Holidays outside of term-time are expensive, which hits families very hard. 

But if you do a little research and choose your destination carefull, you can make huge saving costs even during peak times. 

Research from M&S Bank has found that holidaymakers can shave an average of £388 off a half-term holiday this month by choosing a similar holiday resort in the same country.

Sweden offers the biggest reduction, with a family of four saving £932 if they choose to visit Gothenburg rather than Stockholm. Direct flights to Gothenburg are almost three times cheaper than flying to Stockholm’s main airport, costing £524 for a family of four compared to £1,492.

Similarly, holidaymakers heading to Portugal can cut the cost of their trip by almost 25% if they visit Alvor rather than the popular Funchal.

[Related story: 'Parents can now challenge school term holiday fines']

How to save on your family holiday

Gothenburg, Sweden

[Related story: How to save money and book cheaper flights]

Don't go there, go here

OK, let’s talk numbers. Here are some of the best alternatives to popular destinations and how much you could save.

Country

Destination

Cost per family*

Total saving

Sweden

Stockholm

£2,904

£932 (32%)

Gothenburg

£1,972

Portugal

Funchal

£2,960

£724 (25%)

Alvor

£2,236

Croatia

Dubrovnik

£2,588

£636 (25%)

Sibenik

£1,952

Greece

Crete

£2,804

£512 (18%)

Zakynthos

£2,292

Spain

Barcelona

£2,496

£312 (13%)

Fuengirola

£2,184

France

Nice

£2,724

£260 (10%)

Montpellier

£2,464

Canary Islands

Lanzarote

£2,608

£252 (10%)

La Gomera

£2,356

Italy

Amalfi Coast

£2,888

£160 (6%)

Arzachena

£2,728

Bulgaria

Sunny Beach

£1,864

£52 (3%)

Nessebar

£1,812

Montenegro

Budva

£2,300

£36 (2%)

Petrovac

£2,264

*This includes seven nights’ accommodation, flights, dinners, spending money and one activity.

Despite the evidence that lesser-known destinations are less expensive only 14% of adults believe alternative holiday spots offer better value for money. However, 76% of us say we’d be open to visiting places we haven’t heard of if they are cheaper.

“Although holiday prices have risen slightly – partly due to the decline in value of sterling against the euro – families can still pocket savings this half-term by looking for alternatives to the more popular tourist destinations,” says Paul Stokes, head of products at M&S Bank.

“As well as saving money, families can also discover new destinations that are off the beaten track.”

The cheapest half-term holiday destinations

If you are looking for a cheap break this half term, consider Bulgarian holiday resorts Nessebar and Sunny Beach as they top the list of cheap destinations, according to M&S Bank.

 

2016 per family

2015 per family

% difference

£ difference

Nessebar, Bulgaria

£1,812

£1,777

2.0%

£35

Sunny Beach, Bulgaria

£1,864

£1,826

2.1%

£38

Sibenik, Croatia

£1,952

£1,901

2.7%

£51

Gothenburg, Sweden

£1,972

£1,826

8.0%

£146

Fuengirola, Spain

£2,184

£2,122

2.9%

£62

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