Skip to main content

​Revealed: The resort rip offs that can bust the holiday budget

Press release   •   Jul 22, 2019 00:01 BST

  • Two-thirds of families say ‘rip-offs’ made them bust their holiday budget
  • Charges for paying on debit and credit cards cost families an average of £120 extra
  • Kids’ beach extras and fun park visits cost parents an average of £153 – 24 per cent of the holiday budget that families have set

As schools break up for the summer this week, new research from Post Office Travel Money1 has revealed the resort rip offs that families dislike most on holidays abroad. Topping the list are unexpected charges incurred for paying on plastic, although the high cost of fun parks, water rides, ice creams and meals also threaten to rock the holiday boat.

Two-thirds (67 per cent) of parents who took part in the Post Office survey about overseas holiday costs complained of feeling ripped off on their last trip abroad. Their biggest gripe was the cost of paying on plastic - with a third of families admitting they were caught out by extra charges averaging £120 on their last holiday.


1.Charges for paying on plastic abroad

2.High cost of entry to attractions and excursions

3.Restaurant service charges

4.Meal and drink prices in restaurants and bars

5.Cost of transport in destination

6.Kids’ beach extras

Unforeseen debit card charges attracted the greatest criticism among the third of families who complained about the cost of paying on plastic. As well as non-transaction charges which can be around 2.7 per cent on top of each transaction, one-in-ten holiday makers also said they had also used ATMS regularly for cash withdrawals during their last holiday but did not realise that they would be charged a fee every time they did so.

  • Nick Boden, Head of Post Office Travel Money which accounts for one-in-four UK foreign exchange transactions, said: “This year’s consumer research revealed a big increase in the percentage of people who got caught out by charges for paying on plastic. Paying by debit or credit card may be convenient but holidaymakers are likely to incur fees and transaction charges without realising it until they see their bank statements. A safer route is to use prepaid card like the Post Office Travel Money Card, which can be loaded with cash and won’t incur extra charges in shops and restaurants.”

Aside from the charges levied for paying on plastic, a range of other resort costs were regarded as rip offs by the families surveyed. In particular, the high cost of excursions and entry to attractions was another big budget-buster for families. The cost of fun days out was a major gripe for three-in-ten of those surveyed. Yet, half (51 per cent) of parents forked out £50 on a visit to a fun park to keep children entertained on their last holiday.

  • Resort food and drink is another big drain on the family purse – rated a rip-off by one-in-five of those surveyed. The research found that families spent an average of over £336 on meals, drinks and shop-bought food on their last holiday – over half of the total spending budget of £630 they had set.
  • However, Post Office Travel Money said eating out could cost far more than that for families holidaying in one of the more expensive European resorts. A family could expect to pay around £900 for meals and drinks on a one week holiday in either Nice or Sorrento, according to the Post Office’s latest Family Holiday Report.
Holiday Cost: Average Spend:
Eating out £151.70
Drinks £95.74
Food/drink bought in a shop or supermarket £88.77
Sightseeing/excursions £80.68
Resort transport costs £50.91
Entry to water or theme park £50.57
Ice-creams £35.38
Water rides (pedalo, kayak, banana boat ride) £30.46
Kids beach items (buckets & spade, lilos etc) £20.57
Kids swimming goggles/mask & snorkel £16.28
  • Pester power emerges from the research as another budget-breaker for families. Even though the cost of kids’ extras rated as one of the biggest rip offs, the Post Office research suggests that most families are likely to overspend their holiday budget because they underestimate what kids’ extras actually cost but still give in to pester power and splash out on treats. Three-quarters (73 per cent) of families admitted spending an extra £159 on top of their planned budget.

Three-in-ten said they shelled out over £67 paying for buckets & spades, lilos, swimming gear and beach water rides. Even more - 86 per cent of parents - paid out over £35 during their holiday for ice creams. When these costs were added to spending on fun days out, the total outlay was over £153 – accounting for the majority of overspending by families.

Nick Boden, Head of Post Office Travel Money, said: “Past experience shows that families planning beach holidays abroad will need to keep a tight rein on their holiday funds to avoid busting the budget. Paying for beach extras can easily tip the budget into the red so it’s important to plan carefully and keep costs down by packing swimming goggles, buckets and spades and last year’s lilo into the suitcase. That should help pay for ice creams!”

The Post Office is the UK’s leading provider of foreign currency, offering euro on demand at over 9,000 branches. They can also be ordered online at for same day ‘click and collect’ at selected branches, next day branch collection or home delivery. 1,600 larger Post Office Branches stock 30 leading currencies while up to 70 can be pre-ordered at over 11,500 branches or online at for next day branch or home delivery.


For more information, please contact:

Joanne Leahy Post Office Press Office 07791 894469

Christine Ball CBPR 01798 874177 / 07976 285997

Notes to Editors:

¹ All figures quoted relate to Post Office research conducted by Populus (May 2019) among 2123 UK adults 

About Post Office:

  • With 11,500 branches, the Post Office is among the larger retail networks in the UK.
  • 97% of Post Office branches are run with retail partners on an agency or franchise basis.
  • The Post Office provides services central to peoples’ everyday lives; 99.7% of the population lives within 3 miles of a Post Office.
  • We offer the UK’s largest fee free cash withdrawal network through our 11,500 branches and an additional 2,500 cash machines and 99 per cent of UK bank customers can access their accounts at the Post Office.
  • We sell 170 different products and services spanning financial services including savings, insurance, loans, mortgages and credit cards; Government services; telephony; foreign currency; travel insurance and mail services.
  • Post Offices branches remain highly valued and trusted, and are the focal point of many communities. For more information; visit and to find out about a Post Office business opportunities; visit