Families could start paying hundreds of pounds more for summer getaways than last year. investigation found.
Package holiday prices to Spain, Turkey and Italy have increased by 20% or more since last summer. A week in Greece now costs about 30% more on average.
Flights to popular destinations increased by up to 71% compared to 2022, while hotel prices outpaced inflation.
Inflation hit package holiday prices
According to data from Travelsupermarket.com, we compared the average cost of a package vacation in six popular destinations and found that travelers paid on average almost a fifth more than last year. Getaways to Greece have increased the most: a 7-night vacation this summer costs an average of £867 per person – £200 more than last year.
Huge pent-up demand triggers price increases that are likely to continue to rise due to inflation. easyJet Holidays told us: ‘With cost pressures emerging in many areas, sooner or later these costs from our suppliers will have to be passed on to our customers. If you book today, that’s the price you’ll pay. However, if you leave it for another six months, the increase in hotel accommodation and transfer prices could hit us.’
Despite being 20% more expensive than last summer, Spain was still the cheapest destination overall, with an average cost of £693 a week’s vacation. Portugal is also an affordable option for 2023 as prices have increased by only 7%.
2022 and 2023 package holiday prices comparison
Table notes: Average increase for 7-night package holidays departing between July and October. Data is from Ice Travel Group, parent company of Travelsupermarket.com.
Soaring flight tickets
Flight prices dropped during the pandemic, but fares began to rise as passengers returned to the skies in 2022. When we compared the cost of flying to Spain, Italy, France, Greece, and the United States this Easter, average airfare increased 51% year over year, according to data from airfare analyst Skytra.
Flights to both Italy and Greece increased by 71%, while flights to France and Spain increased by 45% and 38%, respectively. US flight prices have increased by about a third, making the average price of an Easter flight over £350 £1,527 more expensive. In total, 63 of the 69 routes we checked have risen since last year.
High demand is not the only reason for the sharp increase in airfares; Jet fuel prices rose along with oil prices. Last year, easyJet, Ryanair and British Airways hedged against fluctuating oil prices by hedging fuel costs (buying in bulk at a fixed price). This has saved the UK’s biggest airlines over a billion pounds, but they may have to raise fares or add a fuel surcharge if oil prices don’t fall in 2023.
Our ultimate guide to the best and worst airlines
High hotel prices
A hotel stay this Easter will also cost more than last year; Room rates in the UK have increased by almost a fifth. Hoteliers face rising energy and food costs as well as having to pay higher wages due to staff shortages. According to data provided by comparison site Kayak, a night in a three- or four-star hotel this Easter averages £119 – compared to £100 last year.
The average rate in Europe is also £119 – 10% higher than last year. Room rates in most long-haul destinations have increased: from £138 at Easter 2022, travelers now pay an average of £170.
How can you keep the cost of your vacation low?
1. Book early to fix price
Prices may fall if demand falls as the cost of living crisis bites – but indications are that prices will continue to rise. Early booking guarantees your price and offers the best option for departure times, locations and accommodation. Some carriers only require a small deposit (£25 per person), but depending on your carrier’s Terms and Conditions, you may still be charged if you cancel.
2. Avoid additional charges
Package holiday providers may legally charge extra if certain costs increase, such as changes in fuel prices. All Which? Recommended Providers guaranteed it won’t be in 2023 – so choose an operator at no additional charge.
3. Schedule your travels
If you’re not tied to school holidays, you’ll always find the best price/weather combination during the shoulder season: May/June and September/October. We found that at Easter a 7-night package with Tui or Jet2 is on average at least £300 less per couple than during the school summer holidays. The May half term was £250 less and the February half term was £650 less.
4. Think all-inclusive
All-inclusive vacation protects food, beverage and activity costs against currency fluctuations. Data from Travelsupermarket.com shows that Spain and Portugal are also the cheapest destinations for all inclusive. The average price for a 7-night vacation in Spain was £868 all-inclusive – £200 cheaper per person than a week in Cyprus or Italy.
5. Call the hotel directly
Booking sites charge a hefty commission from the hotel, so it pays to pick up the phone. When we searched for hotels in remote cities like Tokyo and Sydney, they cut or matched the cheapest price online in half. The best savings were £67 a night at a luxury hotel in Paris. Even if hotels only cover the price, they may offer something free, such as a bottle of wine or breakfast.
We compared the average price of nonstop flights from the UK’s six busiest airports to 15 popular destinations in Spain, France, Italy, Greece and the USA. Airfare analyst Skytra shared the average price of airfares three months before Easter 2022 and 2023. Each price is the average of outgoing and incoming charges. Median increases are used to summarize the ‘average’ price change.
Comparison site Kayak provided average hotel prices for one night in a double room at 3 and 4-star hotels during Easter. Ice Travel Group, parent company of Travelsupermarket.com, provided average package prices for holidays from July 1 to October 31 each year. We’ve put together over 13,000 package holiday deals from Jet2holidays and Tui in October 2022.