Blue Monday – touted as being the most depressing day of the year – is with us, and many people are looking for ways to escape it. From the cold weather to the lack of funds after the festive season, it's perhaps no wonder that so many people feel less than rosy, which could explain why 83% of respondents to MBNA's latest survey have booked, or are planning to book, a winter getaway…
Potentially, this means that four in every five UK adults are planning to get away from it all in the coming months, with millions set to embark on beach holidays (the preferred choice for 39% of respondents), overseas city breaks (35%) or even a good-old 'staycation' in the UK (34%).
They're expecting to spend a fair amount on it, too, with the study revealing that the average costs of travel and accommodation for winter holidays could tot up to £1,215. Advance spending on winter holiday essentials could add to the bill, with the amount spent on clothes, parking and pre-booked tours or trips coming in at £286.
Most respondents say that they'll fund the cost of their winter break with savings, income and/or credit cards, and when they're on the holiday itself, 31% will pay for things using a credit card and 64% will opt for foreign currency.
"This study shows [that] an incredible number of people are planning to leave behind the stormy weather we saw in December and take a much-needed trip away this winter," said Richard Whatmough, director of Marketing and Digital at MBNA, who added that many people will be looking to spread the cost of their trip – which is why opting for specialist credit cards could be ideal.
While it's often preferable to pay for things like holidays with savings, those who want to spread the cost in affordable monthly amounts may like to opt for a credit card instead – and one that charges 0% interest on purchases would be ideal. This way, you've got plenty of time to pay off the balance without interest adding to the bill, which could make your holiday far more affordable.
What about spending when you're abroad? Again, putting any purchases on a credit card could be a viable choice, but this time you'll need to make sure you use a specialist travel credit card. These cards boast favourable exchange rates as well as low (or sometimes no) transaction fees for using them abroad, while some even boast fee-free foreign cash withdrawals, something regular credit cards can't always offer. As long as you make sure to clear the balance in full when you get home, they could be a cost-effective choice.
Alternatively, those who would prefer to steer clear of credit may like to consider pre-paid travel cards. These come with the same advantages of travel credit cards (fee-free transactions and foreign cash withdrawals, etc.), but because you load them up with the required spending money before you head abroad, you can't spend more than you can afford – which means there's no chance of you returning to UK soil in debt.
Of course, many people will still choose to bring along some foreign currency, but with credit or pre-paid cards being more secure, and with credit cards coming with additional purchase protection, it'll be worth bringing along the specialist plastic, too. Check out our travel card best buys before you head off, and see if you can get more from your money while you're escaping the January Blues.
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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