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More than half of holiday arguments between friends stem from disagreements over money - with 16% having lost a friend for good

27th June 2024

Thursday 27th June: Half (51%) of UK adults say that they have fallen out with a friend on holiday, with 54% of arguments triggered by disagreements about money, rising to 71% of 18-24 year olds. A sixth (16%) have even permanently lost a friend over money related holiday fall-outs, according to new research from Starling Bank.

Three quarters (75%) of people who have holidayed with friends admit to overspending while away with their mates - by an average of £261.50. Despite nearly two thirds (61%) of those surveyed worrying about overspending, one in ten (12%) ended up exceeding their budgets due to pressure to keep up with their more high-flying friends.

The research found that half (50%) of people avoid going on holiday with certain friends, with a third (32%) of those saying they know they can’t keep up with their lavish holiday spending.

Among those who overspend, many admit to underestimating the cost of various aspects of their trip. Nearly half (46%) went on excursions or took part in activities they hadn’t accounted for, while three in ten (29%) said that food and drinks were more expensive than planned.

Half (50%) of those surveyed did not create a budget before their last trip with friends, leaving nearly two in five (37%) wishing they had. Similarly, 50% didn’t talk to their friends about budgets, leading to 13% of those who didn’t set or talk about money with mates in advance, feeling guilty for not being able to spend as much money as their friends on the holiday. This overspending had a knock-on effect on the financial situations of 17% when they got home. 

Among those who had spoken to their friends about budgets ahead of time, more than a quarter (28%) said that it made their holiday much less stressful having laid out their cards on the table, with more than a fifth (22%) saying it helped to set clear expectations of the trip. One in ten (13%) of those surveyed added that being transparent about their finances also improved their friendships.

Commenting on the research, clinical psychologist Dr. Jenna Vyas-Lee of Kove said, “There are a multitude of reasons why we overspend when it comes to holidays with friends, one of which stems from social comparison theory. This manifests in a desire to match your friends’ spending to avoid feeling inferior or left out. We’re all also familiar with FOMO, which can also drive us to spend more than anticipated.”

Dr. Vyas-Lee added, “However, overspending can have a serious impact on both your friendships and your bank balance. In the short term, this can lead to feelings of increased stress and anxiety, as well as guilt and resentment towards those who can’t afford to spend as much. In the longer term, this financial strain can have a permanent and damaging effect on your friendships, with many losing friends altogether or avoiding future holidays with friends. It’s also crucial to consider the impact on your financial health and how this can impact stress and socialising opportunities long term.”

Commenting on the research, personal finance expert Rachel Kerrone said, “It’s never nice to argue with friends, least of all when you should be enjoying time together on holiday. To avoid those tricky situations I’d suggest having an open conversation with your friends about your budget for the holiday, to avoid any awkwardness or tensions that could arise while you’re on the trip. It’s not a bad idea to do your due diligence on what different parts of your holiday are likely to cost you, which you can check using our handy travel budgeting tool

Notes to editors

Based on research conducted with Mortar London between 18th and 19th June 2024, amongst 2,023 UK adults who have been on holiday with friends in the last five years.

Among those who overspent on holiday with friends, the reasons for doing so were:

  • 46% - Unplanned activities and excursions which weren’t accounted for

  • 29% - Food and drinks being more expensive than expected

  • 27% - Friends wanting to do more expensive activities and excursions that I didn’t want to miss 

  • 21% - The activities and excursions that were planned for being more expensive than anticipated

  • 20% - Making a lot of impulse purchases 

  • 15% - Transport being more expensive than expected

  • 13% - Friends wanting to go to more expensive restaurants and/or bars and not wanting to miss out

  • 12% - Feeling pressure to keep up with friends spending habits 

  • 10% - Not planning a budget properly 

  • 8% - Not accounting for airport spending

Amongst those who overspent on holiday with friends, the top things they spent on were:

  • 65% - Going out for meals 

  • 42% - Going to bars 

  • 35% - Booking excursions 

  • 18% - Shows/events/entertainment 

  • 12% - Spa treatments or massages 

  • 10% - Going to pool parties 

  • 9% - Sports or activities 

  • 9% - Accommodation upgrades

  • 7% - Renting beach or pool tables

About Starling Bank

Starling Bank is an award-winning, fully-licensed and regulated bank built to give people a fairer, smarter and more human alternative to the banks of the past. It offers personal, business and joint current accounts alongside a children’s card. Starling also provides a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) proposition through its subsidiary Engine, using the proprietary technology platform that it uses to power its own bank. The Starling Marketplace offers customers in-app access to a selection of third party financial services. Headquartered in London, the bank has offices in Southampton and Cardiff.

Contact details:

Priyanka Loomba
+44 7531650633

Katie Murray 
+44 7595251580

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