Families and the over-65s are Britain’s top holiday-takers

Published on : Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Families Britain’s top holiday-takersFamilies are taking more holidays than people without children at home, according to ABTA’s Holiday Habits Report 2017. People with older families took 4.5 holidays in the last 12 months and those with children under five took 4.1 compared to a national average of 3.8. People under 45 with no children at home took the fewest holidays. Whilst families take the most holidays overall, it is people over 65 who take the most holidays abroad.


Domestic holidays are fuelling the increase in family holidays.  When it comes to domestic breaks, families – particularly those with older children – take more holidays than people without children. The number of overseas holidays remains relatively consistent across the different life stages (table 1.1) although there are more noticeable variations in overseas holiday-taking by age group (table 1.2).


Table 1.1 – Average number of holidays per person by life stage

All life stages Under 45 No kids at home Young family (Any child under five) Older family (All children over five) Over 45 No kids at home
UK holidays 2.1 1.8 2.4 2.7 2.0
Overseas holidays 1.7 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.7
Total 3.8 3.4 4.1 4.5 3.7


What does the family holiday look like?

Families take their holidays in slightly different ways to people without children at home.  While the city break is the most popular holiday type for those without children, beach holidays prove most popular with families.  53% of people with children under five, and 55% of people with children over five, have taken a beach holiday in the last year, compared to an average of 41%. Those with young children under five are also most likely to book an overseas package, with 62% having booked one in the past 12 months, compared to an average of 52%.


Families prefer to book their holidays in advance, in order to secure the best deals and the cheapest prices.  A third of all people with children under five, and 34% of people with children over five, stated that in the last year they had booked their holiday earlier than normal compared to an average of 26%.


Over 65s making the most of greater spending power in their golden years

Whilst people aged 35-44 take the most holidays overall, it is the over 65s who are taking the most holidays abroad. In the past 12 months, they have taken 2.0 holidays abroad and are also the age group most likely to go abroad for a week or more. ONS research shows that retired household incomes “have soared in recent years” so this group are clearly enjoying their retirement by taking more holidays**.


The over 65s are also the age group most likely to holiday alone, with 18% travelling solo in the last year, compared to an average of 12%. 81% of over 65s who travelled alone stated they did so for the opportunity to be able to do what they want.


The youngest age group, those aged 18-24, have seen the biggest drop off in holiday-taking in recent years.  In 2015, they took 4.5 holidays a year, making them the nation’s biggest holiday-takers, but this has fallen in both 2016 and 2017.


Table 1.2 – Average number of holidays per person by age

18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65+
UK holidays 2.0 2.0 2.5 2.0 1.9 2.1
Overseas holidays 1.6 1.8 1.8 1.6 1.5 2.0
Total 3.6 3.8 4.3 3.6 3.4 4.1


Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive, commented: “Our findings generally show a positive picture of holiday-taking, particularly among family groups and the older generation.  We know that there are notable variations in household incomes across different groups, so while the retired are enjoying more holidays thanks to greater spending power, it suggests that the youngest age group, in particular, is feeling the pinch.”

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