Kent half term getaway prices have parents outraged

Summer holidays are times to treat the family for a much needed break, but imagine having to pay hundreds

of pounds more just so you can take your children with you without the hassle of taking them out of school.

When you’re searching for a family holiday you want to make sure you find an amazing location at a bargain price, so when looking at local getaway’s you’re going to want a really good price.

It is common knowledge that travel agents and holiday companies increase their holiday prices during half term times but what people were not aware of was the extent of the increases, particularly when only looking to have a holiday somewhere local.

In Kent, being a coastal location, there are dozens of family holiday destinations. With many families opting for a holiday home or a caravan the coastal complexes are the places to go, but some also like to rent cottages or stay in hotels whether it is for a long weekend or for a whole week.

When looking into the different accommodations though it seems that all prices increase during half term time, particularly during the Summer holidays when kids have their six week break.  Comparing prices for late May with Late July/early August there are clear differences in price for the same accommodation.

Park Holidays – Alberta, Whitstable

When comparing prices for a seven night stay in a caravan with two bedrooms, sleeping six people, it shows that during half term time the price almost doubles compared to the term time price even though it is the same location and accommodation type. In order to save money parents would have to take their children out of school to have their family holiday’s, which could mean they get a fine of £60 per child for going away in term time.

A ParkHolidays consultant said: “We work on a real time pricing structure which can change at anytime.

“Prices can be heavily discounted nearer the time or could be booked so quickly that they increase nearer the time, we normally advise its best to book with a price you are happy paying at the time you see it”.

Ramada Hotel – Dover

The trend is the same for this Kent hotel, each type of room has a set price in early June for a seven night stay, and these prices rise in late July. This once again shows the differences in price depending on whether families book a room during term time or during the school holidays.

Bramley and Teal Holiday Cottages, Saltway House, Whitstable

Once again the trend is the same even if you wish to rent a cottage by the sea for seven nights. For exactly the same place the price increases by £300 in late July compared to the lower one in late May, which highlights the difference between term time and halt term holiday prices.

The increased cost of holidays during half term has frustrated parents because for a family holiday when children are not at school they are paying a lot more money.

Sarah Wright from Medway has had to take her children out of school and pay the fine for it in order to go on holiday because she just can’t afford to pay the higher prices in the Summer holidays.

Above: Sarah Wright

She said: “Parents on low incomes struggle to afford holidays out of term time so they are at a disadvantage but paying a fine is still cheaper than paying double for a holiday outside of term time”.

Not all parents are able to afford to pay the half term prices, especially if the increase is hundreds of pounds more, so they do risk taking their children out of school and getting fined because the fine is less expensive to pay than booking a holiday out of school time.

Angela Warner from Medway has done this before and would do it again.

Above: Angela Warner

She says: “I have taken my child out of school for a holiday and I would do it again, I understand schools want to discourage parents from taking children out of school.

“I would accept the risk of being fined, the higher prices of holidays during school breaks far out weighs the cost of a fine.”

Taking children out of school during term time will have an effect on their attendance but parents cannot afford to pay out for the expensive prices holiday companies ask for during school breaks, so they make this sacrifice in order to save as much money as possible whilst also being able to treat their families to a well needed break.

Parents should not have to miss out on taking their families away just because of the expensive prices, which is why they are calling for holiday companies and travel agents to make the half term prices much more reasonable rather than charging hundreds more.

If they do wish to make prices higher during the holidays they should only increase them by a small amount because then parents can afford the holiday rather than paying out for the fine they get from schools for taking their children out of term time.

Kent County Council have been contacted for their views on the matter.