Irish get burned by cost of sun holidays

A cheap holiday in the sun could cost Irish holidaymakers more than they expect, price comparison site, Switcher.ie, has warned.

About 68% of Irish adults will take one holiday this year and Europe’s beaches are the biggest lure.

However, Switcher.ie, an independent price-comparison and switching service, is concerned at the lack of holidaymakers’ financial planning.

Holidaymakers are at risk of being burned, and not just by the sun.

One in three of them said their holiday spend “often or always” went out of control and a quarter of them said they had come home in debt.

Some 38% of holidaymakers will set a firm budget and stick to it when abroad, but 50% of them are unsure about the charges for using debit cards in other countries.

The most popular destination area this year is the EU (72%), with 59% heading to the beaches.

Meanwhile, about 29% are planning to travel to countries outside of the EU. Popular far-flung destinations include Russia, South America, Dubai, New Zealand, and Australia.

The main reason people gave for heading abroad is guaranteed sunshine (51%).

However, cost is a big determiner: 34% said the cost of holidaying abroad was the same price as, or cheaper than, staying in Ireland.

Also, 32% found that the food and drink abroad was cheaper than what was available at home.

Meanwhile, 49% plan to take a small amount of cash with them abroad, but will mostly use ATMs.

However, 55% admitted to being unsure about charges for withdrawing money from ATMs when abroad, or when making payments in shops and in restaurants via credit or debit cards.

Eoin Clarke, the managing director of Switcher.ie, said that as people’s departure date nears, thoughts of sunshine begin to eclipse less exciting matters, like their finances.

“When it comes to holiday spending, it can be tempting to forego the budget and throw caution to the wind, but this can lead to a financial headache that will last much longer than your tan,” Mr Clarke warned.

The last thing anyone wants is to come home from holidays in debt, so take some time, before you go, to plan out a daily budget for when you’re away, including expenses like food and drink, tours and other activities.

“If you’re travelling outside the eurozone, it’s also important to find out about charges for using ATMs and for using your debit and credit cards in shops or restaurants,” Mr Clarke said.

“These charges can quickly add up, so we would urge holidaymakers to ‘know before you go’, especially if you’re travelling outside the Eurozone, where these bank fees will be even steeper.”

When a credit or debit card is used outside the Eurozone, there is usually a charge, which is a percentage of the transaction value.

There may be additional charges for commission and for the exchange rate.


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