Spain- £79, New York – £184

By | Category: Travel rumblings


Yes, in January 1997 it cost just £59 to travel to Malaga and Alicante, £79 to Faro in the Algarve and £99 to Greece.

We’ve just moved house. Like all movers, up we went into the loft to bring down all those boxes packed with unwanted china and the like which were hidden from sight years ago. In unwrapping them to see whether they would join us in the new home the wrapping was January 1997, seventeen years ago. And it included the travel features from a few newspapers when many were still broadsheet and thus, better for wrapping and protecting all those things you felt you had to keep.

Some places were hardly mentioned, places like Dubai which appeared in only one of the 45 adverts that I read through. Then it cost £280 to buy a return flight. Today Dubai is a popular destination that is strongly marketed. Back then it hardly registered on people’s holiday radar. Mexico appeared in half a dozen of the ads and the Cape Verde Islands were nowhere to be seen. British Midland advertised Bergen in Norway for £239 return whereas today with low-cost flights you would pay half of that. Chamonix – for a week’s skiing in late March on a half-board basis was available for £398.

Thomson Holidays were offering a special from Birmingham to Cyprus in early June 1997 for£ 263 for a three star self-catering holiday whilst their most expensive was £860 per person for a 14 night full-board holiday at the 4* Polycarpia hotel in July just before the summer holidays began. Kuoni offered Bali for 12 nights in, what it called, a medium class hotel with no meals for £599. Thomas Cook weren’t advertising in that issue.

It is the price of long-haul holidays and flights that you really notice the difference. Australia was £498 return, roughly what I was paying twenty-years earlier so inflation would have made that much cheaper. Today the price would be closer to £799. New York at £184 would be nearer double that even in the sales.


Air Passenger Duty – APD – that tax that has jumped for just a few pounds to over £80 in the last twenty years for long-haul flights. But has it deterred us from flying or just made it more expensive?

If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.