, meal prices have mushroomed in Majorca, not only making this one of the priciest places for families to eat but also increasing its barometer basket to almost £130. This represents a rise of almost 26 per cent compared with 12 months ago.

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: ‘Paying for meals is likely to have the biggest impact on the family budget. Price variations in popular destinations are much greater than you might expect so those who have still to book would be well-advised to do some homework to find out where feeding the family will cost least. For those on a strict budget Sunny Beach and the Costa del Sol look to be unbeatable value. However, competition between restaurants in Sorrento and Porec means that families visiting these resorts will pay a lot less than a year ago.’

Although visitors will have nearly 20 per cent extra cash in their pockets because of sterling’s surge against the Turkish lira, local prices in Marmaris have risen over seven per cent, wiping out some of the benefit. As a result, the barometer basket for Marmaris has dropped by just over 10 per cent to £92.85 and visitors will pay roughly the same for meals as they did a year ago.

Elsewhere in the Eastern Med, a 24 per cent fall in meal prices will make it much cheaper for visitors to Crete. At £87.15, its barometer total has plunged by around 27 per cent since last year, making Crete almost 15 per cent cheaper than another Greek island, Corfu (£101.98). As a result, Crete has risen to third place in the barometer table above the Algarve (£98.33) and Ayia Napa in Cyprus (£98.55) as well as Corfu and Marmaris.

Another reason for Crete’s rise up the table is that Post Office Travel Money investigated prices for kids’ beach items and the island was the cheapest by far for four ‘must haves’ – a bucket & spade, lilo, mask & snorkel and aqua shoes. At just over £10, this was 21 per cheaper than second-placed Sunny Beach (£13) and under a third the price in Nice (£32).

Post Office Travel Money consumer research has revealed that pester power remains a key factor in causing parents to bust their holiday spend. Three-quarters of holidaymakers said they set a budget for their last trip but over two-in-five overspent by 30 per cent (£242)4.

When asked about specific holiday items, they admitted spending almost 17 per cent more on their last trip than on previous ones. Although meals and drinks were the biggest drains on their budget, some of the highest spending increases were on visits to water parks (up 62 per cent to £51), pedalo rides (up 110 per cent to over £33), ice creams (up 53 per cent to £34) and beach items like sun loungers and umbrella hire (up 54 per cent to £17).


Average spend 2014

Average spend 2013

% +/- 2014 vs. 2013

Eating out
















Water/theme park




Kids’ beach items*








Ice creams




Pedalo ride




Sports activity








Sun lounger/umbrella hire








*Kids’ beach items includes bucket & spade, jelly shoes, swimming goggles, snorkelling equipment

In its report, Post Office Travel Money found that the cost of these items could vary quite dramatically between resorts in Europe. The lowest and highest prices for each of the 15 commodities surveyed differed by between 50-87 per cent:


Lowest price

Highest price

% Cheaper
Kids’ aqua/jelly shoes

Sunny Beach : £2.15

Majorca: £10.21


Bucket & spade

Crete: £1.63

Nice: £8.17


Inflatable lilo

Ayia Napa: £1.63

Porec: £8.83


Mask & snorkel set

Crete: £2.04

Porec: £11.04


Suncream (200ml SPF15)

Sunny Beach: £3.87

Majorca: £13.57


Insect repellent (50mil)

Crete: £2.04

Sorrento: £7.35


Ice-cream (Mars/Magnum)

Sunny Beach: £0.86

Nice: £3.27


Sun-lounger (half day)

Marmaris: £1.52

Nice: £11.44


Pedalo (1 hour)

Porec: £3.31

Orlando: £18.15


Bottle of beer/lager (café/bar)

Sunny Beach: £0.64

Nice: £3.10


Glass of wine (café/bar)

Sunny Beach: £1.29

Orlando: £4.23


Bottle/can Coca-Cola

The Algarve: £0.82

Nice: £2.66


Small pizza/pasta for 1 child

Sunny Beach: £0.86

Majorca/Algarve: £4.90


Portion of chips/French Fries

Sunny Beach: £0.64

Nice: £3.27


Family meal

Costa del Sol £32.60

Sorrento: £65.36


Water Park – Europe

Marmaris: £38.14

Ayia Napa: £90.16


Andrew Brown said: ‘With the evidence we found of overspending, the best advice is to plan well ahead and set a realistic budget for the resort you will be visiting. Once that budget is set, change money before leaving home and remember that there are improved exchange rates in our branches and online for transactions worth £500 or more – the average amount that holidaymakers spend while abroad.’


Currencies for the Post Office Travel Money Family Holiday Report destinations surveyed are among 30 available on demand at 1,600 larger Post Office branches, while over 10,000 offer euro over the counter and 4,000 offer US dollars and Turkish lira. More than 70 currencies can be pre-ordered at over 11,500 Post Office branches or online at postoffice.co.uk/travel for next day branch or home delivery.

Customers can purchase foreign currency in small as well as large amounts at Post Office branches across the UK – although higher rates are offered for bigger value transactions, both in branches and online.

Families can compare resort costs at www.postoffice.co.uk/familyholidays2014.

© Post Office


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here