Forgetful Britons Spend £1 Billion Pounds Replacing Holiday Essentials Left at Home

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Research shows British holiday makers spend a staggering amount on forgotten summer essentials.

  •     Britons rate their camera as their top holiday essential
  •     More than two-thirds of Britons forgot at least one essential item when packing for last year's holiday
  •     Britons spend an average of £39 on substitute essentials

Forgetful British holidaymakers spend an astonishing £1 billion pounds replacing essential items that they've left at home, new research by Abbey Credit Cards has revealed(1).

Britons rate their camera as their top summer holiday essential, with 31 million Britons(2) (65 per cent) saying they couldn't do without it on holiday, closely followed by sunglasses (56 per cent) and swimwear (47 per cent). Other holiday essentials that make the nation's 'top 10' include books (43 per cent), a credit card (39 per cent) and a mobile phone/Blackberry (35 per cent).

While cameras and swimwear may top the 'holiday essentials' list, however, they were also the top two items accidentally left at home by British holidaymakers last year. More than two thirds of Britons (65 per cent) forgot to pack at least one of their essential items last summer, with the cost of replacing such items averaging £39 and rising to £50 for those aged between 18 and 34 and £51 for those from London.

The research also found that beauty products are a key holiday essential for many women (39 per cent), alongside hairdryer/straighteners (36 per cent), but they don't make the overall 'top 10' because unsurprisingly only five and six per cent of men respectively deem them holiday essentials.

Teabags are a favourite for both sexes, however, with 21 per cent of women and 15 per cent of men considering them an essential item for their break away.

Callum Gibson, Head of Credit Cards at Abbey, said: "Holiday packing often falls to the last minute because of more pressing pre-holiday tasks, making it only too easy to inadvertently leave essential items at home. With British holidaymakers forking out the astonishing sum of £1 billion pounds replacing such items, however, we should maybe all just take a few extra minutes this summer to ensure we've packed everything we need before setting off for the airport.

"Four out of ten Britons view their credit card as an essential holiday item but it's important to use a card on holiday abroad that doesn't charge an exchange fee for converting transactions made in foreign currencies. As the only card on the market with no foreign exchange fee anywhere in the world and no cash advance fee, the award-winning Abbey Zero credit card has been designed to make holiday spending less expensive."

Recent research by Abbey Credit Cards(3) found that Britons holidaying abroad this summer are on course to pay out more than £73 million pounds in unnecessary foreign exchange fees.

Features of the new Abbey Zero include:

  •     The only card on the market with no foreign exchange fee and no cash advance fee
  •     Zero per cent on balance transfers for 12 months and purchases for three months
  •     Available in branch, by calling 0800 032 4265 or visiting

Abbey, Alliance & Leicester (A&L) and Bradford & Bingley Savings (B&B) will all become known as Santander by the end of 2010. Abbey and B&B Savings will be rebranded from the first quarter of 2010 and A&L will follow later in the year. The move will deliver a significant advantage for customers as they will be able to use any of 1,000 Santander branches from early 2010, rising to 1,300 by the end of 2010.

The information contained in our press releases is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions

Notes to Editors
(1) Opinium Research carried out a poll of 2,000 British adults from Friday 1 May to Tuesday 5 May 2009.
(2) Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria, based on a total UK population of 48,772,000.
(3) Research was conducted by Opinium Research in a poll of 2,000 British adults in May 2009.

A fee of 3 per cent (minimum £5) applies to balance transfers. Zero has an ongoing purchase APR of 18.9 per cent.

About Us
Santander (SAN.MC, STD.N) is a retail and commercial bank, based in Spain, with operations in more than 40 countries. At the end of 2008, Santander was the largest bank in the euro zone by market capitalization and third in the world by profit. Founded in 1857, Santander had EUR 1,168 billion in managed funds at the end of 2008. Following the acquisition of Sovereign Bancorp of the U.S. in January 2009, Santander has 90 million customers, more than 14,000 branches - more than any other international bank - and over 180,000 employees. It is the largest financial group in Spain and Latin America, with leading positions in the United Kingdom and Portugal and a broad presence in Europe through its Santander Consumer Finance arm. In 2008, Santander registered €8,876 million in net attributable profit, an increase of 9% from the previous year excluding capital gains.

In the UK, Santander operates three retail businesses - Abbey, Alliance & Leicester and the savings business of Bradford & Bingley. Together they have over 1300 branches, around 4,500 cash machines and they provide a full range of retail and corporate banking services to 24 million customers.

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Siobhan O'Shea        Tel: 020 7756 4189    
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Triston Robinson
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