Reuters/Staff
Reporter
BRITISH holidaymakers are suffering a 9 billion pound summer holiday hangover -after racking up that amount of debt to finance their fun in the sun, according to the results of a survey released yesterday.

Britons have spent some 9.02 billion pounds on credit cards abroad this summer, and could amass interest of 550 million pounds by the New Year, according to data from price comparison service Moneysupermarket.com.

Its research showed that more than half (57 percent) of the 16 million Britons who travelled abroad this summer used a credit card to finance their summer breaks, running up an average spend of 799 pounds.

Around nine percent spent more than 1'001 pounds and a further five percent flexed the plastic to the tune of more than 2'001 pounds.
They could collectively be hit with interest charges totalling 551 million pounds by New Year's Day, if they are not able to clear their credit card balance soon after arrival on home soil -- or transfer it swiftly to an interest-free credit card.

Travellers unable to clear their holiday debt in full upon their return could see their credit card bill for summer spending rise by more than 50 pounds per month by January.

Rob Kenley, head of credit cards at Moneysupermarket.com, said: “You could be left with more than a tan if you don't think about how to handle your debt when you come home. “If you're one of the 41 percent of credit card holders who fail to clear their balance at the end of each month, you would be wise to transfer your debt onto one of the 49 zero percent balance transfer deals available to minimise the amount you'll pay in interest.” He urged borrowers to start saving to pay off the balance when the offer period ends.
Capital One offers 0 percent finance for 18 months on balance transfers, while those transferring balances to a Virgin or GE Money credit card will not pay any interest for 12 months.

Capital One and Virgin levy a balance transfer fee of 2 percent of the balance, while GE Money charges 2.5 percent.
The survey also found that younger travellers were more frugal with their cards than their elders -- spending an average 549 pounds on summer breaks, compared to more than 900 pounds among the over-50s.

Around the regions, Scots were found to be the most cautious, spending an average of 762 pounds each -- 124 pounds less than the average spend by southerners at 886 pounds.

A large slice of this money will have been spent in Majorca, one of the favourite holiday destinations for British tourists.
However, it is still too early to say just how much.
Sources in the local tourist industry say that it has been a record year for arrivals at the airport and for hotel occupancy, but it is not yet known how much visitors spent while here.

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