Summer Holidays Childcare Challenge: Single parents in Lancashire face higher holiday costs
A selection of holidays from major travel operators to popular family destinations were analysed and showed an adult travelling with one child could pay nearly a third more per person for the same break than two adults and one child.
A First Choice holiday to the Holiday Village Rhodes for seven nights cost an extra Â£515 per person for a single adult travelling with one child compared to two paying adults travelling with a child of the same age. That is an extra 32 per cent more per person for the same trip.
Similarly, a holiday to the 5* Princess Andriana Resort & Spa in Rhodes was Â£359 more expensive for one parent to travel with their child, making it almost a quarter (24 per cent) more expensive than the cost per person for a two-parent family.
Meanwhile, a Thomas Cook holiday to Bahia Principe Costa Adeje in Tenerife, for an adult travelling alone with a child stands to pay Â£154 more per person when compared with two adults and one child, making it equivalent to 14 per cent more expensive.
For a 14-night stay at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, the cost for an adult and child when booked through Virgin was 7 per cent more per person, compared with two adults travelling with a child. A seven-night stay at the three-star Sol Cala Antena in Majorca when booked through Airtours worked out as Â£76 more expensive for a single parent travelling with their child, equivalent to 10 per cent more than the cost for two parents travelling with a family.
Many operators will also only offer ‘free child places’ and deals if two adults are travelling.Ian Strafford-Taylor, CEO of FairFX, said: “Our research shows that families are being hit with unfair pricing inconsistencies which, in many cases, are unfavourable for single parents or parents travelling solo with their child this summer.“It should cost the same amount whether there’s one parent or two taking a child on holiday; it’s unfair for parents to be penalised for travelling solo.“Booking a holiday now comes with a multitude of price inconsistencies and hikes for parents to tackle and is ruining what should be an enjoyable summertime experience for the whole family.”
A spokesman for Virgin said it was the first major tour operator to address this issue and since last year has been challenging the current industry pricing model by working with a small group of resorts in the Caribbean to offer single parent pricing.The operator is now hoping these packages will encourage the wider travel industry to unite behind efforts like this to help make travel more accessible for everyone.In relation to the price difference at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, she added: “The US hotel industry charges per room night, regardless of occupancy, and this model is followed by every single one of Virgin Holidays’ US hotel and accommodation providers. Whilst Virgin Holidays has been lucky enough to negotiate single parent rates at a limited range of Caribbean resorts, it is worth noting that the Caribbean and US are exceptionally different travel markets and are not easily comparable.”
A spokesman for Walt Disney said: “We charge a flat rate per room per night up to the maximum occupancy for the room versus by the number of guests in the party. When booking directly through Walt Disney Travel Company UK, guests are quoted the flat room rate for their resort stay.”
A TUI spokesman said: “Our free child place offer is just one of our early booking incentives and is driven by how suppliers price their accommodation on two adults sharing. Our customer service and retail teams are always on hand to offer advice on the best accommodation deals to suit the individual needs of our holidaymakers.“We take all customer feedback seriously and continuously review our holidays and our offers.”
A Thomas Cook spokesman said: “We know families are not one size fits all and want to cater to all customer groups. While it is normal for hotels to base their room prices on two adults sharing, we have negotiated single parent offers at more than 200 of our hotels in 22 destinations, which we are looking to increase. We encourage all of our customers to book as early as possible for the best choice and price.”
Tips for a more affordable holiday:
Follow the pound: If you’re not fixed on where you holiday, consider destinations where the pound is strongest which will help you explore more of the world, for less.Plan ahead: Follow your chosen rate so you can buy when the pound moves in your favour.Set up a tracker: FairFX has a free holiday money tracker which alerts you when rates improve and when you might get more holiday money for your pounds.Lock-in your rate: Using a prepaid card means that you can top-up the card when the rates are at their strongest and use it like a credit or debit card overseas – with the difference that your rate is often guaranteed in advance and with a FairFX Card you can spend fee free in shops and restaurants.Don’t leave it too late: Waiting until the last minute means you’ll have no choice about what rate you get. And if you leave it right up until you get to the airport, you’re likely to face the worst exchange rates in the countryIf you have a Euro or Dollar prepaid currency card, be careful about taking cash from airport ATMs. When withdrawing currency from UK airport ATMs with a Euro or Dollar prepaid card, most of them charge in pounds instead of your Euros or Dollars, and hit you with hidden conversion fees