Brits defy recession with £36 billion summer holiday plans


Britons are determined to go on holiday this year, despite the unwelcome news that the country has slipped back into recession. A survey by British Airways American Express Credit Cards suggests that the nation's holidaymakers will spend more than £36 billion on trips in 2012, with just 9% of people planning to go without a holiday this year. Around one in four intend to book their holidays using a credit card. credit-card-travel

Half planning a major trip this year
More than one in five people went without a holiday last year, but it seems the majority are reluctant to do the same in 2012. Of those planning to get away at some point over the summer months, 49% (some 23.6 million adults) hope to be on holiday for at least a week. This means that many will be spending much more on this year's summer holiday than they did in 2011.

Adults can expect to fork out £923 per person on this year's holiday, according to the survey. British Airways American Express found that most of this will go towards overseas travel, accommodation and spending money, with just 28% of people planning to stay in the UK for their holidays.

Consumers keen to save money where possible
Some innovative holidaymakers are willing to take unusual measures to save costs, with the research suggesting that 47% of Britons have taken a 'house swap' holiday or would consider doing so in the future.

However, one far less unorthodox option -- which does not involve letting strangers into your home -- is to book your holiday and do your spending on a credit card that offers cash back or some kind of travel rewards programme. With 22% of holidaymakers saying they plan to pay for their holidays on plastic this year, many could benefit from this type of card.

Use existing rewards points to cut costs
Britons who already participate in a loyalty scheme should also see whether they can save money by using their existing rewards points. This year, few travellers plan to do so -- the survey indicates that only 3% of those surveyed will use points to pay for their holidays this year, while just 2% will use points to obtain upgrades or extras.

Julie Hay, head of British Airways American Express Credit Cards, said in a news release that consumers should consider using a travel rewards credit card for their everyday spending to build up rewards for summer travel.

"This means that, come holiday booking time, you can look forward to a number of extras, including companion vouchers, upgrades and discounts to make your holiday even more special and affordable," Hay said.

See related: How to compare airline rewards cards, Airlines still charging fees ahead of surcharge ban

Published: 1 May 2012