Inflation does not spare the tourism sector. Hotel room rates soared after the health crisis and transport ticket prices continue to rise. SNCF has announced an average increase of 5% for its trains in 2023, while flying is on average 20% more expensive than a year ago. To reduce the budget for summer holidays, however, a solution is available to holidaymakers: leave at the very end of August.
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This year, the start of the school year is scheduled only on Monday, September 4. The opportunity for those who go with their family to delay their departure on holiday as much as possible, for example to offer themselves a stay from Saturday, August 26 to Saturday, September 2. "The last week of August already records a lot of bookings, because it is much cheaper than the previous ones, with an average discount of about 30%," says Didier Arino, managing director of Protourisme. "Depending on the operator, tariffs can be 20 to 50% lower," he adds.
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More or less strong haircuts depending on the region
Prices also vary by region. "On the coast, which remains very coveted all summer, the declines will be generally less marked than inland," says the tourism expert. Last year, on the Mediterranean coast, hotel room rates fell by 12 to 18% on average in the last week of August compared to the rest of the month, according to research firm MKG, which specializes in tourism data. In comparison, room prices have decreased much more - by 25% - in the Pyrenees and mid-mountain territories.
Some coastal areas nevertheless show comparable discounts, since holidaymakers were able to enjoy rates on average 25% cheaper in the south of the Atlantic coast, at the end of August 2022. Similarly for Corsica, with an average room price 23% lower, still according to MKG. Conversely, cities and regions accustomed to welcoming a large business clientele generally see their prices rise at the end of August. In Paris, for example, they grew by 5% last year.
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Overall less expensive accommodation
For homestays, the end of August is also generally less expensive than the rest of the summer holidays. "With rates comparable to those of the first week of July," says Solange Escure, general manager of the Gîtes de France network. Rental prices are then close to the rates charged in June and September. "You will be able to benefit from a discount of 20 to 30% for the last week of August. From a range of 600 to 850 euros per week in the middle of summer, you go to 400 to 650 euros, for a house of five people, "says Solange Escure. However, the presence of a swimming pool may result in an increase in rental of up to 50%.
On the campsite side, Nicolas Dayot, president of the National Federation of Outdoor Hotels (FNHAP), makes a similar observation. "The last week of August is almost half the price of the month." The rental of a mobile home for six thus falls into a range of 300 to 600 euros per week, depending on the level of range of the campsite, against 700 to 900 euros on average at the beginning of August. For a bare pitch, for two adults with two children in a tent, rates go from about 25 to 50 euros at night in early August to 20 to 40 euros at the end of the month.
Generally speaking, after August 20, prices begin to drop in campsites. And this trend continues in September. "The last week of August is the week with the strongest increase in bookings of the year. This is thanks to the later start of the school year," says Nicolas Dayot. More French people will be able to benefit from cheaper holidays.
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In terms of transport, SNCF expects very high occupancy rates throughout the last week of August. Usually, train ridership is much more concentrated on weekends that month than in July. Ticket prices vary in all cases "depending on supply and demand, therefore the occupancy rate," recalls the railway company. The less you take to take your seats, the more attractive rates you will benefit.
For French people who want to go abroad, again, the last week of August can help reduce the holiday budget. The average price of a flight seat to Spain, in economy class, is for example 122 euros for a one-way trip on August 26 and a return on September 2, according to an estimate by the flight comparator Skyscanner. An amount well below the average ticket price for the entire month of August, which reached 203 euros. For Portugal, you will pay 147 euros instead of 209. For Greece, 204 euros against 335 euros over the whole month. And in Turkey, 322 rather than 423 euros.
Significant savings, which you will also make for the rental of a car. For the week until Saturday, September 2, it will take 37 euros per day for a rented vehicle in Lisbon, 22% less than for the rest of August, according to the comparator Liligo. For a rental in Athens, count 33 euros per day, a price this time 38% lower. As for the weather, although it is impossible to predict several months in advance, it should not spoil the holiday. It remains "very favorable" until the end of August in Barcelona, according to The Weather Channel. Likewise in Rome and Athens. For Morocco, we should not fear temperatures exceeding 30 degrees Celsius. The weather should finally be there in France, with a slightly higher risk of thunderstorms in the last week of August.