Nearly 34 million people in Britain (66% of adults) are planning overseas holiday escapes during 2017, according to new findings(1) from Sainsbury’s Travel Insurance & Travel Money. The figures are almost identical to last year (67%), revealing a resilience in the overseas holiday market despite a significant fall in the value of sterling against the US dollar, euro and other popular currencies over the past year which increases the cost of holiday spending money for British tourists. Three in four adults (75%) are planning a holiday in the UK in 2017 – the same figure as last year.
Twelve million ‘early bookers’, nearly one in four (23%) of those intending to book a holiday in the UK or abroad, planned to book their main holiday by the end of 2016. Another one in eight (12%) intends to book during January 2017. Almost twice as many holidaymakers are confident that they will book independently, going direct to their chosen airline and accommodation providers, compared to those who say they will book through a travel agent (23% against 12%), the remainder being unsure as yet.
However, the findings reveal that many holidaymakers will leave their purchase of travel insurance until late in the day. Six per cent of holidaymakers say they will buy their travel insurance within the last week before going on holiday, a further one per cent will leave it until the day of departure, and thirteen per cent will buy it at some stage between booking the trip and the week before they go on holiday. Even more worryingly, almost one in five (18%) say they don’t intend to have travel insurance cover for their trip.
Sainsbury’s Bank is warning that most policies have some cancellation cover which starts on the date you purchase the cover rather than the date of travel, so a significant number of people who choose not to buy cover when they book their trip will not be covered should they need to cancel their trip in the interim.
Alan Sanderson, Head of Insurance at Sainsbury’s Bank said: “Whilst lots of holiday makers are early bookers who like to plan ahead so they have something to look forward to, our research shows that many of them don’t pay the same attention when it comes to travel insurance. Also if you’re booking independently rather than through a travel agent, make sure your policy provides good quality independent traveller cover as you may not benefit from protection under the ATOL scheme.”
Those planning on booking a holiday in 2017 say they will spend an average of £816 per person on the cost of the holiday alone, before add-ons and spending money. Many holidaymakers are cost-conscious about their holiday. Seventeen per cent say they are worried about the costs but will go ahead anyway, and 16% are specifically choosing a UK holiday to keep the costs down. A further 15% intend to stick to a strict budget whilst away and 14% will go on the most budget-friendly holiday they can find.
Overall, city breaks are the most popular form of UK holiday for 2017, planned by 29% of adults, followed by beach holidays (13%), walking holidays (10%) and spa/retreat breaks (7%)(1). Beach holidays are the most popular choice of overseas trip, planned by 30% of adults, followed by city breaks (19%) and cruises (7%).