The true cost of a school holiday

School holidays are a brilliant time to spend with your little ones, whether that’s at the aquarium, at your local park or to another country to see them build their first sandcastle in the sun.

But with external factors like the UK’s cost of living crisis, are school holidays still regarded so highly? And how much are they really costing families?

In a new report from Gov.UK, as much as £39.3 billion of financial government support was spent between October 2022 and March 2023 to cover household and business energy costs in the UK. Shockingly, this was noted as the highest amount ever provided by the government to subsidise household bills in UK history.

To add to this, recent research conducted by Childhood Trust revealed how disabled children are disproportionately affected by the UK’s cost of living crisis.

So, with basic needs like these needing government backing and children being hit by the financial crisis the most, where does this leave money for school holidays?

We wanted to find this out, so our team at Reassured polled 1,000 British parents, asking whether or not they felt they could comfortably afford their children’s school holiday costs.

Within this, we asked parents how much was spent on typical factors like holidays away, food shops, summer camps, childcare and more during this period, and the results are astonishing.

Read on to discover how much it’s really costing parents per week over the school holidays.

Cost of school holidays infographic desktop

Parents spend over £1,000 a week over the school holidays

We can reveal that parents spend as much as £1,047 per week on their children during school holidays.

This is startling to see considering the population of children in the UK in 2023 (under the age of 18) is 14,075,345, and the cost of living crisis British families are currently battling with.

Asking parents how much they spend on each factor, it was revealed that childcare is costing families a whopping £325.90 per week, with a supermarket shop costing as much as £226.80, and summer camp costs equating to £297.90.

The lowest cost per week was eating out, with parents spending £196.60. However, this is still a significant amount just to enjoy a meal with your child or children.

Also, holidays abroad are costing £481 on average, and UK staycations typically cost £328.

External pressure to provide similar childhood experiences is high

As well as providing kids with joyful experiences during the school holidays, it seems parents are spending money because of external pressure.

Interestingly, nearly half of the parents surveyed said they’ve felt pressured to offer their children the same experience and activities as their friends and peers before (48%).

27% of the parents surveyed revealed how they’ve had to borrow or loan money to afford their child/children’s school holidays.

This proves how the pressure from parents is leading to what they feel are necessary precautions to provide a fun-filled time for kids during school holidays.

Parents are sacrificing holiday time with children to reduce costs

It seems a lot of parents (36%) are taking up extra hours to afford the expense of school holidays, which is a sad reality.

Especially when analysing our survey findings, which revealed that 28% of parents would actually send their children on holiday with other family members, such as grandparents.

Why? To minimise the cost of a family holiday overall by only sending a child/children away. But this means parents are sacrificing quality time with their little ones over the school holidays, which is usually a time for families to come together.

So, with the cost of school holidays being even higher now than ever, and the cost of living in the UK making families consider every penny, free and low-cost activities, such as park visits and playdates will likely increase to avoid family costs rising even further.

Help protect your family’s financial future

With this valuable insightful in mind, it’s as important as ever to protect your family’s financial future from factors outside of your control.

Life insurance can provide a reassuring safety blanket for your loved ones if you were no longer around to provide. The proceeds could help cover the mortgage, meeting living costs and childcare expenses.

Contact a member of our team today to learn all about family life insurance and provide crucial cover for the people you love the most.

For further insights into life insurance and income protection, visit our blog and read through informative articles telling you everything you need to know.


The survey was carried out by TFL research to 1,000 UK parents in May 2023.

Please note, the data displayed in this article is correct at the point of publication 23/06/23

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