Embargoed to: 00.01 23 June 2012

  • Parents pay an average  of almost £67 per child on beach extras  according to Post Office® Travel Money’s Scottish Family Holiday Report 2012 
  • More than two in five families fork out £100+ per child on kids’ ‘must haves’
  • Pester power costs least in Bulgaria and Turkey, but most in Italy
  • Spain and Portugal offer best all round family value

With the end of the school term and the summer exodus abroad fast approaching, Scottish families could hope that the rise in the value of sterling against European currencies will put extra holiday cash in their pockets.  However, this year’s Scottish Family Holiday Report from Post Office Travel Money has revealed that kid’s cravings for beach extras could wipe out the sterling gain and drain the holiday budget.

A Post Office poll of Scots who take holidays overseas shows that more than one in five parents give in to pester power, costing them at least £100 per child1.  80 per cent of the Scottish parents questioned admitted paying out for kids’ holiday extras that they had neither bargained nor budgeted for – with an average overspend of £67 per child and over £150 in the case of 12 per cent of respondents.

In a long list of extras demanded by children, parents named drinks (48 per cent) and ice creams (42 per cent) as the biggest drain on the holiday purse.  Almost two-in-five admitted splashing out on a family water park visit, a luxury that Post Office research found to cost between £42 in Bulgaria and £73 in Corfu.

Other budget busters for Scottish families included beachside games, sandals and jelly shoes, swimming goggles and snorkels, pedalo rides, beach towels, sun loungers and beach gear like buckets and spades and lilos.  However, prices for these extras vary dramatically across nine popular Scottish holiday destinations in Europe according to the pricing research conducted as part of the annual Post Office family report.

Bulgaria and Turkey emerge as the destinations where pester power costs the least -  £151.21 in Sunny Beach and £185.85 in Marmaris – for 10 kids’ extras that include  the items most likely to bust the holiday budget for Scottish families2.  Mainland Spain was also lower-priced for kids’ extras at £187.15 in the Costa del Sol and £192.12 in the Costa Blanca.  But ‘must-haves’ cost up to 19 per cent more in Majorca than in the Costas while Italy is 58 per cent more expensive than Bulgaria. 

Scottish Family Holiday Report Price Comparisons At A Glance:

  • Drinks and ice creams will cost parents the least in Portugal. On a one-week holiday, two Coca-Colas and two ice creams a day is £30.80 in the Algarve. The  same number of drinks and ice creams costs £54.60 in Turkey and £64.40 in Italy
  • The best-buy bucket & spade is in Turkey.  Two of these will cost £3.90 but parents can expect to fork out four times as much (£12.28) in Crete
  • Parents forgetting to pack beach towels can pick up a couple for the kids in Corfu or Crete for less than £9 but will pay over £26 in Portugal
  • Taking an hour’s pedalo ride twice during the holiday carries a high price tag of over £26 in Portugal and Crete but under half that in Turkey (£11.72)
  • Water babies wanting swimming goggles and snorkelling gear will cost their parents under £14 in Bulgaria (£13.96) but almost three times as much (£40.36) in Portugal
  • A family of four can pick up two lilos – one per child – for under £5 in Bulgaria but will pay over three times as much in Corfu, Italy and the Costa del Sol.

Despite costing least for kids’ items, Bulgaria does not emerge as such great value when it comes to holiday package prices, something recognised by almost two-in-five (17 per cent) of Scottish holidaymakers in the Post Office opinion poll. This perception may be because holidays departing to Bulgaria direct from Scotland cost more than for most other destinations surveyed.  A one-week self-catering holiday for a family of four in early July costs £1,516 compared with £1,088 in Majorca and £1,208 in Portugal3.

The destinations perceived as best value by Scots were Spain, named by 37 per cent, and Turkey by 29 per cent.  At the other end of the spectrum Italy was described as poor value by almost a quarter of Scottish holidaymakers.  Holiday packages, kids’ extras and family meals all cost more in Italy than in any other destination surveyed.

Family restaurant meals present another potential pitfall for parents hoping to keep their costs down on holiday this summer.  Corfu and Portugal (Algarve) share the honours as the cheapest place for a family to eat out (£43.86 for a three-course meal including drinks).4 By contrast, a meal in Sorrento would set families back almost two-and-a-half times as much (£105.26). 

Andrew Brown, Post Office Head of Travel Money, said: “Sterling is doing much better against the euro and other European currencies this year and that means Scottish holidaymakers who do their homework before travelling can expect to have over eight per cent more money to spend than in 2011.

“However, giving in to pester power could 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’ gear like jelly shoes, goggles, towels and last year’s lilo into the suitcase to avoid buying these abroad.  The amount saved could fund a day out at a water park.

“Families who have still to book should consider package and resort costs before making their decision.  Spain is still good value when you combine all the holiday costs and so is Portugal.  Buy currency before leaving home to avoid poor airport bureau rates and take enough foreign cash because changing money abroad is more expensive when bank charges are added.” 

Scottish holidaymakers can obtain euros on demand in 687 Post Office bureaux de change branches, while over 300 larger branches stock Bulgarian lev as one of the 25 most popular currencies. In addition, over 70 currencies can be pre-ordered at more than 1,400 Post Office branches in Scotland or online using the ‘Click & Collect’ service at for next day branch or home delivery.  Post Office Travel Money also offers a pre-paid euro Travel Money Card, which can be loaded before travel and used like plastic on holiday.


For more information, please contact:

Christine Ball         
01798 874177 / 07976 285997                                                      

Ruth Barker           
Post Office Press Office      
020 7012 3456 / 07435 769020

Notes to Editors:

1 Consumer research for Post Office Travel Money was carried out online by Populus between 13 and 15 April 2012 to find out the attitudes of Scottish parents who take holidays abroad. This found that eight in ten parents in Scotland with children aged 18 or under who had been on holiday with their children in the last five years needed to pay for items over and above their planned budget to satisfy their children’s needs. On average parents spent £66.88 per child on holiday extras, while 22 per cent spent over £100 and 12 per cent more than £150 per child. The top kids’ cravings were:

Kids’ craving

Percentage of parents who overspent

1. Drinks


2. Ice creams / ice lollies


3. Water park


4. Coin-operated beachside games


5. Kids beach items (i.e. bucket & spade, lilo)


6. Entertainment / show


7. Sports activity (i.e. tennis, horse riding)


8. Swimming goggles / snorkelling gear


9. Beach sandals / jelly shoes / crocs


10. Sightseeing attraction


11. Beach clothes (i.e. swimming costume)


12. Sunglasses


13. Pedalo rides


14. Sun lounger / beach umbrella


15. Beach towel


2 Post Office Scottish Family Holiday Report 2012 prices were supplied by National and Regional Tourist Offices, except Bulgaria, provided by Balkan Holidays. Water park prices were sourced online independently by Post Office Travel Money.

Post Office Scottish Family Holiday Report 2012



Sunny Beach




Costa del Sol


Costa Blanca











14 x Coca-Cola










14 x ice cream










2 x beach towel










2 x inflatable lilo










2 x bucket & spade










2 x swimming goggles










2 x mask & snorkel










2 x jelly shoes










2 x pedalo hire
(1 hour)










1 x family day out at a water park




















Source: Post Office. Data relates to exchange rates on 18 June 2012.

3 Cheapest seven-night family holiday available on (13 June 2012), departing from airports in Scotland on 6 July. Prices include return flights and three-star self-catering accommodation for two adults and two children.

1. Majorca          £1,088
2. Costa del Sol  £1,116
3. Portugal         £1,208
4. Costa Blanca   £1,252
5. Turkey           £1,396
6. Corfu             £1,422
7. Bulgaria         £1,516
8. Italy              £1,562
9. Crete             £1,594 

4 The cost of a family meal was based on a three-course meal for two adults and two children in a local tourist-class restaurant including a bottle of house wine and two soft drinks:

1= Corfu            £43.86
1= Portugal        £43.86
3. Bulgaria         £44.19
4. Costa Blanca   £45.44
5. Majorca          £46.93
6. Costa del Sol   £48.25
7. Turkey           £48.83
8. Crete              £74.56
9. Italy               £105.26

Contact: Christine Ball / Mandi Arculus
Phone: 01798874177
Website: http://www.