Follow Post Office Media

Pester Power Is A Holiday Budget Buster: Scots Admit To Overspending Despite Tightening Their Belts

Press release   •   Jun 25, 2015 08:31 BST

  • Three-quarters of Scottish parents admit to an average holiday overspend of £220
  • But the Scottish Family Holiday Report 2015 reveals belt-tightening Scots spend 14 per cent less than the national average and 18 per cent less than Londoners
  • Resort prices for this summer are down in 10 of 12 European family favourites
  • Pester power costs least in Bulgaria and Costa del Sol, but most in France and Italy

As Scottish schools prepare to break up for the summer, the 2015 Scottish Family Holiday Report from Post Office® Travel Moneyhas revealed that pester power could wipe out the benefit of the strong pound abroad and drain the holiday budget. Three-quarters of Scottish parents told the Post Office they bust their budget by an average of £220 on their last holiday, despite tightening their belts and spending far less than the national average1.

Over the past two years Scots have slashed their holiday spending budget by more than a third, according to new research by Post Office Travel Money. Their average budget has fallen five per cent since last year’s report to around £5882 but is down by almost 39 per cent when compared with their spending in 2013. However, their spending on meals, drinks, souvenirs, sightseeing and budget-busting kids’ ‘must haves’ is 14 per cent less than the national average and 18 per cent lower than Londoners – showing a clear north/south divide.

ITEM Av. spend Scotland Av. spend UK Av. spend London Scotland vs. London % +/- spent by Scots
Eating out £113.42 £113.85 £106.42 +6.6%
Drinks £76.31 £70.20 £72.52 +5.2%
Souvenirs £45.82 £57.00 £56.05 -18.3%
Sightseeing £80.60 £78.57 £76.32 +5.6%
Kids beach items £44.14 £78.65 £90.91 -51.4%
Water Park £65.15 £89.98 £96.03 -32.2%
Pedalo Rides £34.01 £59.00 £58.12 -41.5%
Entertainment £58.08 £66.78 £80.53 -27.9%
Ice creams £36.33 £33.34 £34.47 +5.4%
Sun lounger hire £33.81 £39.29 £44.35 -23.8%
TOTAL £587.67 £686.66 £715.72 -18.0%

Scots spend more than Londoners on meals, drinks, ice creams and sightseeing last year but significantly less on sun loungers, family entertainment, pedalo rides and kids’ beach items. Giving in to pester power could account for much of their budget overspend as beach extras, water park visits, pedalo rides and ice creams cost them an average of nearly £180.

However, this year’s Scottish Family Holiday Report provides good news for Scottish families because the latest Post Office barometer has found that prices for meals, drinks, beach items and days out are down in 10 of the 12 family favourites it surveyed. Majorca (£452.38) has registered the biggest price fall of almost 21 per cent in a year but Sunny Beach in Bulgaria and Spain’s Costa del Sol are cheaper and tipped as the best value for bargain hunters3.

At £324.49 for a week’s worth of meals and drinks plus beach items and a water park day out, Sunny Beach emerges as cheapest for the fifth year running, boosted by a 6.8 per cent price fall. Spain’s Costa del Sol (£344.29) is close behind, thanks to a nine per cent drop in the cost of the barometer basket but the Algarve has closed the gap since last year. At £377.11, an 11.6 per cent price fall has taken the Portuguese favourite to third place in the table.

In addition to the top three destinations, Post Office Travel Money also surveyed prices for families travelling abroad to resorts in the Costa Blanca, Corfu, Crete, Cyprus, Italy, Majorca, Malta, South of France and Turkey.

Sorrento, Italy was the most expensive resort surveyed. At almost £702, prices in the Italian resort are over twice as high as in Sunny Beach or the Costa del Sol. Sorrento is one of only two resorts where prices have risen since last year, despite the strong pound. However, its 9.6 per cent rise is far smaller than in Marmaris, Turkey, where the barometer basket has risen 17.6 per cent since last summer to £528.36, due for the most part to higher meal prices.

Andrew Brown, Post Office Head of Travel Money, said: “Sterling is far stronger against the euro and other European currencies compared with last summer and this means Scottish holidaymakers will have over 13 per cent more foreign cash to spend than in 2014.

“However, our research reveals how giving in to pester power can bust the holiday budget. The cost of drinks and ice creams soon mounts up so we advise parents to set a budget and stick to it. Pack kids’ beach gear into the suitcase to avoid buying these abroad and the amount saved could fund a day out at a water park.”

Scottish Family Holiday Report Price Comparisons At A Glance:

It will be hard to beat Bulgaria for most kids’ cravings. For example, Sunny Beach offers the best-buy bucket and spade. Two of these will cost only £3.14 but parents can expect to fork out four times as much (£12.53) in Nice in the South of France

Drinks and ice creams will also cost parents least in Sunny Beach. Two Coca-Colas and two ice creams a day over the course of a week cost £24.70. The same number of drinks and ice creams add up to £56.78 in Corfu and £64.52 in Nice

Taking an hour’s pedalo ride twice during the holiday carries a high price tag of £36.87 in Nice but less than a third of that in Marmaris (£10.49)

Water babies wanting snorkelling gear will cost their parents under £5 in Corfu (£4.79) but over four times as much (£22.12) in Sorrento

Half a day’s hire of a sun-lounger could cost a family of four over £35 in either Nice or Sorrento but just £7.37 in the Costa del Sol or Ayia Napa, Cyprus

A family visit to a water park costs less than £40 in Marmaris (£36.73), Sorrento (£36.87) or Sliema, Malta (£38.34) but the price more than doubles in Ayia Napa (£91.43)

Family meals are another potential budget-buster. Expect to pay under £30 for a three-course family meal with drinks in Sunny Beach, the Costa del Sol or the Algarve but double that in Marmaris – around £58 - and two-and-a-half times as much in Sorrento, just under £74. Snacks (two portions of chips and two small pizzas) will set parents back £5.49 in Sunny Beach but that price escalates to over £15 in Sorrento (£15.49).

Post Office Travel Money stresses the importance of combining resort and package prices to get a true picture of the overall holiday cost. This is because, while Bulgaria remains cheapest, once the package prices currently available direct from Scotland are factored in, the Algarve swaps places with the Costa del Sol4. Furthermore, cheaper package prices for Turkey and Greece mean that Marmaris and Corfu join the best value top five.

Andrew Brown said: “If they haven’t booked already, families should consider both package and resort costs before coming to a final decision. Bulgaria remains unbeatable value when you combine all the holiday costs, but cheaper package prices make the Algarve a better bet than the Costa del Sol. Remember to buy currency before leaving home to avoid paying more at airport bureaux and take enough foreign cash because changing money abroad is more expensive when bank charges are added.”

Up to 70 currencies can be pre-ordered at over 1,400 Post Office branches in Scotland or online at for next day branch or home delivery – with improved exchange rates for higher value purchases. Scottish holidaymakers can obtain euros on demand in 687 Post Office branches, while over 300 larger branches stock the 30 most popular currencies including Bulgarian lev, Croatian kuna and Turkish lira.


About the Post Office

The Post Office (Post Office Limited) has an unrivalled national network of over 11,500 branches across the UK, more than all the high street banks combined, and sits at the heart of communities in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. The Post Office has made a commitment to maintaining its network of branches at its current size and reach. It provides around 170 different products and services spanning financial services including savings, insurance, loans, mortgages and credit cards; Government services; telephony; foreign currency; travel insurance and mail services.

The Post Office serves over 17 million customers a week and a third of small businesses. Some 99.7% of the total population live within three miles of a post office and over 97% live with one mile of a post office. For many rural communities, the post office is the only retail outlet. Post Offices branches remain highly valued and trusted, and are the focal point of many communities. For more information, visit

Please note the Press Office team can only deal with enquiries from the media.  Unfortunately they do not have access to customer information so can not help with customer enquiries.

If you have an enquiry regarding any Post Office product or service please visit or call 0845 611 2970 Local call rates apply. Call costs may vary depending on your service provider. Calls may be monitored or recorded for training and compliance purposes.