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The UK - A Nation Of Well-Travelled Tots

Press release   •   Aug 14, 2014 14:21 BST

- Western Europe is the ‘totspot’ destination for family holidays
- One in four (26 per cent) parents takes their children abroad on holiday to encourage them to speak a foreign language

Today’s youngsters are far better travelled than their parents' generation, with twice as many children under five (52 per cent) having travelled abroad for their holidays compared to their parents (26 per cent) when they were that age, according to findings* from Post Office Travel Insurance.

While seven in ten (69 per cent) parents hadn’t left the UK by the age of five, the research shows over a quarter (26 per cent) of their children had travelled abroad three times or more by the age of five. This rises to 42 per cent for children between the ages of six and 11.

Although his birthday is still a couple of weeks away, Prince George has already travelled to destinations including Mustique, New Zealand and Australia – travelling approximately 31,879 miles** – further than many of us will travel in a lifetime. However there are only a small percentage of children under five (10 per cent) who have visited such far away destinations***.

The ‘totspot’ destination for UK youngsters is Western Europe, with almost four in ten families (38 per cent) holidaying there in the last 12 months alone****. The USA is also a popular choice for one in six (16 per cent) families with young children travelling there over the last year.

Top ten family holiday regions:


Percentage of families who have been there on a holiday in the last 12 months with their 0-5 year olds:

Percentage of families who have been there on a holiday in the last 12 months with their six-11 year olds:

Western Europe

38 per cent

41 per cent


16 per cent

11 per cent

East Asia

12 per cent

7 per cent


8 per cent

3 per cent


8 per cent

3 per cent

New Zealand

8 per cent

3 per cent

Central Europe

8 per cent

11 per cent

South East Asia

7 per cent

4 per cent

Central America

6 per cent

2 per cent

South America

6 per cent

2 per cent

Source: Post Office

Although low cost flights and internet deals have made travel more accessible than ever for families, it would seem the cost of travelling outside of Europe with children is still too great for many. Almost half of these parents (49 per cent) said that they were simply unable to travel any further afield because of the expense. If money were no object they would instead broaden their horizons, with families’ dream destinations including the USA (20 per cent) and Australia and New Zealand (25 per cent).

Some parents appear to be choosing holiday destinations with their child’s development in mind. More than one in three (35 per cent) do so because they think it’s important for their child’s education and believe they should experience a different culture, while one in four (26 per cent) do so because they think it will help encourage their child speak a foreign language.

Paul Havenhand, Head of Insurance, Post Office Travel Insurance, commented: “The speed, ease and low-cost of travel today, means families can travel abroad relatively easily compared to a generation ago. Today’s young children are growing up to be the ‘jet set’ generation, with parents viewing foreign travel as an important part of their education, as well as an opportunity for quality family time.”

Regardless of the reason they travel, one in ten (10 per cent) families left the country without travel insurance on their last trip. Over a third (35 per cent) of these said they would be more likely to do so if they were leaving Europe, and a further 28 per cent said they would do so if they were going somewhere with a high chance of illness.

Havenhand continues: “Going on holiday – especially travelling abroad – is an exciting time for everyone. It’s something the whole family looks forward to and is often the highlight of the year. Unfortunately things can, and do go wrong, and with young children in tow having holiday insurance is more important than ever. It’s vital that no matter where you’re travelling this summer, people take out adequate cover to protect all their family when on holiday.”




For more information, please contact:

Carmel McCarthy
Post Office Press Office
Mob: 07717 294529
Twitter: @postofficenews

Notes to editors

*Unless otherwise stated, research conducted by Opinium on behalf of the Post Office. 2,004 online interviews were conducted between 20th to 24th June 2014. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria. All parents were asked about their oldest child when they were between the ages of 0-5 and 6-11 years old.

**Source: air miles calculator - Based on return flights from London to Mustique (8574 miles), and flights from London to Sydney (10,588 miles), Sydney to Aukland (1,343 miles) and Aukland to London (11,424 miles). Total = 31,879 miles.

***10 per cent of children have travelled on a long haul flight (six hours or more) when aged five or under

****38 per cent of families with at least one child aged up to five

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