July 27, 2012 03:00 ET

School's Out...But at What Cost? Parent's Battle to Find an Extra GBP 2,474 in the Family Budget to Keep Their Children Entertained This Summer

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - July 27, 2012) -

• Roadtrips are back in fashion

• Parents will be spending an additional £53 to keep their children entertained on rainy days this summer

British parents are expected to spend a whopping £2,474 on childcare and entertainment this summer, according to new Travelodge research. The 'School's Out' study which surveyed 5,000 British parents reveals the financial and emotional effect of the summer break is giving 73% of parents sleepless nights; over finding ways to keep their children entertained over the next 42 days.

The overall cost of the school holidays includes an average spend of £351 on childcare, £504 on days out and £665 on additional transport and food.

The research also revealed the America craze of coupon hunting is a growing trend in the UK now with a third of British parents devoting between two to three hours each week voucher- hunting in a bid to help run their household budget. So addictive is the thrill to find discount vouchers, a quarter of parents have got their children searching for money off coupons for fun.

The report also found that 17% of parents with children under 18 will not be taking a holiday this year. Of those who are, 53% are planning to stay in the UK. The days of taking more than one break a year has become a distant memory for most - with less than a third of parents able to afford it.

Reservations data from budget hotel chain Travelodge reveals the emergence of a new staycation trend as a result - the revival of British road trips.

Travelodge Spokeswoman Shakila Ahmed said: "We're calling it 'hotel hopping'. We have seen a significant rise this year of people visiting two or three destinations in a week rather than staying at just one. Families might stop off at Eastbourne, Brighton and Bognor Regis exploring the Sussex coast, for example."

"Resourceful Britons are making one holiday feel like more, which is a great way of keeping the children entertained during the holidays."

The report also revealed coastal destinations top the staycation list with 46% of families heading to the sea-side this summer. City breaks and rural escapes are neck and neck (17% and 16% respectively) followed by family visits (12%) and theme park get-aways (9%).

Most popular destinations for families are Cornwall, Edinburgh, Lake District, Devon and Blackpool.

Staying in Blighty does have one major drawback, the unpredictable weather and the Travelodge study highlighted the widespread concern about the effect the weather may have, with 81% of parents stating their school holiday budgets could be blown if there are not enough dry days.

Shakila Ahmed continued: "Parents told us that entertaining children on rainy days is £53 more expensive than on dry days. More rain could really put the Wellington boot into already cash-strapped parent's budgets.

"Going to the beach and having picnics were two of the top three activities mums and dads have planned for their kids - both low cost but heavily reliant on clear skies.

"Despite aiming to spend an average of £150 less this summer than last, parents are now bracing themselves to spend hundreds of pounds more, if the weather doesn't improve for the duration."

NETMUMS founder Siobhan Freegard says: "Summer can be tough for families who are already struggling, as the holidays mean increased food and childcare bills, so less to spend on short breaks and days out."

"When it's sunny there are lots of options for free activities, such as outdoor treasure hunts or picnics in the park. But rainy days are harder to manage as kids are often full of energy but cooped up in the house."

"You can't beat the British weather so why not make a virtue of it? Wrap up the children in wellies and waterproofs and go puddle jumping or try a nature walk in the rain spotting snails and slugs?"

"If you are stuck for indoor inspiration, think back to your youth - a pack of cards, marbles, torches in the bedroom, cardboard box robots - the things you loved as a child can all be re-introduced for the new generation."

"While getting creative takes more time to plan than a trip to a pricey theme park, it makes memories your children will treasure forever. All the research shows children want time with their parent's more than expensive days out."

Despite concern over rainy days at home, when it comes to family breaks, Travelodge research shows British parents to be stalwart. The vast majority (89%) of staycationers agreed that they'd be pulling on their wellies and raincoats to hit the UK's tourist spots whatever the weather.

Further research findings revealed that working parents will be taking an average 12 days off during the summer holidays. Fifty two per cent of working parents reported difficulties getting time off during the school holidays due to competition with colleagues who also have children and co-workers who don't have children don't understand the practicalities of school holidays.

A quarter of parents reported that summer school holidays should be reduced as it is too expensive to keep children entertained for over six weeks.

Listed below are the top ten activities parents are planning to do with their children this summer:

  1. Going to the beach

  2. Going to the cinema

  3. Going to a museum

  4. Going on a picnic

  5. Taking a trip into the countryside

  6. Baking at home

  7. Visiting family

  8. Going to a theme park or attraction

  9. Going bowling

  10. Going fishing

Notes to editors:

The School's Out Survey was conducted in July 2012 with 5,000 British parents.

Top rainy day tips from the experts at NETMUMS:

NETMUMS founder Siobhan Freegard said," If you want to stay warm indoors, arts and craft activities are perfect for rainy days and there is no need to buy expensive paints. Keep old wrapping paper, cereal cartons, egg boxes and tinfoil to make everything from monsters to spaceships to princesses crowns, or play 'walk the plank' with pieces of paper in your living room.

"Turn the rules upside down occasionally at meal times - have tea under the kitchen table with a bit cloth over the top - have chips in newspaper, make and decorate plates from cardboard, get drinking straws, make and paint paper hats.

"But remember summer fun doesn't have to break the bank. There are hundreds of great activities to enjoy with your kids which cost no more than a couple of pounds - or are even free.

"Share your ideas with other local mums for extra inspiration and keep a scrapbook of games, or visit for thousands of free activities."

Breakdown of spending on summer holidays:
Childcare £351
Days out £504
Petrol/transport £305
Food £360
Family holiday £954
Total £2,474

About Travelodge:

The first budget hotel brand to launch in the UK in 1985, Travelodge now operates over 500 hotels and over 35,400 rooms across the UK, Ireland (11) and Spain (4). Travelodge plans to grow its estate to 1,100 hotels and 100,000 rooms by 2025. Over 13 million people stayed with Travelodge last year and 90% of reservations are currently made online at, where room rates start at £19 per night. The chain employs over 6,000 staff.

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