One in five parents taking their children on holiday during term time


One in five have taken their children out of school during term time to go on holiday according to a new survey of parents across Northern Ireland.

The survey by asked 700 people during March 2024 about their attitudes to holidaying during term time.

Over a fifth of those surveyed (21%) said they had taken their children out of school during term time for a holiday, with the majority of those (69%) stating this was due to cheaper costs.

Recent research shows prices for package holidays typically double when school is out, and air fares tend to be three times higher than during term time* – with prices in 2023 up 8.4% over 2022 and forecast to increase again in 2024.** data also shows that May and June were the most popular travel months in 2023 – suggesting a rising trend of pre summer holidays to help make savings.

Almost half of all respondents (48%) thought children should be allowed to take time out of school for holidays.

After news that families in England will now be charged more for unauthorised school absences from August 2024, moving up from £60 to £80 if paid within 21 days and £160 if paid within 28 days, it’s obviously a growing concern for the UK government.

For Northern Ireland however, there is no official fine for those taking children out of school for holidays, although it could be recognised as an unauthorised absence.

The Education Welfare Service has access to all attendance information for each pupil and if a child is missing school without good reason, they may investigate to find out why.  By law, parents and carers are responsible for making sure their child attends school regularly and parents are advised not to keep their children off school during term – regular absences can result in court action and up to £1000 fine per child.

Commenting on the survey results, Ian Wilson, Managing Director of said:  “As our survey has shown, one in five parents are taking their children on holiday during term time, with the majority stating this is due to cheaper costs.

“Airfare and holiday costs have been rising significantly with inflation, and the price spike during the summer months is just not affordable for many parents in Northern Ireland.

“There are some things that holidaymakers can do to help save money, such as researching more unusual destinations, shopping around for holiday currency and essentials, using comparison sites to get competitive prices on flights and hotels and protecting themselves with a travel insurance policy.”’s tips on holiday savings;


The self-catering option on a holiday could help lower costs.  Normally the cheapest accommodation option, it offers flexibility to shop around for meals and groceries – especially if you’re travelling with picky eaters.


If you are heading abroad, give yourself plenty of time to shop around for the best deals on currency. Leaving it until the last minute at the airport can sting you when it comes to exchange rates by as much as 10%.

3.Budget-friendly activities

Ahead of your trip, research budget-friendly or free attractions to visit at the location and consider buying tickets in advance to find savings. Putting together an itinerary of activities that won’t break the bank is a great way to keep within budget while you are away.

4.Beware of all the extras

Flights in particular seem to have increased the volume of add-ons needed after the original quote price – with priority boarding, seat locations and various cabin bag sizes often fluctuating the initial costs quite dramatically.  It’s important to be wary of comparing airlines or hire car companies without working the quote through to the final price.

5.Make travel money go further

Prepaid travel cards designed to be used abroad are a good way to manage your budget whilst away. If taking out cash at an ATM machine abroad, always select the option to withdraw in the local currency or else you could be charged for a higher exchange rate. The same goes for spending money – if given the chance, choose to spend money in the local currency on card machines.

6.Plan for a hidden budget

This could include taxis or airport transport, tipping, additional resort or airport taxes or parking payments. Factoring these in at the start will help you create a more realistic budget – checking customer review sites for your destination can usually help uncover any surprises.

7.Carry out vehicle checks

If your Easter break is more of a staycation be sure to carry out essential car checks to ensure a safe road trip. Check tyre pressure and tread depth, oil level, fuel, washer fluid, emergency supplies and your engine coolant. This can help you to avoid costly breakdown fees or fines and even penalty points for an unroadworthy vehicle.

8.Travel insurance

Whether staying in the UK or heading abroad, insurance cover could help safeguard your finances – protecting you and your family, your belongings and your holiday from delays and cancellations. The policy itself can be relatively inexpensive if you shop around and ensure it covers all your needs – comparison sites help you get a competitive price.  -ENDS-

Notes to editors:

Survey  QuestionsResponse
Have you ever taken your child out of school for a holiday?Yes-21%                                                      
If yes, why did you choose to holiday during term time?Cheaper-69%       
More availability-12%
Weather- 4%
N/A- 14%
Do you think children should be allowed to take time out of school for holidays?Yes-48%
N/A 11%’s findings are based on a randomised survey of 700 respondents across Northern Ireland in March 2024, which represents a margin of error of approximately 5% at a 95% confidence level.



This article is intended as generic information only and is not intended to apply to anybody’s specific circumstances, demands or needs. The views expressed are not intended to provide any financial service or to give any recommendation or advice. Products and services are only mentioned for illustrative rather than promotional purposes.