Families face paying up to double the price for a package holiday to popular destinations as soon as the school holidays begin, a survey has found.
A survey of 79 one-week package holidays for a family of four at a four star hotel in Tenerife, Majorca, the Costa del Sol and the Algarve found that prices increase by up to 115% compared with the same trip taken two weeks before schools close for the summer.
Travel money provider FairFXsaid it showed how travel companies “exploit” parents by hiking prices as soon as schools in England and Wales break up.
On average, the cost of holidays rose by 35% but the investigation also found that the biggest hike was a 115% increase in the cost of a Thomas Cook package holiday to Majorca from London and a 104% increase in a First Choice holiday to the Costa del Sol flying from Birmingham.
The study found that Leeds was the most expensive regional airport on average for all the destinations with price hikes of around 34%.
Package holidays from Birmingham saw the highest regional average price increases at 43%.
Those flying from London saw average prices become 45% higher after the start of the school holidays.
The study follows a similar investigation in February that found air fares for half-term flights were up to eight times more expensive than at other times.
The figures come as many parents make plans for summer holidays abroad, but face fines if they take their children out of school for unauthorised absences.
FairFX chief executive Ian Strafford-Taylor said: “It seems parents are being held to ransom by travel operators when it comes to summer holidays.
“A week in the sun allows families to spend precious time together, but when parents face paying double the original price this experience comes under threat.”