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Holiday prices to popular destinations including Italy soar in new cost of living blow, Which? finds

Prices for package holidays and flights to popular destinations have soared compared to last year, according to new Which? research, potentially making a getaway impossible for families that are contending with the cost of living crisis. 

Which? found that those booking a summer 2023 package holiday between November 1, 2022, and January 3 of this year would have paid 19 per cent more on average than last year.

When Which? compared the average prices for a week’s holiday in six popular destinations – Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy, Turkey and Cyprus – it found Greece had seen the steepest rises, followed by Italy. 

A seven-night break in Greece costs on average 30 per cent more than in 2022, with an average price tag of £867 per person for summer 2023.

Prices for package holidays and flights to popular destinations have jumped compared to last year, according to new Which? research – and Greece has seen the steepest rises. Above is the popular Greek isle of Santorini

According to data from Travelsupermarket.com, the average package holiday cost in Italy has risen by 23 per cent to £757, while the price of a holiday in Turkey has climbed by 21 per cent to £799. 

Meanwhile, the cost of a package break in Spain has soared by 20 per cent to £693 – but despite the significant rise in average costs, it still offers the cheapest getaways, Which? notes. 

At the lower end of the scale, the price of a package getaway to Cyprus has risen by 15 per cent to £809. 

The average package holiday cost in Italy has risen by 23 per cent to £757. Pictured is the pretty Italian town of Manarola

The average package holiday cost in Italy has risen by 23 per cent to £757. Pictured is the pretty Italian town of Manarola

However, of the six popular destinations the consumer champion looked at, Portugal had the smallest rises in price, with the cost of a week’s package holiday rising by seven per cent, on average, to £705.

Which? also delved into data on flights and hotels, to see how much those who prefer to organise their own trip might expect to spend on a holiday this year.

Flights have seen the most significant increases, the watchdog found, with prices this Easter up a whopping 51 per cent on average compared with 2022.

Using data from the airfares analyst Skytra, Which? analysed prices for direct flights to 15 popular destinations in Spain, France, Italy, Greece and the U.S from six of the UK’s busiest airports. 

It found that flights to Italy and Greece have seen the most significant rises, with airfares up a staggering 71 per cent in both cases. In more bad news for travellers’ wallets, flights to France have risen by 45 per cent and flights to Spain by 38 per cent. 

A price of a holiday in Turkey has climbed by 21 per cent to £799. Above is Oludeniz in the southwest of the country

A price of a holiday in Turkey has climbed by 21 per cent to £799. Above is Oludeniz in the southwest of the country 

Which? found that Spain offered the cheapest getaways overall. Pictured is Barcelona's Park Guell

Which? found that Spain offered the cheapest getaways overall. Pictured is Barcelona’s Park Guell

The U.S, which has the highest average fares at £1,527 per seat, saw the smallest price increase at 31 per cent. Across the board, Which? says that the price of flying on 63 out of the 69 flight routes it checked had gone up compared to last year.

Looking at data supplied by Kayak, Which? also compared the average price of booking three and four-star hotels in Easter 2022 and Easter 2023. 

On average, it found that UK hotel rates have risen by almost a fifth (19 per cent), from £100 to £119, with many hotels facing not only increased energy bills, but also the need to pay higher wages amid staff shortages.

Meanwhile, hotel rates outside of the UK and Europe have risen by a considerable 23 per cent on average, from around £138 over Easter 2022, up to £170 on average for Easter this year.

Which? says that European rates have seen the smallest increases, with an average rise of 10 per cent, from £108 in 2022, to £119 this year, bringing them in line with average rates for the UK.

Of the six destinations examined, Portugal had the smallest price rises, with the cost of a week’s holiday rising by just seven per cent. Above is the sun-drenched Algarve region

Of the six destinations examined, Portugal had the smallest price rises, with the cost of a week’s holiday rising by just seven per cent. Above is the sun-drenched Algarve region

In general, for those able to plan ahead, Which? recommends booking early to ensure the best price.

Commenting on the findings, Rory Boland, Editor of Which? Travel, said: ‘Travellers are likely to experience significantly higher prices than they’re used to for a trip away this year, with huge demand for holidays combining with inflationary pressure to create a perfect storm of spiralling costs. 

‘Flights in particular have seen some of the steepest price rises so far, with our research finding flights to popular destinations including Greece and Italy up 71 per cent compared to last year. If you need to book a certain destination or dates, such as during the school summer holidays, book as early as possible to ensure the best price.  

‘Opting for an all-inclusive break may also be worth considering, as you will be protected from currency fluctuations, and have the assurance that expenses like food and drink are already covered. If you can be flexible on when and where you go, you’ll still be able to find deals throughout the year, so it’s worth shopping around.’

TOP TIPS FROM WHICH? FOR BOOKING A HOLIDAY AT THE BEST PRICE

TRAVEL OUTSIDE PEAK SEASON  

The so-called ‘shoulder seasons’ of May to June and September to October generally still have favourable weather conditions, without the summer school holiday price tag. Which? found that the average price of a seven-night package at Easter with the UK’s largest operators, Tui and Jet2, was as much as £300 cheaper per couple than in the summer holidays. Travel earlier, in February half-term, and average costs are £650 less, it says.

GO ALL-INCLUSIVE 

Booking an all-inclusive trip gives you the assurance that most of your holiday costs are covered in the up-front price you pay, Which? reveals. You also have the added advantage of being protected from currency fluctuations.

CHOOSE YOUR HOLIDAY PROVIDER WISELY 

Holiday providers can legally levy extra charges of up to eight per cent of your holiday, if certain costs, including fuel and certain taxes, go up between the time of booking and the time of travel. However, Which? says that won’t be the case if you book with Which? recommended providers such as Jet2holidays, Kuoni, Trailfinders, Inghams and Hays, which have committed to not levying surcharges this year. 

BOOK DIRECTLY WITH THE HOTEL 

When Which? called 10 hotels in cities as far afield as Tokyo and Sydney, half matched or undercut the cheapest online rate. The biggest difference was a night at a luxury Paris hotel, which offered a rate £67 less than the cheapest rate found online. Even if hotels are only able to match the price, they will often throw in a freebie, like a bottle of wine, as a gesture of goodwill, Which? reveals. 

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