Holiday self-catering shopping costs have fallen heavily across much of Europe according to the latest Post Office Travel Money Self-Catering on a Shoestring Report, which reveals that more than one-in-five UK holidaymakers are planning to make their trip abroad a self-catering one this summer.

A third of them will do so specifically to keep meal costs to a minimum and yet more than half (54%) said they shopped in local mini-marts rather than larger supermarkets on their last holiday. If they do so this summer, they could pay up to 61% extra.

Only 9% of self-caterers take advantage of the lower prices by doing all their shopping at a supermarket, but research for Post Office Travel Money by tour operator Cosmos has found these to be far cheaper than local mini-marts in the ten European destinations surveyed.

The biggest price differential is in Crete, where Cosmos reps found that mini-mart shopping for 20 food and drink staples costs £103.96 instead of £64.64 at a supermarket. In the Costa del Sol, a mini-mart shop costs more than 50% extra - £65.24 compared with £43.32 in a supermarket.

Self-caterers spent an average of £130 buying provisions for their last holiday – although this only applied to three-quarters (77%) of them because 23% chose to eat out all the time.

However, more than one-in-five people planning to self-cater this summer are now doing so because they think the powerful pound will make their shopping bills cheaper.

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money, said: “This year’s report reveals that it’s not just restaurants and bars that are cutting costs to attract custom. The same is happening in shops where there is fierce competition for business – especially in the Western Med.

“Self-catering can be a great way to save money so the shop price falls are great news for families on a strict budget. However, the wide variations between prices in resort convenience stores and bigger supermarkets make it important to do some homework before leaving home. While basic staples like milk, eggs and bread can cost less or only marginally more in local mini-marts, most food and drink items will cost a lot more. This year we found examples of basics like coffee, tea bags, fruit juice and tomatoes costing over twice as much in a mini-mart.”

Gary Anslow, sales director for Cosmos Holidays, said: “Feedback from our customers through our exclusive Cosmos Concierge service tell us that self-catering holidays are as popular as ever, more so this year because of the great exchange rates meaning the money in your pocket goes a lot further. Self-catering as a share of our total bookings in, for example, the Algarve, has increased by around 3% year- on-year in recent years, and we believe that the current exchange rates will see that trend continuing.”

Families can visit www.postoffice.co.uk/selfcateringcosts for more information.

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