Pre-holiday spending racks up to £28bn | will never contact you by phone to sell you any financial product. Any calls like this are not from Moneyfacts. Emails sent by will always be from Be Scamsmart.

ARCHIVED ARTICLE This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Published: 14/07/2017

The summer holidays are rapidly approaching, and that means Brits up and down the country will be getting ready for their all-important summer break – and they'll probably be spending huge amounts of cash in the process.

That's according to research from American Express, which found that holidaymakers are set to spend an average of £273 before they even leave the house. Given that the average Brit takes two holidays a year, they could easily be spending £546 on holiday preparations, adding up to a collective £28 billion across the nation.

The money is being spent on everything from goggles to gadgets, but most of it is spent on looking the part – holidaymakers spend an average of £69 per trip on new clothing, shoes and accessories, as well as £33 on makeup, to ensure they're holiday-ready.

A further is £36 on toys to keep the kids occupied, £30 on electronic accessories (such as phone chargers, headphones and adapters), £27 on games, £24 on food and drink, £20 on toiletries, £18 on entertainment (such as magazines and books) and £16 on medicine/first aid items, so it's easy to see how quickly it can all add up.

Many holidaymakers (67%) start stocking up on their holiday essentials a month before they head off on their trip, while another 20% buy their loved ones or themselves a treat to celebrate the start of the holiday. However, it isn't always forward planning that leads to extra spending: almost three-quarters (71%) of respondents have had to repurchase an item because they left it at home, at an average cost of £12 per trip, adding up to £437 million being spent each year on duplicate purchases.

Jenny Cheung, director at American Express, commented on the findings, and has some clever advice to make that holiday spending even more rewarding:

"As the holiday season approaches, suitcases are already being piled high with travel-related goodies as Brits prepare for their getaways. With many people working hard all year to earn their break, it's understandable that special treats make it onto the shopping list. These little luxuries can go even further by putting related expenditure on a card that earns rewards or cashback, so you can treat yourself a bit more either during your holiday or after you return."

This could be a great way to really make the most of your holiday money, as there's nothing better than getting something for nothing. You can earn cashback of up to 5% with some credit cards (such as American Express' Platinum Cashback Card), or you may like to build up reward points with your favourite retailers. Either way, just make sure that you can afford to repay the balance in full when the statement arrives, otherwise interest could easily outweigh the benefits you accumulate.

Make sure to check your balance before you start shopping, too; you may have enough points or cashback built up already to cover some of your holiday essentials, no further spending required! This is where planning ahead really comes into its own, and it could pay off in other ways, too: make a list of the practical items you'll need and buy them well ahead of your holiday, giving you time to compare prices and make the most of any sales or voucher codes you come across. Then all you've got to do is jet off and enjoy your holiday!

What next?

Compare cashback credit cards

Don't to risk the possibility of getting into debt? Consider prepaid travel cards

Find out how to get the best exchange rates and ways to get more from your holiday money

Don't forget travel insurance!


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. Links to third parties on this page are paid for by the third party. You can find out more about the individual products by visiting their site. will receive a small payment if you use their services after you click through to their site. All information is subject to change without notice. Please check all terms before making any decisions. This information is intended solely to provide guidance and is not financial advice. Moneyfacts will not be liable for any loss arising from your use or reliance on this information. If you are in any doubt, Moneyfacts recommends you obtain independent financial advice.

chair at the beach

Cookies will, like most other websites, place cookies onto your device. This includes tracking cookies.

I accept. Read our Cookie Policy