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The summer holiday 'Parent Trap'

A message from our MD,

We all know travelling during the summer holidays is more expensive -- Travelzoo estimates the cost is typically around 40% higher than outside school summer-holiday dates. The best deals always seem to be in term time, which means families with school-aged children and teachers have less access to affordable holidays. In many cases, families take their children out of school for a few days in order to get cheaper travel prices, and traditionally schools have allowed some flexibility around this. However, things are about to get even harder. From September this year, the law will change, obliging schools to decline holiday requests and enforce fines on parents who take their children out of school during term time.

According to a survey we conducted recently with My Family Club, a website dedicated to saving families time, stress and money, 50% of parents admitted that they had taken children out of school for a holiday to avoid high prices.

Travelzoo does not condone taking children out of school for holidays; however, we believe a more creative solution must be out there to help alleviate what we are calling the "Parent Trap."

From a personal perspective as a father and in a professional capacity as someone who has worked in the travel industry for many years, I have decided to start a campaign via an online petition to lobby the UK government to consider suspending or reducing Airport Passenger Duty (APD) during the six weeks of the school summer-holiday period. This is one simple way to help reduce the price of family holidays. APD on a typical holiday to a longhaul destination adds at least £350 to the travel bill for a family of four.

In addition, we believe that the government should consider more flexibility around the legislation governing what school heads can approve -- for example, the restriction on holiday during term could only be applied to older children, aged 11 and above, when attendance is more crucial. For younger children with good attendance, schools should be able to make a judgement call about occasional holiday dates.

So far our campaign has been supported by over 24,000 people who have signed the petition. I need to get to a total of 100,000 signatures on the e-petition in order to bring this debate to parliament. I urge all of you who feel passionately about affordable travel for families and teachers to sign the petition. If you sign our petition and encourage your friends and family to do the same, we may just be able to bring down the cost of summer travel.

Finally, if we do get to 100,000 signatures, Travelzoo will donate £1500 to the Family Holiday Association (the only nationwide charity dedicated to helping provide much-needed breaks to disadvantaged children and their families who are in difficult circumstances -- to find out more visit www.familyholidayassociation.org.uk).

We are also urging our travel industry peers such as the big tour operators to consider a review of pricing and see if something can be done to balance the financial burden placed on the family sector.

It only takes a moment to support the campaign: Sign the petition.

To keep up with the latest on this follow us on Twitter @Travelzoo_UK and help us spread the word by using #fighttheparenttrap.

Thank you for supporting my petition,
Richard Singer

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Deal Expert, London
Wednesday, 30 October 2013
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Richard Singer