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Annual holiday a priority for 83% of Brits

Bali beachA holiday is a priority for 83 per cent of Brits, as new research shows many would rather cut back on other leisure activities, clothes and gadgets instead.

Some 83 per cent of Brits took a holiday either in the UK or abroad in the 12 months to August 2013, according to the Consumer Trends Survey 2013 by travel association ABTA.

And it seems that for many Brits a holiday is a necessity they are reluctant to forego.

One in five (21 per cent) say they cannot do without an annual overseas holiday, with this sentiment rising to more than a quarter (26 per cent) of those aged over 55.

Meanwhile, across all ages, more than one in 10 (11 per cent) say a "staycation" or holiday in the UK is a necessity.

Brits cutting back to pay for annual holiday

ABTA's poll of 2,000 consumers also saw holidays come out on top as the item people would be most unwilling to cut back on.

Brits would rather spend less on other leisure activities, clothes, new electronic gadgets, home improvement and eating out throughout the year before they went without a holiday.

Brits take 3.1 holidays a year

UK consumers took an average of 3.1 holidays in the UK or overseas this year, down from 3.5 in 2012.

But ABTA believes this summer's UK heatwave may have contributed to the fall in the number of holidays per person.

This is perhaps not surprising when considering that the weather is an important factor in Britons' love of overseas trips.

Almost one in four people (22 per cent) say their main reason for taking a foreign holiday is to get some sunshine.

Longer breaks on the rise

Couple on deckchairs on beachThe research also suggests consumers may have also been cutting back on the number of trips overall to fund a longer main holiday.

More consumers went abroad for seven or more nights in the past 12 months than in the same period the previous year.

At the same time there was a drop off in the number of people going abroad for less than six nights.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA chief executive, said: "It's clear Brits are still keen to preserve their main annual holiday.

"The heatwave undoubtedly had an impact on the late [holiday] market as after many poor summers in the UK people chose to enjoy the weather at home.

"This may go some way to explain the slight decrease in the number of holidays taken per person.

Consumers booking holidays further in advance

Continuing a trend from 2012, ABTA found that more people booked their holiday further in advance in the 12 months to August 2013 than in the same period the previous year.

Top reasons for booking holidays in advance

  • better deals/cheaper prices (63 per cent)
  • to get better availability (49 per cent)
  • better choice (33 per cent)
  • to get time off work (26 per cent)

Mhairi Edwards is head is of travel at

She said: "Timing is everything when it comes to getting the best price for a holiday but it really depends on the type of break you're booking."

When to book for a bargain holiday

Edwards explained: "We recently reported that Tuesday is the best day to book a holiday because this is when tour operators adjust prices on holidays which aren't selling.

"But when it comes to booking a bargain cruise, for example, it's about how far in advance you book, rather than on which day of the week you do it.

"Cruise-goers should either book their places well in advance – between six and 12 months before the sailing date – or at the last minute, which means within two or three months of the trip.

"And whatever type of holiday you go on, it always pays to organise your travel insurance when you book your break," Edwards added.

"Buying travel insurance when you book your holiday means that if something prevents you from travelling, illness, for example, or if your holiday is cancelled, you will be able to make a claim."

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Naphtalia Loderick

Naphtalia Loderick

Naphtalia Loderick covers all things consumer for She started out on a weekly newspaper, via a national news agency and a stint in the fun but ‘not as glamorous as it appears on screen’ world of TV at the BBC researching consumer films for The One Show.

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