Sun, sea and spending

Sun, sea and spending

The summer holidays are nearly here, and many kids have been saving hard all year to enjoy spending their cash in the sunshine.


Research shows two-thirds (66%) of us will be heading abroad on our family summer holidays this year, according to research for the annual Post Office Travel Money Family Holiday Report*. Yet, it’s not all sun, sea, and spending. The same research reveals that more than three-quarters (77%) of families who set a budget for their last holiday overspent by an average of 38%. 


Hardly surprising when prices for meals, drinks and a range of kid-friendly extras have risen across Europe and that prices vary by up to 88% across the 16 destinations surveyed by the Post Office.


To check in early on holiday expenses, see the chart below for what the following kid-friendly items could cost your child, depending on where you go this summer.


Post Office Family Holiday Report Beach Barometer 2023: Prices were supplied by TUI, together with input from selected national and regional tourist offices of participating countries (Marmaris, Algarve, Madeira, Costa del Sol, Paphos, Porec, and Sliema). Prices are based on the 14 July exchange rate for a £500 online transaction.


Tips for happy holiday spending with kids


With money not going as far as it used to, this is disappointing news for kids who have saved all year. Whether they are buying souvenirs, gifts for friends, or splashing out on beach activities, to get the most from their spending money, they need to enlist their best money management skills. Here’s how to help them:


To check in early on holiday expenses, see the chart below for what the following kid-friendly items could cost your child, depending on where you go this summer.






Bucket & Spade

Rhodes, Greece


Porec, Croatia


Inflatable Lilo

Puglia, Italy


Lanzarote, Canary Islands


Mask & Snorkel

Marmaris, Turkey


Ibiza, Balearic Islands


Ice cream (e.g. Magnum)

Marmaris, Turkey


Crete, Greece



Marmaris, Turkey


Ibiza, Balearic Islands


Water activity

Funchal, Madeira 


Paphos, Cyprus



Sunny Beach Bulgaria


Corfu, Greece


Sun cream

Algarve, Portugal


Crete, Greece


Insect repellent

Marmaris, Turkey


Crete, Greece


Set a spending budget


It’s so easy when you’re on holiday to spend, spend, spend, and kids are no different to us. They want to spend and enjoy themselves whenever they want, so if you don’t want them coming to the holiday Bank of Mum and Dad, set a daily spending budget. This way, they won’t spend all their money on the first thing they see.

Shop around for souvenirs and gifts


Encourage them not to be an impulse spender, especially when it comes to souvenirs. Tourist areas will always have the most expensive gifts and souvenirs, so ask your hotelier or tour guide, who may have useful information about where to buy certain types of items and where you'll get the best deals.


Also, warn your kids that selling souvenirs is big business in tourist hotspots, and some vendors resort to high-pressure sales. Be wary of sellers trying to get you and your child into their shop and offering you bargains. If you don't feel comfortable, walk away.

Help them to work out how much they’re paying


Using different currencies always feels like play money, and it’s not easy for kids (and adults) to convert currency when shopping.


What will help is to install a converter app onto your phone and shop with them. This way, they can work out if the key ring, ice cream, or inflatable that seems so cheap in local money really is when translated to British pounds.


It also helps to know that whenever your child uses their GoHenry card abroad, their spending will show on the GoHenry app in pounds sterling, with the local currency and exchange rate listed below. This is designed to help with kids’ and teens’ understanding of how currencies and exchange rates work..

Ensure buys are ethical 


It's best to stay away from forgeries and fakes (no matter what TikTok posts tell your kids about the best buys abroad). While buying counterfeit goods is not illegal, they will be made of substandard materials and are usually produced by people barely being paid a living wage.


Use GoHenry abroad


Kids can use their GoHenry card overseas for free. There are no commission or ATM withdrawal fees (though some ATMs charge their own fee, so please keep an eye out for this). 


Also, tell your kids that whenever they pay for an item, they should opt to pay in the local currency. Explain to your kids that in some restaurants and shops, they will ask you if you want to pay in pounds sterling or the local currency. The local currency will nearly always be lower because it will then be converted into pounds at Visa Europe's rate. If you opt to pay in pounds, you could end up paying more in fees as the shop and restaurant can choose the conversion rate.
Written by Anita Naik Published May 21, 2024 ● 3 mins