Brits £5bn holiday debt predicted for 2011

Record numbers of Brits are funding the cost of their holiday this year with their credit card, according to the findings of a report by Travelex.

In a survey of holiday spending habits the leading foreign exchange specialist questioned 1,000 Brits up and down the country. The findings revealed that over a quarter of the population (26 %) are planning to book their summer holiday on their credit card with more than one in ten (11 per cent) having already done so. It represents an increase of more than 10 per cent or up to 5 million more Brits using their credit card to fund the cost of a holiday than last year.

It comes as a recent reports reveal that the rising cost of living is expected to leave Brits as much as £3,000 worse off this year, with a combination of higher prices, lower benefits and pay freezes leaving many struggling to cope in a tough economic climate.

Feedback from Brits revealed that they are spending an average of £400 on their credit cards to fund their holiday, which includes flights and accommodation. It means Brits will clock up over £5bn of holiday credit card debt this year alone. Spain, Portugal and Turkey were revealed as the most popular destinations for Brits to head off abroad.

Ray Osborne, a surveyor from Maidstone, Kent, says: “I’m definitely more out of pocket than this time last year. Just to keep the car on the road is costing me £10 a month more in petrol. But I’m determined to go away this year so I’ve just stuck it on the credit card and I’ll worry about it later.”

Peter Davies, Director, Travelex, comments: “The rise in recent months in the value of the Pound against popular currencies such as the Euro and US Dollar means that holiday destinations in the States and the Euro-zone are offering increasingly good value for money and we’re seeing Brits are determined to make the most of it, even if that means having to fund the cost on their credit cards.

“But many British travellers will still resort to spending on their credit card whilst they’re abroad as well, racking up even further debt. We’d recommend people take a prepaid MasterCard currency card, such as the Travelex Cash Passport™.

They can be used anywhere you’d use your regular plastic but can be loaded with foreign currency before a trip, which is a great way for Brits to manage their money when they are away on holiday. They also don’t incur fees or charges for making purchases and cash withdrawals abroad unlike typical plastic, meaning cardholders can hopefully avoid any nasty surprises upon their return.”