As thousands of families head off to European hotspots in the coming weeks, the annual Post Office Travel Money Family Holiday Report reveals that holidaymakers who want to curb their spending on children’s extras would be well advised to consider resorts in the Eastern Med or the Balkans where the price tag can be less than half the cost of more expensive destinations in the west of Europe.

Prices for 12 typical beach holiday extras vary dramatically in the 15 European resorts surveyed for the Beach Barometer, produced for the Family Holiday Resort.

Marmaris is the resort where family fun will cost the least – thanks to a 24% slump in the value of the Turkish lira against sterling since last summer. Families can expect to receive £96 more in Turkish lira on a £500 foreign exchange transaction at the Post Office. At £57.37 for the Beach Barometer items, the Turkish resort is one of five in the Eastern Med and the Balkans where fun in the sun will have the least impact on the holiday purse.

The others are Sunny Beach, Bulgaria (£63.56); Crete, Greece (£69.88); Limassol, Cyprus (£69.90) and Porec, Croatia (£73.75).

The report found that pester power by kids set parents back £184 on their last holiday, which explains why two-thirds of families who set a budget overspent by nearly a quarter. Some 92% admitted splashing out almost £39 on ice-creams, up 28% year-on-year, while other budget busters were water park visits (£61), pedalo rides (£31) and beach gear like buckets & spades, swimming goggles and lilos (£53).

While the Eastern Med and the Balkans look good value, families visiting Ibiza (£97.12); Sorrento in Southern Italy (£114.17) and Nice in the South of France (£117.78) can expect pester power to have more of an impact on the wallet.

However, the survey found that prices have fallen since last year in six of the resorts surveyed. Aside from Marmaris, where a 14.9% price fall is due to the weaker Turkish lira, prices have fallen 5.4% in Crete, 4.6% in the Algarve and around 0.5% in both Sunny Beach and the Costa Blanca.

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “The clear message is to plan ahead: pack what you can to avoid forking out cash on basics like suncream and insect repellent and squeeze last year’s beach gear for the kids into the suitcase. The Beach Barometer reveals just how much these items can cost – especially in some of Europe’s more expensive resorts.

“For those who haven’t already booked, it is worth checking what late deals are available to the best value resorts in our survey. Marmaris, Sunny Beach and the Costa del Sol all look good value and the general message is to head east for lower prices.”

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