If you're heading off on holiday soon, you're not alone – analysis from Sainsbury's Bank Travel Money reveals that UK residents took 15.6 million holidays abroad between July and September 2015, a 14% rise compared with the 13.7 million holidays taken over the same period in 2011, with more and more people catching the travel bug.
Many are heading to far flung destinations, too, with the top "must visit" destination cited as New Zealand, chosen by 29% of people. Slightly closer to home – but still a far cry from your typical beach destination – is Iceland, the top choice for one in five respondents, while 19% said they simply had to visit Japan for a true culture change.
A further 16% would opt for Norway and 15% regarded Croatia as a must-visit, but many tried and trusted holiday destinations have enjoyed a boom in recent years, too. Spain, for example, enjoyed a 21% boost in UK visitors between 2011 and 2015, while the number of those holidaying in Italy increased by 43% and by 38% in Portugal. The USA saw a boost as well, with a 37% rise in the number of UK visitors over the same period.
However, there are some countries in which visitor numbers really soared, with the three countries that saw the biggest percentage increase in British holidaymakers between 2011 and 2015 being Slovakia (466%) Japan (285%), and Iceland (220%).
But just what encourages Brits to take the plunge and get planning their holiday? Well, 49% said that value for money was the most important factor when deciding on a destination, followed by a warmer or better climate (40%) and safety (38%). A further 23% said that going somewhere for an 'authentic' cultural experience was the most important factor, while 21% wanted to visit a destination that hadn't become too commercialised.
"Our research suggests that we are taking even more holidays abroad and to a wider set of countries than just four years ago," said Simon Taylor, head of Travel Money at Sainsbury's Bank. He added that, with growth in travel to destinations such as Japan and Iceland, it's essential that holidaymakers shop around for their foreign currency, and they may want to consider the convenience (not to mention the safety) of a pre-paid travel card. And of course, wherever you're travelling, don't forget the travel insurance!
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