Press Release

14 October 2016

From the Big Apple to the Balearics, flexible holiday destinations could save a family £650 this half-term

  • Cost of an October half-term family holiday up by an average of £437 from last year
  • However, families can save as much as £650 by choosing alternative holiday destinations in the same country, including New York
  • Other big holiday savings can be found in Portugal and Greece

M&S Bank research shows the cost of a family half-term holiday has risen by an average of £437 or 11.7 per cent year-on-year, mainly due to the continued decline in sterling. However, families can still save as much as £650, or an average of £386, by choosing alternative destinations in the same country instead of better-known resorts.

Visiting affluent Long Island in New York instead of popular Manhattan offers the biggest savings this half-term, with families able to pocket £652 in total or £163 per person. The sights of the Big Apple are easily accessible from Long Island, but accommodation in this lesser-visited suburb is significantly cheaper, at an average of £1,337 for a week-long stay in a family room compared to £1,865 in Manhattan.

Paul Stokes, head of products at M&S Bank, said: “Although holiday prices are on the up – partly due to the value of sterling continuing to fall – families can still benefit from significant savings by looking beyond the most popular destinations.

“Staying in Long Island is an excellent alternative to Manhattan, offering families a great saving. However, with the cost of staying in New York topping our list due mainly to the cost of the long-haul flight, it’s probably more of a special family treat rather than a cost-effective getaway.”

Holidaying in Alentejo in southern Portugal is more affordable and provides the second biggest saving, with a week-long trip costing a family of four £580 less compared to a stay in Lisbon. Meanwhile, venturing away from tourist hotspot Crete in Greece and visiting the seaport town of Nafplio instead will save families a total of £576, mainly due to cheaper flight costs.

Table 1: Top five biggest alternative holiday destination savings

CountryDestination2016 cost per person 2016 total costAlternative destination savings
New York Manhattan £1,734£6,936
Long Island £1,571£6,284 £652
Portugal Lisbon £900£3,600
Alentejo £755£3,020 £580
Greece Crete £935£3,740
Nafplio £791£3,164 £576
Spain Menorca £990£3,960
Formentera £882£3,528 £432
Croatia Dubrovnik £995£3,980
Opatilia £911£3,644 £336

Top five most affordable destinations offer a holiday at £900pp or less

As well as offering families considerable ‘alternative destination’ savings, Alentejo and Nafplio are also the two cheapest destinations overall, making them great options for families on a tighter budget.

At £3,020 for a family of four (£755 per person) Alentejo is the most affordable destination. The area benefits from the cheapest accommodation costs of all the destinations researched (£373 for a week’s stay in a family room). Nafplio is only slightly more expensive at £3,164 in total.

Turkey’s Oludeniz – known for its picture perfect blue lagoon – is the third most affordable option at £3,504 for a family of four, despite costs rising by 18.2 per cent as sterling weakened against the Turkish Lira (down by 17.0 per cent year-on-year).

Formentera, Spain’s smallest Balearic Island, is fourth most affordable (£3,528) while Portugal makes its second entry into the top five cheapest destinations with a half-term break in Lisbon costing £3,600 for a family of four.

Table 2: Top five most affordable destinations overall

Destination2016 cost per person2016 total cost 2015 total cost% difference£ difference
Alentego £755 £3,020£2,663 13.4%£357
Nafplio £791 £3,164£2,817 12.3%£347
Oludeniz £876 £3,504£2,966 18.2%£538
Formentera £882 £3,528£3,093 14.1%£435
Lisbon £900 £3,600£3,156 14.1%£444

Paul Stokes continued: “Whether it’s the Big Apple or the Balearics, being flexible with holiday plans and shopping around for travel money are the best ways of reducing the cost of a family holiday this October half-term.”

Paul shares his top travel money tips:

  • Always check whether an alternative destination in the same country could be more affordable – being flexible with your holiday plans could result in big savings
  • Make a holiday budget by working out how much your holiday will cost and how much travel money you will need. Even if you’re staying in half-board or all-inclusive accommodation, don’t forget to factor in costs for excursions, taxis, tips and other extras
  • Find out if you can buy tickets online and in advance for activities you’re planning, as these are often discounted and will help you to avoid the queues
  • When buying travel money in-store, don’t rely on internet rates; many providers have different rates online and some change their rate throughout the day
  • Never leave your holiday money until the last minute; airport bureaux usually offer less competitive rates and may not have a wide variety of note denominations
  • Always take both travel money and a credit or debit card to ensure you’ve got multiple methods of payment


Full results: Top 10 alternative holiday destination savings

CountryDestination2016 cost per person 2016 total cost2015 cost per person% difference£ differenceAlternative saving
New York Manhattan £1,734£6,936 £6,26310.7%£673
Long Island £1,571£6,284 £5,71310.0%£571£652
Portugal Lisbon £900£3,600 £3,15614.1%£444
Alentejo £755£3,020 £2,66313.4%£357£580
Greece Crete £935£3,740 £3,4049.9%£336
Nafplio £791£3,164 £2,81712.3%£347£576
Spain Menorca £990£3,960 £3,50612.9%£454
Formentera £882£3,528 £3,09314.1%£435£432
Croatia Dubrovnik £995£3,980 £3,58511.0%£395
Opatilia £911£3,644 £3,29010.8%£354£336
Malta Silema £1,135£4,540 £4,08911.0%£451
Mellieha £1,051£4,204 £3,80910.4%£395£336
Canary Islands Lanzarote £1,225£4,900 £4,4779.5%£423
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria £1,152£4,608 £4,19010.0%£418£292
Cyprus Nissi Beach £1,316£5,264 £4,8289.0%£436
Limassol £1,249£4,996 £4,5998.6%£397£268
Turkey Bodrum £939£3,756 £3,22416.5%£532
Oludeniz £876£3,504 £2,96618.2%£538£252
Madeira Santa Cruz £1000£4,000 £3,59811.2%£402
Camara de Lobos £965£3,860 £3,47910.9%£381£140

*All holiday costs are for a family of four for one week. Costs include seven nights’ accommodation, return flights, dinner, spending money and one activity. All flights and accommodation booked for a family of four from 22nd to 29th October. Accommodation costs are from and represent the average 3 star hotel family room cost. All restaurants from Spending money based on results of consumer research (£563 per person). All exchange rates from M&S Bank correct for 29th September 2016 and 2015.

Always check the latest Foreign Office travel advice before travelling. Visit for more information.

For further information please call the M&S Bank press office:

Louise Wheble on 01244 686 177 /


Alex Henshall on 01244 686 092 /

About M&S Bank

M&S Bank (the trading name of Marks & Spencer Financial Services plc) was founded in 1985 as the financial services division of Marks and Spencer plc. In November 2004, HSBC bought 100 per cent of the share capital of Marks and Spencer Retail Financial Services Holdings Limited.

Today, M&S Bank operates as a joint venture arrangement between HSBC and Marks & Spencer, however, M&S Bank retains its own board.

M&S Bank offers a broad range of financial products, including current accounts, the M&S Credit Card, and a range of loans, savings and general insurance products, while its travel money offering boasts the widest range of currencies available on the high street. M&S Bank has 29 branches and over 120 bureaux de change located in M&S stores across the UK.

HSBC Bank plc

HSBC serves 16.1 million customers in the UK and employs approximately 43,500 people. In the UK, HSBC offers a complete range of personal, premier and private banking services including bank accounts and mortgages. It also provides commercial banking for small to medium businesses and corporate and institutional banking services. HSBC Bank plc is a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc.

The HSBC Group

HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of the HSBC Group, is headquartered in London. The Group serves customers worldwide from around 6,000 offices in 71 countries and territories in Asia, Europe, North and Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa. With assets of US$2,410bn at 31 December 2015, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.

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