The true cost of ignoring NHS sun-cream guidelines


  • A stifling 91% of holidaymakers don’t pack enough sun lotion for their holiday
  • The NHS recommends four bottles per adult for a seven-night getaway
  • Buying sunscreen in the UK is a money-saving holiday hack
  • Brits are paying three times UK prices in the most popular European destinations

The sun is burning a hole in the pockets of up to 25% of British holidaymakers who opt out of buying sun cream before take-off. A recent survey of 2000 people by online travel retailer Holiday Hypermarket also highlighted the fact that 44% take just one bottle per adult – that’s three fewer than NHS guidelines.

With an average price of £4.50 per 200ml of branded factor-15 sun cream, Britain is one of Europe’s most cheapest countries to buy sunscreen, as reported in the Post Office Holiday Costs Barometer***.

Despite the NHS advising people to apply two tablespoons of sun lotion five times a day – the equivalent of four bottles per adult based on a seven-night holiday – more than 90% of survey respondents admitted to only taking two or fewer bottles.

When families of four don’t stock up on sun protection before departing the UK, collectively, hefty price tags for the same product abroad can mean they end up spending an extra £100 or more to top up.

Comparing the cost of buying abroad

Bearing in mind the prices below reflect the average cost of just one 200ml bottle of branded SPF15 sunscreen per adult, for every £4.50 spent in the UK, Brits spend £12.28 in Alicante, £12.71 in Limassol, £13.15 in Halkidiki and Majorca and a scorching £17.45 in Ibiza. 

Therefore, when two adults buy the recommended eight bottles for a week’s holiday, they could end up splurging up to £98.24 in Alicante, £101.68 in Limassol, £105.20 in Halkidiki and Majorca and £139.60 in Ibiza.

The table below shows the average cost of sun lotion in package holiday destinations across Europe, plus the extra cost of buying eight bottles in that destination compared to the UK.

Location One bottle: average cost for 200ml
SPF15 branded sunscreen
Eight bottles: total cost of buying at holiday destination Eight bottles: difference in cost compared to buying in UK
UK £4.50 £36 n/a
IBIZA, Spain £17.45 £139.60 £103.60
HALKIDIKI, Greece £13.15 £105.20 £69.20
MAJORCA, Spain £13.15 £105.20 £69.20
LIMASSOL, Cyprus £12.71 £101.68 £65.68
ALICANTE, Spain £12.28 £98.24 £62.24
BENIDORM, Spain £11.93 £95.44 £59.44
SLIEMA, Malta £11.51 £92.08 £56.08
ZADAR, Croatia £9.23 £73.84 £37.84
POREC, Croatia £7.29 £58.32 £22.32
LISBON COAST, Portugal £7.02 £56.16 £20.16
MARMARIS, Turkey £6.67 £53.36 £17.36
CORFU, Greece £6.31 £50.48 £14.48
PAPHOS, Cyprus £6.25 £50.00 £14.00
CRETE, Greece £6.14 £49.12 £13.12
TORREMOLINOS, Spain £4.82 £38.56 £2.56
ALGARVE, Portugal £3.94 £31.52 -£4.48
SUNNY BEACH, Bulgaria £2.34 £18.72 -£17.28

Craig Duncan of Holiday Hypermarket says: ‘Cost is one of the most important considerations for any holiday, yet Brits are underestimating the amount of sun cream they need and then wasting hundreds by stocking up abroad.

‘A British family can spend an eye-watering £200 to buy extra lotion for a two week holiday in Ibiza. That could easily cover a few delicious family meals, a room upgrade or new holiday clothes.

‘Buying enough sun cream at a supermarket in the UK is one of the most effective money-saving holiday hacks there is!’

Check out the awesome infographic below, which illustrates the research conducted by Holiday Hypermarket: