Thousands of Nigerians who enjoy the yearly summer holiday abroad (in July, August and September) have been priced out of the eventful rendezvous as airfares soar and the Naira crashes to unbelievable figures following the introduction of the new forex regime.
With the sluggish economy and exchange rate at over N290 to the dollar from N197, airfares have almost doubled to Europe, Canada and the United States of America, leaving many middle class families confused. And with forex inaccessible at the official price of N290 to the dollar, N317 to the euro and N384 to the pound, choosing the black market is frustrating. There, the dollar exchanges for N360-N365, euro is N375-398 and pounds, N471-N485, threatening to rise further in the next few days.
Trips which cost about N2 million for a family of four just a year ago are nearer N3.5 million, with many moaning and struggling to find alternatives for restive children and wary adults.
Today, father, mother and two children planning a trip to Europe, Canada or the United States of America, from tickets, accommodation, feeding, transportation, treats and shopping, need well over N3.5 million for minimal enjoyment, avoiding frills and lavish treats or extravagance.
Tickets to any destination in Europe hovers around $1,500 for economy. And for four people, that’s $6,000 (around N1,740,000 at the official rate of N290). To get the bargain of $1,500 per head, you would have done your booking many months back.
For Canada and the United States, you are spending far higher than $1,500 per person.
To accommodate a family of four in the choice destination of London (United Kingdom), you will need more than £500 per week for a decent apartment, and you would have done your reservation months ago. For four weeks, that is £2,000 (around N768,000).
For hotels, you would be lucky to get a manageable studio apartment for £100 per day. And in 30 days, that is all of £3,000 (N1,152,000).
Since you are on a shoestring budget, your family has to manage two meals per day – and at £20, you can only eat basic stuff. At £600 (N230,400), everyone would lose some weight by the time you return.
If you can cook in the premises, you can pick and choose, and be creative and inventive with treats and gourmet meals, at the same cost of £600. But you have to master the game well, know supermarkets with interesting and cheaper deals, local markets offering unbelievable choices at rock bottom prices.
You also need to move around, shop, see interesting monuments and places. What’s the object of going for summer if you would be indoors? So, to move around, you will need £500 (N192,000) for four people in a month.
If you rent a car, you will spend more because apart from the rental fee, you have to fuel it – and petrol or diesel cost an arm and a leg abroad.
To gain entrance to most tourist attractions requires money. So, if you budget £200 (N76,800) to enjoy monuments and important landmarks, you will enjoy just a few.
One of the highlights of a summer holiday is the clothes and accessories you are bringing back. If you allocate £250 per person, at £1,000 (N384,000), you can barely keep everyone smiling. They can stock up on clothes, shoes, underwear and other essential items not readily affordable in Nigeria.
At the end of your trip, you would have spent the following on the listed items:
- Tickets – N1,740,000
- Accommodation – N768,000
- Feeding – N230,400
- Transportation – N192,000
- Treats – N76,800
- Shopping – N384,000
Total = N3,391,200
These figures excludes many other miscellaneous expenses such as airport taxis, treats at restaurants and many more.
If your destination is Canada or the United States of America, you need far more than the N3.391 million. In fact, you need far more than N4 million to keep your family smiling and happy.
And if you fly premium economy, business class or first class, be ready to break the bank as your bills will more than double!