Neil Pickford - Holiday firms need to play fair with kids

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It is around this time of year that most people’s thoughts turn towards the summer and that holiday that we all crave to get away from it all.

The dull, cold winter months put us all in the mood to plan ahead and think about jetting off somewhere sunny or to plan a break in this country where, contrary to popular belief, you can get some cracking weather and some brilliant holiday deals off season.

The main problem is, as any parent of school age children will know, that holiday companies seem hell bent on taking mums and dads to the cleaners outside term time.

It is a well known fact that holiday companies pump up their prices during the school holidays, but I have been shocked to find out just how much.

My two are both yet to start school, so we get the pick of the prices and are planning a couple of weeks away, one in February and one in November.

The first is with a really well-known holiday park company and we booked last year, getting a great deal for four nights away.

Just for curiosity’s sake, I thought I would check the cost of the same break a week later, when the schools are on holiday.

I was taken aback to read that exactly the same holiday is nearly four times as much.

This is simply disgraceful.

While I am all for getting a cheap deal, I know full well that my luck will run out pretty soon.

Being someone who firmly believes that children should not be taken out of lessons simply to go on holiday, I am going to soon be a hostage to the holiday firms.

It is no wonder that camping has become such a popular family holiday.

You can generally get a decent pitch on a decent campsite for a tiny fraction of the price paid for a holiday park or resort.

Thankfully, I am a recent convert to life under canvas and my wife has been holidaying at campsites since she was a little girl.

And there is no doubt that our two are going to be following in her footsteps.

The holiday industry needs to take a good hard look at itself and grow a conscience.

People are thinking long and hard about how to spend their cash this year and exorbitantly priced holidays are almost certain to be among the luxury items that are dropped first.

Let’s have a bit more fairness over pricing during the school holidays.