Half-term holiday crunch as European getaways rise in price

A passenger walks past a Travelex currency exchange at Manchester Airport in Manchester
A passenger walks past a Travelex currency exchange at Manchester Airport in Manchester

British holidaymakers hoping for a half-term getaway to Europe face rising costs as the pound falls against the euro.

Following Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s fiscal announcement last week, the value of the pound plummeted against both the dollar and the euro. Currently, £1 is worth €1.12, although the falls have levelled off slightly in recent hours.

This means holidays in Europe have become far more expensive, with ticket prices for popular tourist attractions now much higher in pounds than they were a few weeks ago.

An adult ticket to climb the Eiffel Tower costs €26.80 – equal to £22.51 under the exchange rate on August 2, when £1 was worth €1.20 at its recent peak. But as of today, that same ticket will be £1.35 more expensive.

It means that entrance to the Colosseum in Rome costs £1.06 more in pound terms compared to August, visiting the Louvre in Paris is up 86p, and entrance to the Alhambra and Generalife Gardens in Granada, Spain, costs £1.74 more.

Compared to last year, a week’s average holiday in Spain was found to be £500 more expensive, according to research from Eurochange, a currency exchange store.

It found that accommodation fees, restaurant meals and car hire had all increased year-on-year, in part due to currency rates but also because local businesses raised prices to make up for losses during the pandemic. This did not take into account the cost of flights.

Nightly hotel prices were found to have increased by 36pc over the last year, while car hire is up 136pc. A restaurant meal costs 9pc more.

It also found that car hire costs eat up a huge proportion of a holiday’s budget: analysis of the most popular firms showed holidaymakers would be expected to spend £609 for a week's rental, or £52 per day.

Charles Stewart, of Eurochange, said: “We’re all feeling the pinch at the moment, especially as many tourist destinations have increased their local prices post-pandemic.

“Preparation is key when it comes to cutting costs, as there are many package holidays and budget flights available if you research. Holidaymakers can also save by avoiding hiring a car, as it’s a large expense that’s more than doubled in the last year.

“It’s also key to keep an eye on exchange rates and seek out the best deals, to make sure your cash goes as far as it can while abroad. If possible, make sure to take more money away with you than you previously would have done to make up for the drop in rates.”