- Fun in the sun: seven in ten (68%) Irish adults will take at least one holiday this year, and the EU is the destination of choice for most (72%)
- Three in ten (29%) will travel further afield this year, to destinations like the USA, Canada and Australia – those going abroad are seeking guaranteed sunshine (51%) and good value for money (34%)
- Over half of consumers (51%) expect to spend between €250 and €1,000 on food and drink while they’re away, with a third (31%) spending that amount on shopping
- But many could be sailing into financial woes – a third (33%) say their holiday spend often or always goes out of control , and a quarter (26%) have come back from holiday in debt
- Despite this, less than four in ten (38%) will set a firm holiday budget and stick to it, while over half (55%) admit to being unsure about things like charges for overseas ATM withdrawals
- Switcher.ie says ‘Know before you go’: avoid holiday headaches by setting a budget and doing your homework before you jet off.
New research from independent price comparison and switching service Switcher.ie shows almost seven in ten (68%) Irish adults will take at least one holiday this year, with Europe’s beaches the biggest lure. But the findings show that sunburn isn’t the only thing they need to worry about, with a third (33%) set to see their holiday spending spiral out of control and a quarter (26%) likely to come home to debt.
The survey shows that the most popular destination for Irish holidaymakers this year is the EU (72%), and almost six in ten of these (59%) will head to the beaches. At the same time, almost three in ten (29%) intrepid travellers will head further afield, to destinations like North America, Canada, Russia, Asia, South America and Australia.
The main reason people gave for heading abroad is to seek guaranteed sunshine (51%), but finance and value for money are also big drivers, with a third of people saying that holidaying abroad is the same price or cheaper than staying in Ireland (34%) and a third (32%) saying that the cost of food and drink offers better value than at home. Over half of consumers (51%) expect to pay between €250 and €1,000 on food and drink while they’re away and over three in ten (31%) say they’ll spend that amount on shopping.
Despite this, one in ten (14%) admit to never setting a holiday budget, while almost half (48%) say that they will have a budget in mind but aren’t strict about sticking to it. Overall, just 38% will strictly set and stick to a spending limit while away.
As a result, a third of people (33%) say they often or always end up overspending while on holiday, with almost half (45%) saying they sometimes do. Although it may seem fun at the time, the lack of planning can cause post-holiday headaches, with a quarter of Irish consumers (26%) admitting to coming home from a holiday in debt.
And this isn’t the only money concern facing holidaymakers. With people increasingly using cards rather than cash for spending, it’s interesting to see how holidaymakers plan to manage their money while they’re overseas. Almost half (49%) plan to take a small amount of cash to start off with and then use ATMs, while large numbers will use their debit (37%) and credit (24%) card as normal.
Worryingly, however, there is a real lack of understanding around the fees that could be charged for doing so. The majority of people either don’t know or aren’t sure of the charges for the likes of ATM withdrawals (55%), using a credit card to withdraw cash (60%), and paying by credit card (60%) or debit card (59%) in shops or restaurants abroad.
This could lead to some unplanned – and unwanted – charges, especially for the three in ten (29%) consumers who are travelling outside of the EU. When you withdraw cash in a non-Eurozone country, you’ll be charged a percentage of the transaction value each time, and you may have to pay a foreign exchange fee, too. You’ll also face similar charges for using your card to make payments in shops and restaurants.
Eoin Clarke, Managing Director of Switcher.ie, said: “Many of us are gearing up for holidays, and thoughts of sunshine are starting to eclipse other, less exciting, matters – like our finances. But that cheap break in the sun could end up costing holidaymakers more than they bargained for, simply because they’re not budgeting or planning how best to manage their money while away.
“When it comes to holiday spending, it can be tempting to forego the budget and throw caution to the wind, but this can lead to a financial headache that will last much longer than your tan. The last thing anyone wants is to come home from holidays in debt, so take some time before you go to plan out a daily budget for when you’re away – including expenses like food and drink, tours and other activities.
“If you’re travelling outside the Eurozone, it’s also important to find out about charges for using ATMs and using your debit and credit cards in shops or restaurants. These charges can quickly add up, so we would urge holidaymakers to ‘know before you go’, especially if you’re travelling outside the Eurozone, where these bank fees will be even steeper.”
For more information, visit Switcher.ie
For further information please contact:
Maeve McLaughlin, Switcher.ie on 01 517 5922/087 133 2526 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Images for use are available on Flickr here.
Notes to editors
Research was carried out for Switcher.ie by iReach Insights, involving 1,001 online interviews with Irish adults aged 18+years. The total sample is representative of the national population in Ireland.
 In response to the question: “Are you going on holiday this year? Yes, I’ve already been and won’t go on another/ I’ve already been but plan on taking at least one more trip/ No/ Not sure yet.”
 n response to the question: “You said you were going on holiday this year. Where are you planning to go? Please select all that apply: Somewhere in Ireland/ Somewhere within the EU – e.g. France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, etc./ Somewhere outside the EU but within Europe – e.g. Gibraltar, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Switzerland, etc./ North America, Canada/ South America/ Asia/ Australia, New Zealand/ Middle East or North Africa – including Dubai, Turkey, Tunisia, etc./ South Africa.”
 In response to the question: “You said you had no plans for going on holiday somewhere in Ireland. What are the reasons for your decision to go abroad rather than stay in Ireland? Please select all that apply: The holiday abroad is the same price or cheaper than staying in Ireland/ Guaranteed sunshine/ The cost of food and drink where I’m going offer better value for money than in Ireland/ I love to travel and see new places/ The people are friendlier/ Change of scenery/ I’m going to do activities that you can’t do in Ireland (e.g. skiing, etc.)/ It’s what my family/ friends want to do/ Other (please specify).”
 In response to the question: “How much did you or do you plan to spend on each of the following aspects of your holiday? Accommodation/ Flights/ main transport to destination/ Food & drink/ Shopping/ Tours, activities/ Transport while on holiday (i.e. rental car, trains, buses, etc.). 0 – €250/ €251 – €500/ €501 – €1,000/ €1,001 – €2,000/ €2,001 – €3,000/ €3,001 – €4,000/ €4,001 – €5,000 €5,000+/ I didn’t or don’t have a budget/ Not Applicable.”
 In response to the question: “How frequently do you spend more than you intend to when on holiday? Always/ Often/ Sometimes/ Rarely/ Never.”
 In response to the question: “Have you ever come from holiday in debt? Yes/ No.”
 In response to the question: “When it comes to your holiday budget, which of the following statements best applies to you? I always set a realistic budget and keep to it/ I normally have a budget in mind, but I’m not strict about keeping to it/ I never set a budget.”
 In response to the question: “Do you know the charges which each of the following involves at the destination you travelled to or are planning to travel to this year? Yes/ No/ Not sure – Making an ATM withdrawal/ Paying by debit card in shops or restaurants/ Using travellers cheques/ Using your credit card to withdraw cash/ Paying by credit card in shops or restaurants.”
 In response to the question: “Please select the type or types of holidays you intend to spend at each of the destinations you plan to go to this year? Please select all that apply. Beach holidays/ City & Shopping breaks/ Ski holidays/ Amusement park holidays/ Cruise holidays/ Spa holidays/ Tours & Safaris/ Activity holidays/ Sightseeing/ Other.”
 In response to the question: “In what way would you manage your money when going abroad? Please select all that apply. I’d take a large amount of cash with me and hope it’s enough to get by/ I’d use travellers cheques/ I’d take a small amount of cash to start me off and will then use ATMs/ I’d use a pre-loaded currency card, such as a Prepaid MasterCard/ I’d use my normal debit card/ I’d use my credit card/ I’d think about it when I get there.”
ATM, debit and credit card fees
In general, consumers travelling within the Eurozone using a Visa Debit card won’t be charged anything over and above what they are normally charged by their bank for withdrawals. Charges start to mount up when the card is used outside the Eurozone – there’s usually a charge, which is a percentage of the transaction value, and there may be a foreign exchange fee, too. Here’s what the main Irish banks charge for non-Eurozone transactions:
|Bank||Withdrawal charge||Other charges|
|AIB||2.5% of euro value||Commission charge of 1% (min. €2, max €6)|
|Bank of Ireland||3.5% of transaction (min €3.17, max €11.43)||None|
|KBC||3.5% of transaction (min €3.17, max €11.43)||None|
|permanent tsb||3.5% of transaction (min €3.17, max €11.43)||None|
|Ulster Bank||2% of transaction (min €3, max €12)||Exchange rate charge of 1.5%|
Consumers who want to find out more about these charges should refer to their bank’s website or contact them directly. All of the above charges will be charged on top of the usual fees applicable to any account.
Using your debit card
Using a debit card within the Eurozone will not incur any additional charges, over and above what the consumer normally pays. However, making purchases abroad anywhere with a different currency will incur additional charges, as follows:
- AIB will charge 1.75% of the transaction value, with a minimum charge of €0.45 and a maximum of €11.
- Bank of Ireland charges 2% of the transaction value to a maximum of €11.43 per transaction.
- KBC customers will be charged 1.75% of the transaction value, with a minimum charge of €0.46 and a maximum of €11.43.
- permanent tsb charge 1.75% of the transaction value, with a minimum charge of €0.46 and a maximum of €11.43.
- Ulster Bank customers will pay 1% of the transaction value, with a minimum charge of €0.25 and a maximum of €6, as well as an exchange rate fee of 1% of transaction amount, also with a minimum charge of €0.25 and a maximum of €6.
Some banks – such as Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank – will waive fees if you use one of their ATMs in Northern Ireland or the UK.
Using your credit card
Consumers using a credit card outside the Eurozone will be charged a currency conversion fee, and – as usual – a cash advance fee if the credit card is used to withdraw cash. Consumers will also be charged interest on any purchases and withdrawals on their credit card unless they clear their balance every month.
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