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New research suggests parents are still undeterred from booking term-time holidays

Parents are risking fines of up to £60 by taking their children on holiday during term-time as the extra cost of holidaying during peak season outweighs the penalties, research has revealed. According to consumer watchdog Which?, holiday prices soared by as much as 30% in the two weeks prior to the summer holidays and by almost one fifth (18%) between the last week of the school term and the first week of holidays.

In their comparison of 12 different popular destinations, these price increases were found to outweigh the maximum penalty which parents can receive for taking two children out of school for a term-time holiday (£120).

This effectively makes the financial penalty of taking children out of school more attractive than incurring the extra costs of booking holidays at peak times.

Government legislation on term-time holidays

Under recent changes to government legislation, parents can face financial penalties of as much as £60 per child for ignoring attendance rules and allowing their kids to miss school in order to go on family holidays. While the decision to take children out of school for holidays should not necessarily be condoned, the situation faced by parents when making these decisions has to be sympathised with.

As Nick Trend, The Daily Telegraph’s Travel Consumer Editor, explained parents are currently facing the longest recession in living memory – putting extra pressure on their finances and making it harder to afford treats such as family holidays. “The laws of supply and demand at a time when the whole of Europe takes its holidays, mean that August prices are often twice those in June”, he stated.

The survey covers the period of 12 months until October 2013, meaning the latest changes have occurred since that date. For long-haul flights, Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines shared top-spot and received five stars in a number of categories. These included in-flight entertainment, food and drink, punctuality and value for money, while Spanish airline Iberia was ranked bottom when it came to making long-haul journeys.

Risking fines to avoid these higher prices is therefore somewhat understandable and suggests further investigation is needed to make family holidays at peak times a more viable option for Britain’s struggling families. It is also vital that holidaymakers seek appropriate travel insurance to protect the money spent on their trips – something which is especially important at this time of year when money is stretched even thinner to accommodate the extra costs of the festive season.

Date Created: 24 December 2013

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