When it comes to planning the perfect escape, bagging the best deal is more important than the destination for today’s crunch conscious Brits, according to research released today.

The research from Greenbee – the financial and leisure services arm of the John Lewis Partnership – has revealed that one in five (20%) of Brits spend more than eight hours trawling the net in an effort to get the cheapest deal, compared to finding the perfect holiday destination (17%), reading fellow travellers’ reviews (8%) or pre-holiday shopping (8%). However with an additional 14% committing a whole day to researching prices for flights and accommodation, this means more than a third (34%) of British holidaymakers are devoted to booking themselves a bargain break.

However, while 17% of those surveyed rated the state of sterling as a key holiday concern, surprisingly this has done little to prompt would-be holidaymakers to put more time into researching and arranging currencies. Almost a fifth (19%) doesn’t sort out their holiday currency in advance, with a third (33%) allocating only 30 minutes to the task.

In addition, when it comes to time spent on holiday preparations, travel insurance appears low down on the check list. More than half (54%) spend as little as 30 minutes, or even less, arranging travel insurance – potentially proving costly for those looking to embark on a winter break.

Key regional findings:

> Almost a quarter of Scots (24%) don’t research exchange rates before going on holiday.

> One in 10 Midlanders and Northerners spend more than eight hours shopping for new holiday items; double that of those in Wales & South West (4%).

> Scottish travellers are prepared to go with the flow with a quarter (25%) saying they don’t bother planning their holiday itinerary, compared to 13% of people in North England who spend more than eight hours deciding what to do.

> Those in Wales & South West are least likely to be influenced by others’ opinions – a fifth (20%) don’t read holiday or guide book reviews before booking a break.

With finances front of mind for many, it’s understandable that getting the best possible deal is a key concern. However the quick and easy route isn’t necessarily the right one. A little more time spent arranging currency before arriving at the airport could potentially provide travellers with more holiday funds.

Travel insurance, and having the appropriate cover, should also be seen as an essential part of the holiday check list. Those who fall ill or are injured on holiday can quickly discover how expensive overseas medical treatment can be and find out the hard way that buying travel insurance on price alone, or indeed not at all, can leave you with a financial holiday hangover.”