Cash-strapped Britons are taking fewer holidays, new research has shown, with young adults most likely to cut back on their travel spending.

An annual report by Abta, the travel association, revealed that the average Briton took 3.1 holidays in the 12 months to August 2013 – 1.2 overseas and 1.9 domestic – down from 3.5 during the previous year and 3.9 in 2010/11.

Those aged between 16 and 24 took 3.7 holidays on average, the most of any age group, but down from 4.7 in 2011/12. Conversely, those aged between 55-64 took more breaks in the last year – 3.2, on average, compared with 2.7.

Victoria Bacon, head of communications at Abta, suggested that the summer heatwave may have contributed to the overall decline in holidays taken.

Londoners took more overseas holidays (1.6) than the rest of Britain, the research suggested, while Scots booked the most domestic breaks (2.3). Those from Northern Ireland took the fewest holidays this year – 2.5 on average, including just 0.8 trips abroad.

Somewhat surprisingly, given the ever-increasing popularity of tablets and smartphones, fewer Britons booked a holiday using a mobile this year – 11 per cent, down from 14 per cent in 2012. Nine per cent booked using a tablet, down from 10 per cent last year. Those most likely to book using a mobile or tablet were those aged from 16-24 (29 per cent and 17 per cent, respectively). Just one per cent of those aged 65 and over booked a holiday using a mobile.

“The vast majority of holidaymakers still rely on the PC when booking online,” said Bacon. “The gap appears to have widened between the number of people owning mobile and tablet devices and those using them to actually purchase a holiday.”

In terms of holiday types, city and beach breaks were equally popular, with each accounting for 41 per cent of all holidays booked in 2013. Five per cent of holidays bought by Britons were cruises, seven per cent were music events and six per cent involved rail travel.

Nearly half (46 per cent) of British holidaymakers booked a package, down slightly from 48 per cent in 2012, while around one in seven (15 per cent) bought an all-inclusive holiday.

Abta’s survey of just over 2,000 Britons also uncovered the most important factors when choosing a holiday, with 86 per cent rating “safe and secure accommodation” as an essential, ahead of “financial protection” (79 per cent), “Atol protection” (77 per cent), “ABTA membership” (71 per cent) and “value for money” (70 per cent).


Here is the age and device breakdown for booking vacations abroad:

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Source: ABTA

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Photo Credit: A UK study found that younger travelers cut back on their vacations last year. In this photo, two young women were sitting at the base of the obelisk in the center of Rome's Piazza del Popolo. Ed Yourdon