Family holidays: Take your tax back

Family holidays: Take your tax back

As changes to APD cut families’ holiday costs, Joanna Booth looks at what they can spend those saved pounds on

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Like a banknote discovered in the back pocket of your jeans, money unexpectedly saved has a flippant feel – it should be used on a treat, rather than carefully banked.

With the recent changes to Air Passenger Duty (APD), families in particular will find a welcome reduction in the cost of their holiday as the taxman takes a smaller slice of the price.

Last month, the top two APD bands were scrapped, meaning all destinations over 2,000 miles are charged at Band B rates – a significant saving for previous Band C and D destinations such as the Caribbean and Australia.

And from the start of this month, children under 12 have been exempt from APD so long as they’re travelling in economy.

The combination of these two changes sees a family of four flying in economy with two kids under 12 claw back a fair few pounds off the cost of their trip.

As families may well have not expected these savings, why not encourage them to spend the extra money on something much more fun than tax?

We’ve rounded up ideas on what they could buy with the money saved instead, from in-resort activities to upgrades and airport lounge passes. All savings and prices are for a family of four with two children under 12, flying in economy.

Band A – Saving £26

In Band A destinations – those under 2,000 miles away – the £26 saving could buy:

A relaxing day of sunbathing, swimming and sightseeing on a Cruise the Blues boat trip in Marmaris, Turkey, from £22 with Attraction World.

A tasty visit to the Choco-Story chocolate museum in Bruges, from £20 with SuperBreak.

An hour-long sightseeing cruise through Prague on the Vltava River with an audio guide and views of the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle, from £26 with Do Something Different.

A guided hop-on, hop-off bus tour of Split in Croatia, from £24.50 with TravelCube.

Band B – Saving £134

Kennedy Space Centre

In Band B destinations – such as the US, Canada, Dubai and Egypt – the £134 saving could buy:

A day of excitement for budding astronauts at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where they can see NASA’s launch complex, the astronauts’ hall of fame and stand nose-to-nose with Space Shuttle Atlantis. Funway Holidays offers admission for £114.

Entry into the newest attraction in Orlando, I-Drive 360. For £106, they can choose entry to two of the attractions – a flight on the 400ft-tall observation wheel the Orlando Eye, the Sea Life Orlando Aquarium and Madame Tussauds Orlando – with Travel 2.

Families booked on to Grand American Adventures’ already action-packed Northeastern Family Discovery trip in Canada could add on tickets to a baseball game in Toronto for £110.

A full-day Ras Mohammed snorkelling trip from Sharm el Sheikh to discover under-water wonders with Red Sea Holidays, costs from £102 including equipment and lunch.

An upgrade to a Beachfront Junior Suite for a three-night stay at JA Palm Tree Court in Dubai from £144 with Gold Medal, so the kids can step straight from the balcony on to the sand and parents can enjoy the sea view.

Band C – Saving £198

In former Band C destinations – including the Caribbean, Indian Ocean, South Africa and Thailand – the £198 saving could buy:

A Sesame Street Character Breakfast to make a stay at a Beaches resort in the Caribbean even more memorable for the kids. For £144, they’ll spend 45 minutes with Elmo and the gang and receive a colouring mat with crayons, a balloon, finger puppets, sip cup, Sesame Streets dolls and a photograph of the experience.

A full-day trip to Phi Phi Island by speedboat for a family staying with Thomson or First Choice in Phuket, Thailand. For £180, they’ll snorkel and spend time on the island’s picture-perfect beaches, with lunch included.

Koh Phi Phi beach

A whole extra holiday, in the form of a stopover, in Bangkok. Premier Holidays can offer families flying through the Thai capital three nights in a family room at the Rembrandt Hotel from £198.

An extra night’s stay at Coin de Mire Attitude in Mauritius, from £136 through Gold Medal. With kayaking, tennis and the kids’ club all free for guests, there’ll be plenty to fill the extra 24 hours.

A half-day Whale Watching and Winelands tour from Cape Town, from £140 with Do Something Different – after the kids enjoy the excitement of spotting sea-life, parents can take a well-earned tipple in the vineyards.

An upgrade to a Waterview Room at The Verandah Resort & Spa in Antigua, from £120 per week with Virgin Holidays, so the family gets a sea view. Mum and dad could use the rest of the money for dinner in fine-dining restaurant Nicole’s – at around £55 per couple.

Band D – Saving £246

In former Band D destinations – these include Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia – the £246 saving could buy:

An upgrade to half-board for a three-night stay at the Hard Rock Hotel in Penang, Malaysia, with Gold Medal, so the family can enjoy a range of restaurants including the famous Hard Rock Café.

Lunch in the restaurant at the top of Sydney Tower, plus a visit to Sea Life Sydney Aquarium to see sharks, rays and dugongs, from £228 with Attraction World.

A thrill-packed day at a theme park in Singapore – TravelCube offers one-day passes for Universal Studios Singapore for £135 or Legoland Malaysia for £171. Add a Night Safari by tram at the Wildlife Reserve to see elephants and tigers for £89.

New Zealand Hobbiton

The chance to make Tolkien fantasies come true with a tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set from Rotorua, visiting the hobbit holes, the Green Dragon Inn and Mill with a guide, from £224 with 1st Class Holidays.


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