Travel disruption cost British travellers more than £740 million in 2010 with 13% of having their holiday plans affected, according to a new study.
More than one in ten Britons who went on holiday in 2010 (13%) saw their travel plans disrupted through a ‘triple whammy’ of the Icelandic volcano eruption, bad weather and industrial action.
The resulting turmoil meant the affected 4.9 million travellers found themselves out of pocket by an average £151 each (adding up to £741 million in total), the “Holidays Unpacked” report by lastminute.com found.
The research among 2,124 adults found that almost two million travellers found themselves caught in the Icelandic ash cloud, more than 1.8 million were hit by adverse weather conditions and just under 500,000 were affected by strike action.
But, the report says, some of the financial loss might have been avoided. The research found that 67% of travellers fail to read the terms and conditions of their holiday arrangements and a third (28%) do not print off their flight or journey documentation – leaving them potentially exposed when things go wrong.
Despite problems experienced last year, the outlook was positive with 70% of Britons planning to go on holiday as often or more in 2011 compared with 2010.
Holiday spending is also set to rise as travellers going on holiday in 2011 plan to spend £1,531 each this year, compared to an average of £1,356 in 2010.
Almost a third (29%) of holidaymakers plan to spend the majority of their time on a UK holiday, with the ‘staycation’ trend that has emerged over the past two years set to continue.
A combination of the Royal Wedding and substantial investment in UK travel – including a government-backed £100 million VisitBritain fighting fund to promote British travel – will contribute to a brighter year for the domestic industry, says the report
Lastminute.com managing director Mark Maddock said: “A triple whammy of erupting volcanoes, bad weather and strikes took its toll both emotionally and financially in 2010.
“That said, our research shows us that no matter what obstacles lie in the way, travellers will not compromise on taking holidays and making the most of our free time: the holiday is considered a right not a privilege according to our report.
“With that in mind, while there is no way to guard against ‘acts of God’ and inclement weather, we advise that holidaymakers really do their ‘holiday homework’ this year.
“There are three straightforward but crucial measures that people should take to avoid disappointment and ensure they aren’t left in the cold if things go wrong.”
Maddock added: “With so many exciting events on the horizon both home and away, 2011 is set to be a great year for UK travellers.
“But safety – and safeguarding your holiday investment – is paramount. We would urge everyone to thoroughly research their itinerary in advance and print out all the necessary documentation to take with them.”