Revealed: The cheapest and most expensive weeks to take a summer vacation – and the countries with the most affordable packages

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If Brits have the patience to wait, they can save hundreds of dollars on their holiday this summer – whether it’s a trip to the sun or a stay in a UK chalet. Which? found.

The consumer watchdog found that the most expensive weeks to book a package holiday are July 27 to August 3 and August 3 to August 10. These are the first two weeks after most English schools close.

The cheapest week of the summer vacation for a package holiday is the last, when most children are still off, from August 24 to 31.

Which? also looked at the changing costs of booking a chalet in different parts of the UK, which they found to vary by region. However, it has never been cheaper to book during the first week of the English and Welsh school holidays.

WHEN AND WHERE ARE THE CHEAPEST SUMMER PACKAGES

If Brits have the patience to wait, they can save hundreds of dollars on their holiday this summer, whether it's a trip to the sun or a stay in a UK chalet.  Which ?  found.  The consumer watchdog found that the most expensive weeks to take a package holiday are July 27 to August 3 and August 3 to August 10.

If Brits have the patience to wait, they can save hundreds of dollars on their holiday this summer, whether it’s a trip to the sun or a stay in a UK chalet. Which ? found. The consumer watchdog found that the most expensive weeks to take a package holiday are July 27 to August 3 and August 3 to August 10.

AVERAGE COST OF A SEVEN-NIGHT HOLIDAY PACKAGE DURING THE BRITISH SUMMER, PER PERSON, BASED ON TWO PEOPLE SHARING
July 13 July 20 July 27 August 3 August 10 August 17 August 24
£1,139 £1,238 £1,256 £1,262 £1,241 £1,230 £1,133
Source: Which one?

Looking further into package holiday data, the consumer group found that it was £123 cheaper per person to book a package holiday in the last week of the summer holiday compared to the first week, and £129 cheaper than the second, on average.

The last two weeks of the summer holidays were cheaper for all major holiday destinations. examined: Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Turkey, Bulgaria, Malta and Morocco.

The cheapest holiday packages on average are to Morocco, with a week-long all-inclusive trip costing an average of £962 per person.

The next cheapest were Malta (£1,080 per person), with Bulgaria being the third most affordable (£1,087 per person).

On average, the cheapest holiday packages were to Morocco, with a week-long all-inclusive trip costing an average of £962 per person.

On average, the cheapest holiday packages were to Morocco, with a week-long all-inclusive trip costing an average of £962 per person.

AVERAGE COST OF AN ALL-INCLUSIVE WEEK’S HOLIDAY PER PERSON DURING BRITISH SUMMER 2024
Destination
Morocco £962
Malta £1,080
Bulgaria £1,087
Balearic Islands (Ibiza, Majorca, Menorca) £1,127
Canaries £1,141
Spain (mainland) £1,163
Croatia £1,213
Italy £1,223
Türkiye £1,228
Cyprus £1,253
Greece £1,258
Portugal £1,344
Source: Which one?

In this list, the most expensive country was Portugal, with a seven-night all-inclusive package costing consumers £1,344.

The second most expensive destination was Greece, although significantly cheaper at £1,258, closely followed by neighbor Cyprus, the third most expensive package holiday destination at £1,253.

Which? notes that these figures were influenced by the type of vacation available in each location. Countries with a higher concentration of luxury hotels will, logically, have a higher average cost for vacation packages – but that doesn’t preclude good deals being available in that destination if consumers are looking for a less decadent hotel.

Which? collected data on 5,681 TUI all-inclusive seven-day stays and 2,223 Jet2 all-inclusive, for the period between July 13, 2024 and August 31, 2024. Prices were per person, based on sharing by two people.

WHEN ARE THE CHEAPEST SUMMER VACATION CHALET STAYS?

Highland Flight: Of all the vacation rentals surveyed, from mid-July to early September, the most expensive cottages were in Scotland.  Pictured: Buachaille Etive Mor mountain at Glen Etive in the Scottish Highlands

Highland Flight: Of all the vacation rentals surveyed, from mid-July to early September, the most expensive cottages were in Scotland. Pictured: Buachaille Etive Mor mountain at Glen Etive in the Scottish Highlands

AVERAGE COST FOR A WEEK-LONG HOLIDAY CHALET, UK SUMMER 2024
COUNTRY 07/13 07/20 07/27 03/08 10/08 08/17 24/08 08/31 Summer average
England £1,109 1,198 £1,358 £1,267 £1,268 £1,343 £1,290 £988 £1,233
North Ireland £908 £911 £1,012 £1,006 £1,033 £895 £834 £736 £912
Scotland £1,255 £1,308 £1,310 £1,328 £1,327 £1,301 £1,285 £1,129 £1,279
Wales £1,121 £1,176 £1,280 £1,304 £1,301 £1,277 £1,219 £980 £1,202
United Kingdom as a whole £1,124 £1,204 £1,341 £1,279 £1,279 £1,328 £1,278 £1,000 £1,231
Source: Which one?

Which? also looked at where and when the cheapest deals for summer cottage stays were in the UK.

Once again, the first week of the English school holidays proved to be the most expensive time for a getaway.

The cheapest weeks depend on whether Brits are vacationing in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

In England, cottages were most expensive during the first week of the school holidays, the week starting July 27, with the price of a week’s cottage rental averaging £1,358. Wait a week to leave on August 3 and the fare is the cheapest: £1,267, a saving of £91.

Prices are dropping significantly as English schools return: the average price for the week starting August 31 is £988. That’s £370 less than leaving at the start of the school holidays.

The fluctuation in Welsh holiday home prices was slightly less pronounced over the holiday period. The most expensive time to book is the week starting August 3, where a week’s stay will cost holidaymakers an average of £1,304.

Leave on August 24 and they’ll save £85. However, as in England, the big savings come at the start of the school year: it’s £980 on average for a week’s stay starting August 31, or £324 less than the peak.

Scottish schools close earlier than English schools, from July 1 to August 12. If Brits want a holiday home in Scotland, the most expensive week in the period studied is £1,328, while the cheapest is – as in England and Wales – the week starting August 31, where a chalet stay can be had for £1,129 per week. .

Northern Ireland had the cheapest cottage rentals for the UK summer holiday period in 2024. Pictured: Families enjoy the Dark Hedges in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland had the cheapest cottage rentals for the UK summer holiday period in 2024. Pictured: Families enjoy the Dark Hedges in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland.

Of all the vacation rentals surveyed, from mid-July to early September, the most expensive cottages were in Scotland.

The cheapest cottages were in Northern Ireland, with properties costing £912 per week on average during the summer holiday period in England, compared to £1,279 on average for the same period in Scotland.

In Northern Ireland, school holidays are not standardized but set by individual schools. Cottages were most expensive in the week starting August 3 – averaging £1,006 per week (which was £322 less on average than renting for the same week in Scotland).

If Brits can hold out until August 31, the price of a chalet stay in Northern Ireland drops to £736 – the cheapest available in the UK.

To gather your data, which one? has collected 303,914 prices for a week’s stay in UK cottages of all sizes during summer 2024, from Cottages.com and Holidaycottages.co.uk.

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