Holidaymakers taking advantage of plummeting resort prices, finds study

Holidaymakers taking advantage of plummeting resort prices, finds study

More than one-in-five holidaymakers plan to take a self-catering holiday abroad this summer as costs in resorts plummet.

A third of people will do so specifically to keep meal costs to a minimum, yet 54% said they shopped in local mini-marts rather than larger supermarkets on their last holiday.

If they do so this summer they could pay up to 61% extra, according to a new study for Post Office Travel Money by Cosmos.

Only 9% of self-caterers take advantage of the lower prices by doing all their shopping at a supermarket – but the research found these to be far cheaper than local mini-marts in 10 European destinations surveyed.

The biggest price differential is in Crete, where Cosmos reps found that mini-mart shopping for 20 food and drink staples costs £103.96 instead of £64.64 at a supermarket. In the Costa del Sol, a mini-mart shop costs over 50% extra - £65.24 compared with £43.32 in a supermarket.

Self-caterers spent an average of £130 buying provisions for their last holiday – although this only applied to about three-quarters of them because 23% chose to eat out all the time.

However, more than one-in-five people planning to self-cater this summer are now doing so because they think the strength of the pound will make their shopping bills cheaper.

Once the Post Office applied the sterling exchange rate, it found double-digit percentage falls in Spain, Portugal and Cyprus.

The biggest price drop is in Majorca, after steep increases last year. Holidaymakers shopping at local mini-marts will find their bill over 56% cheaper than in 2014 at £57.66 for 20 typical items. But by shopping at a bigger supermarket they could shave almost £10 off their bill because the cost (£47.92) has shrunk by nearly 45% since last summer.

The Costa Blanca is cheaper still and has overtaken the Algarve to emerge as this year’s ‘best buy’ for self-caterers. A one-week supermarket shop costs 15% less than in the Costa del Sol (£43.32) and is almost half the price of Cyprus (£68.97).

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “This year’s report reveals that it’s not just restaurants and bars that are cutting costs to attract custom. The same is happening in shops where there is fierce competition for business – especially in the western Med.

“Self-catering can be a great way to save money so the shop price falls are great news for families on a strict budget. However, the wide variations between prices in resort convenience stores and bigger supermarkets make it important to do some homework before leaving home.

“While basic staples like milk, eggs and bread can cost less or only marginally more in local mini-marts, most food and drink items will cost a lot more. This year we found examples of basics like coffee, tea bags, fruit juice and tomatoes costing over twice as much in a mini-mart.”

Cosmos sales director Gary Anslow said: “ Feedback from our customers through our exclusive Cosmos Concierge service tell us that self-catering holidays are as popular as ever, more so this year because of the great exchange rates meaning the money in your pocket goes a lot further.

“Self-catering as a share of our total bookings in, for example, the Algarve, has increased by around 3% year-on-year in recent years, and we believe that the current exchange rates will see that trend continuing.”

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