23% of parents rely on credit cards for summer holidays

Nearly one-quarter of parents will pay for this year's summer holiday using a credit card. 

Research by Halifax has discovered many househ…

Nearly one-quarter of parents will pay for this year's summer holiday using a credit card. 

Research by Halifax has discovered many households in the UK are putting their finances under strain by adopting a 'buy now, pay later' approach to getting away with the family. 

While 30 per cent are showing a degree of restraint by turning to their savings to fund a summer break, 27 per cent will simply use their current account, which could put their monthly disposable income under pressure. 

The number of kids people have is also having an impact on their preferred method of payment, as 36 per cent of those with three or more children will use a credit card.

If consumers do choose to use plastic, they need to make sure they stay on top of their repayments, as not doing so will see them incur charges and damage their credit profile.

Cost remains the major factor

Cost is a major consideration when families are weighing up whether or not they can afford to go on holiday – with 50 per cent saying it is their main factor behind any decision they make. Some 23 per cent do not think they can afford to go away in 2014. 

"Parents finances are being squeezed; with the new rules on fines for taking children out of school during term time on one side and increased prices for holidays during the summer on the other. Some parents are prepared to risk a fine if they can get a cheaper holiday," said Richard Fearon, head of Halifax Savings.

"Many families are working hard to build up their savings balances, and will be able to use this to pay for treats such as holidays. Being realistic about what you're able to save and identifying what it's intended for can help to make it easier to maintain a regular savings habit."

Choosing an affordable holiday

In an effort to curb costs, plenty of families went on a staycation last year. Indeed, the UK was the most popular destination (28 per cent) in 2013, which put it slightly ahead of southern Europe (27 per cent).

However, many are planning to loosen the purse strings this summer, as 36 per cent are targeting a break in southern Europe, with just 29 per cent opting to stay in the UK. 

On top of this, 41 per cent of parents are prepared to ignore new rules on taking children on term-time summer holidays, despite the fact it means they could face a fine. 

Under the terms of the regulations, a maximum fine of £60 per pupil per parent, which can rise to £120 if not paid within seven days, can be charged. If parents fail to pay the fine, it could increase to £2,500, or they could face a possible jail sentence of up to three months.

Despite the serious repercussions associated with term-time holidays, parents are still attracted to the much cheaper costs outside of the usual school break window.

By Joe White

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