Spending $58 billion between us, we even surpassed Russia’s more modest outgoing of $50 billion. Aside from China, the only other two big-spending countries who beat us were the USA ($112 billion) and Germany ($92 billion).
Of course, we want to make the most of our holidays. We spend all year toiling hard at work, so why shouldn’t we let off some steam and enjoy ourselves?
Research has shown that the average Brit abroad spends £80 a day, and 42% admit to getting ‘carried away’.
This means a family of four could be spending up to £320 a day on food, drink and entertainment.
Compare this to our average daily spending in the UK of £75.87 – which takes into account our housing and transport costs – and you can see our spending has significantly increased.
Where are we spending our money?
So where in the world do we spend all of this money?
It’s perhaps with no surprise that Spain is the top holiday destination for Brits, with 12 million of us flocking there each year. Research from TravelSupermarket found that Majorca, Tenerife, Ibiza and Lanzarote were all in the top five holiday destinations for 2015 - all destinations where you need to buy Euros for.
Greece, the USA, Portugal and Italy were also popular amongst British tourists. However, alternative destinations including these beach destinations and city breaks are also seeing a rise in visitors.
With beautiful sunshine and tranquil beaches, it’s no wonder we choose to spend our hard-earned money with some down-time in these countries.
However, the decision we face before we book our desired destination is whether to opt for all-inclusive or self-catered accommodation.
According to research from the Post Office, a typical seven day self-catering holiday averages at £1,488.04 for a family of four, whereas the all-inclusive option is almost £500 more at £1,945.03.
The reason all-inclusive is more expensive is because it includes all meals, snacks and drinks.
However, by going self-catering, you’ll have a more spacious room with a kitchen area, so you can purchase your own snacks and drinks from the supermarket.
The main difference between the two is variety. With self-catering, you have options in terms of what you eat, where and when. Whilst food and drink is free with all-inclusive, you’ll be eating at the same resort at designated times. You may even find that your meals are served buffet style, which can start to get a bit boring after a while!
Further research from the Post Office found that 2/3 of those who had opted for all-inclusive holidays spent an additional £233 on food and drink due to this boredom!
Essentially, this choice will directly affect the costs you spend whilst on holiday. If you have young children, all-inclusive can be the better option as all of their snacks and drinks are free, as is the abundance of entertainment provided. Otherwise, self-catering works out cheaper, and it means you have the freedom to do what you want.
What are we spending our money on?
For those who venture outside of their resorts, food and drink are the most expensive outgoings.
Using Numbeo, when comparing prices in Palma de Majorca to Manchester, it was found that costs were around 20% less. In fact, we instinctively know that the price of food and drink abroad is usually less than at home, which perhaps points to why we’re more frivolous with our spending when on holiday.
A three course meal in Palma for two is likely to cost around £31.50. A bottle of beer is around £1.57, and a bottle of coke £1.31.
Other areas we splash out on when abroad are excursions and souvenirs. Whether it’s a trip to the next resort, the largest town or some major tourist attraction, we Brits love a good coach trip.
It seems we don’t hold back on purchasing souvenirs either. Whether it’s fridge magnets, bottle openers or novelty T-shirts; as a nation we spend £1.2 billion every year – that’s £26 per person.
There’s one other area where we’re spending a significant proportion of our travel money on… duty free.
We’re all drawn to the bright lights and big displays of a variety of alcohol, chocolate and perfume in the duty free stores. A study from the Money Advice Service found that British holiday-makers spend £1billion at airports every year.
However, we don’t spend all of this money because we desperately want the products on offer… it’s more a case of we can’t be bothered to change our foreign currency back when we get home!
Research shows that unless we have more than £52 worth of currency left, we’d rather fritter it away at the airport instead of changing it back. In fact, every Brit abroad spends approximately £14.27 in duty free, just to get rid of it!
How do we manage our spending?
If you’re looking to manage your money whilst on holiday, for one thing, you should stop with the reckless spending at duty free.
If you’re taking your luggage in the hold, then you can buy any alcohol you want in the supermarkets at your resort – usually for a lot less.
Even if you’re travelling with cabin baggage, you’re still able to pack food. Stocking up on chocolate, biscuits and other sweet treats while at the resort works out more cost-effective at the airport – just make sure you can fit it all in your case!
With all of that leftover money you now have; if you’re planning on visiting a country with the same currency again, you can always keep hold of your leftover notes. However if you don't think you'll be using your leftover currency any time soon, then change it back to pounds.
After all, it’s always nice to return back from holiday with a little more money than you thought… and it can be a nice motivation to start saving for your next holiday!
Remember, do not buy what you can’t afford, and think carefully before taking out a loan for any non-essential purchases.
All information was correct at the time of writing.