A third of Britons holidaying abroad choose self-catering

Research for the annual Post Office Travel Money Self-Catering Holiday Report shows a third of people planning trips abroad this year will take a self-catering holiday. 

Palma de Mallorca.
Palma de Mallorca.

Produced in partnership with Monarch Holidays, more than two-in-five (42%) of families told the Post Office they chose their most recent self-catering holiday to cut costs, so the report suggests heading to the Spanish Islands or Portugal’s Algarve because supermarket prices are up to 84% lower than in destinations further east.

This advice comes after the consumer research also revealed that over half of families exceeded their budget on their last self-catering holiday – with one-in-six admitting they spent over £200 more than planned.

Post Office Travel Money and Monarch Holidays surveyed the cost of a weekly family shop in 10 European destinations and found big differences for 15 typical food and drink staples. 

The cheapest destination proved to be Majorca where the shopping basket of self-catering basics came to £31.91 – 5% less than in the Algarve (£33.65), runner-up in the survey.

In contrast, Monarch Holidays resort staff discovered that the same shopping basket cost 84% more (£58.74) in Dubrovnik, the most expensive destination surveyed. Supermarkets in Eastern Med resorts were also between 31-40% pricier than Majorca.

With a fall of 6.1%, Majorca was one of four destinations where supermarket prices were found to have dropped year-on-year – despite the fact that sterling buys around 10% fewer euros than last June.

The biggest fall of 20% was in Menorca (£35.03, fourth cheapest in the survey), while prices fell 3.7% in Lanzarote (third, £34.41) – making the Spanish Islands great value for self-caterers.

The fourth destination where grocery prices have fallen over the past twelve months is Cyprus, which registered a 6.2% drop. At £44.29, the shopping basket in Cyprus is at its lowest level since Post Office Travel Money started compiling the self-catering report in 2011.

Prices are now 39% cheaper for UK tourists than five years ago when the same items cost £72.48.

In fact, the Post Office and Monarch found that prices have plummeted in all eight destinations that were also surveyed in 2012.  Aside from Cyprus, the falls ranged between nine per cent in the Costa Blanca and 32% in Lanzarote.

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money, said: “It’s good to report that the cost of self-catering groceries has fallen in parts of Europe despite the fall in sterling’s value since last year.

“However, the wide variations we found across the 10 destinations surveyed mean families should do their homework and check prices before booking.  Majorca and Portugal are great value for self-catering but Turkey, Greece and Croatia will be more expensive.”


Aside from the opportunity offered to cut the holiday budget, half of parents surveyed by the Post Office thought that self-catering gave them a greater degree of flexibility, while over a third (35%) thought it a more family friendly option and one-in-ten (11 per cent) said it was the only practical solution when travelling with older children.

Gary Anslow, sales director Monarch Holidays said: Self-catering continues to offer great value for money. The most frequent request to our exclusive Monarch Holidays’ Concierge service, after the best beaches to visit, is for information on the best value supermarkets in the area, so we know holidaymakers want to make the pound in their pocket stretch as far as possible.

“Self-catering is certainly growing in popularity and is now nearly a quarter of all sales. In certain regions, such as the Algarve, where our customers have access to a vast range of great value supermarkets and restaurants, self-catering accounts for over 40 per cent of bookings.

“For families in particular, self-catering allows them to control their spending more effectively and gives them the flexibility to do what they want when they want, without the restrictions of catered accommodation. Customers can enjoy the ultimate in flexibility and so it will continue to be a very popular choice.”

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