Consumer watchdog Which? recently warned that Brits who are travelling overseas during school breaks need to watch out for a massive increase in the price of renting a car. According to a study performed by Which?, car hire prices in the United States and Europe increased by 176 percent on average. These increases are seen on school holidays that fall between June and August.
The study shows that packaged holidays also jumped during the same time period. Although not as much, package holidays increased by as much as 30 percent when booked during the final weeks of school. This is due to the fact that everyone starts planning holiday trips to celebrate the end of the school year.
However, Which? feels that these increases are unjustified. The consumer watchdog knows that these tour operators are just taking advantage of the situation. Parents used to avoid these high fees by taking their kids out of school early. However, the government has cracked down on this and started hitting parents with fines if they take their kids out of school early for holidays. As a result, the parents have no choice but to pay extra money in the form of either a fine or inflated car hire prices.
The biggest increase in price was found when simply hiring a car from Barcelona airport. Hiring a car for a 50-year-old driver for a week was only £50 in June. However, in August, this amount increased to £138. This represents an increase of 176 percent. Other airports around the world are just as bad. At Malaga airport, prices increased from £49 to £123 during the same time span. This is an increase of 152 percent.
For Brits holidaying in the United States, the increases might not be as high, but they are still noticeable. In New York City, for example, the cost to rent a small car is 14 percent higher during school holidays in August. Larger cars are nearly 16 percent higher. Although these prices are not as high as what is found in Europe, Brits still have to pay more for plane tickets to travel overseas in the first place. Once in the United States, however, the euro and pound have a lot more power.
After releasing this report, Which? Travel said that if holidaymakers choose to travel during school holidays, they should travel midweek rather than on the weekends. The cheapest day to fly is on Tuesday after everyone has already left for their holidays. On top of that, holidaymakers should not be afraid to bargain with their travel agents. Studies show that most travel agents are willing to haggle on the price a little bit.
Holidaymakers should also be on the lookout for extra fees that are charged during school holidays. Many times, tour operators add extra fees during these times of the year to squeeze the most out of every single traveller that they can. If travellers spot a tour operator charging a bunch of extra fees, they should look elsewhere.