Cash-strapped holidaymakers are downsizing to ensure that they can still afford their annual break, according to new research from The Co-operative Travel.The research, based on more than three million holidays, reveals that there has been a significant rise in the number of people choosing to downsize their holiday, from seven nights to four nights or from 14 nights to ten nights. The percentage of four-night holidays has grown by 50%, while the figure for ten-night holidays has increased by 162% over the last six years.
These increases have gone hand in hand with a decline in the number of people taking seven- and 14-night breaks. However, the research also suggests that downsizing might be a false economy when it comes to getting the best value for money. The research found that the average per night cost of these shorter breaks is actually much higher than their traditional equivalents. For example, the average per night cost of a 14-night holiday is £65.19 compared to £82.70 for a ten-night break.
Similarly, a seven-night break works out at an average of £74.71 per night, compared to £112.59 for a four-night equivalent.
The company's director of retail distribution, Trevor Davis, said: "For a number of years now travel agents have had the ability to offer totally flexible holiday bookings, giving customers the opportunity to tailor a trip to meet their exact requirements.
"Many people have seen this as an opportunity to try to make their holiday budget stretch further, shaving a few days off their break in an effort to reduce costs. This saves you money on living expenses or extras, such as a hire car, but may mean that you’re not getting the best value for money as far as your actual booking is concerned.
"The mainstream holiday industry is still based on weekly blocks, with hotels and flight capacity based around set 'changeover' days. For this reason anything that breaks with the norm is often penalised with higher prices.
“We’d encourage anyone looking at downsizing their holiday to ask their travel agent to also provide the cost of a seven- or 14-night break. People can then look at the per night costs and work out whether they’re saving as much as they first thought.”