British holidaymakers are cashing in on the falling value of the Euro by avoiding traditional travel agents and going straight to owners of villas and apartments.
A study by the Mail on Sunday found that a family of four could save up to £540 by booking a European holiday direct with villa or apartment owners rather than from a brochure.
The savings come because travel agents' prices were fixed last summer. But since then the Euro has fallen 13 per cent against the pound amid fears of a Greek exit from the single currency.
The situation is good news for parents who can't afford to take their children on holiday without taking them out of school during term-time – a move that would see them being fined £60 per child.
Travel Supermarket's Bob Atkinson told the paper: "Britons can get exceptional savings on DIY holidays in Europe due to the strength of the pound versus the euro."
Thomson and First Choice confirmed that short-term currency fluctuations have little effect on their package prices.
But Noel Josephides, chairman of industry body Abta, warned DIY holidaymakers 'often have to pay locally, and the exchange rate when they book may be different from when they travel'.
Holidaymakers are also gambling on the strong pound by snapping up currency now, ahead of summer breaks.
Demand for euros at Debenhams bureaux de change is almost double what it was this time last year.