ABTA estimates that over two million British holidaymakers are set to head overseas for summer holidays this weekend, which for the majority of schools in England and Wales marks the start of the summer break with Friday 19 July the busiest day of the weekend.
Summer temperatures around the Mediterranean hotspots popular with families are set to hit the 30s with guaranteed sunshine.
Spain remains the number one destination for families but ABTA members are also reporting strong demand for Bulgaria, Croatia, Turkey and Morocco while families looking for a last minute deal should head to the Greek islands, the Canaries and the Amalfi coast. Long haul, Florida and Dubai are leading the way.
Overseas city breaks are always popular at this time of year for families looking to experience different cultures, cuisine and architecture. European cities are leading the way, in particular Amsterdam, Barcelona, Budapest and Rome.
Domestic holidays are expected to be popular too this summer, with travel agents and tour operators reporting strong interest in the West Country, Norfolk and Suffolk and seaside resorts such as Blackpool and Bournemouth.
Airports in the South East are expecting a very busy weekend with hundreds of thousands passengers expected to depart from Heathrow and Gatwick, 150,000 from Stansted, 95,000 from Luton and over 12,000 from Southend.
160,000 are due to depart from Manchester airport and although the Scottish schools are well into their summer holidays, hundreds of thousands will still be leaving from Scottish airports with over 77,000 from Edinburgh alone.
Other regional airports, ports and the channel tunnel will also be extremely busy over the weekend with hundreds of thousands leaving the country.
Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive, said: “Thousands of families will be jetting off this weekend as the majority of schools in the UK start their summer break. Good temperatures and sunshine are guaranteed at all our favourite hotspots around the Mediterranean and ABTA advice is to slap on the sun cream and copy the locals by heading for a long, leisurely lunch when the sun is at its strongest.
“The roads in the UK will be very busy and families should leave extra time to get to their departure ports and if using public transport, check in advance for any engineering work.”