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Spain and France more expensive for driving holidays

For Britons looking to take a driving holiday on mainland Europe, rises in fuel costs mean that this year could end up being considerably more expensive than before.

The latest survey by Post Office Travel Money reveals that petrol costs have risen in over half of the 18 countries surveyed when compared with the previous year.

The highest increases were seen in Spain, where unemployment is at record levels and the economy continues to struggle in its attempts to recover from the ongoing Eurozone crisis.

Increases of 7.4% in petrol costs are the highest in the Eurozone and are likely to deter some holidaymakers from taking driving tours this year, adding extra stress to the all-important tourism industry in the Mediterranean country.

This could be particularly important as another Post Office survey last month by the research group Populus found that the country was the second most popular driving holiday destination among British holidaymakers.

Andrew Brown, a spokesperson from Post Office Travel Money, said: “It may not make sense for holidaymakers to plan big detours just to save a few pounds, but the higher price of motoring on the Continent this year means they should plan their routes carefully before setting out so they keep costs down."

Depending on where you choose to fill up, fuel can have a significant impact on the overall cost, with supermarkets being considerably cheaper than motorway services.

“One of the ways in which holiday motorists can keep fuel costs to a minimum is to detour off the motorways to fill up at a supermarket,” said Mr Brown.

“Just like in the UK, these can be the cheapest places to buy fuel, whereas motorists are likely to find the highest prices on the main roads,” he concluded.

France is the most popular driving destination among Britons, and fuel costs there are even higher than in Spain, with a litre costing on average £1.56 as opposed to £1.30.

Keep holiday costs to a minimum by taking a travel money card that you have loaded with currency at home. This can help you stick to a set budget overseas.