With the post-Brexit slump in the pound, the popularity of the staycation has skyrocketed. The Association of British Travel Agents’ (ABTA) Travel Trends Report 2017 reveals that domestic vacations in the UK rose to 71% in 2016 – up from 64% in 2015. What was once overlooked in favour of sun-soaked weeks in the Mediterranean has now been elevated to prime summer holiday status. The weaker pound makes going abroad prohibitively expensive for some Brits and so many are choosing to holiday on their own doorstep instead. And as the pound is much less valuable than it used to be, having fallen 13% against the U.S. dollar and 11% against the euro since the EU referendum, it makes more financial sense to use it where it can be stretched the most – at home.
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The average European holiday for a family of four costs an extra £245 now compared to before the Brexit vote, according to research by price comparison website TravelSupermarket and this is a trend that looks set to continue into next year. After a turbulent 2016 and the resultant unpredictable political landscape, once popular destinations among UK holidaymakers such as Turkey and Egypt now look much less safe than they did in the past and so, there has been a shift away from those areas. But with so many people choosing a staycation instead, higher demand leads to higher prices in the UK – which is good for the UK economy, but not so good for Brits themselves wishing to holiday at home.
Research by Sojern, a travel marketing group found that there was a 23.8% rise in British holidaymakers planning UK stays for summer 2017, based on searches and bookings made between October 2016 and January 2017 to depart from June to August 2017. The data also indicated that over half of staycationers are planning a break of three days or less – up 8.8% from last year.
So what advantages does a holiday in your own country have over jetting off to a far flung destination, bar the price? The UK is spoiled for choice with incredible scenery, from Cornwall and the Lake District to the highlands and islands of Scotland, and some of it is within just a mere hour or two’s drive. Logistically, it’s an easy holiday – there are no cultural or language barriers to worry about and the public transport system is already comfortingly familiar. There’s also no need to use precious annual leave days to cover a long haul journey and accommodation is likely to feel like a home from home, with familiar home comforts.
Beach and countryside holidays are growing in popularity and are helped by the rise of glamping and Airbnb. Most major UK cities and towns offer a myriad of things to do; from traditional historical buildings, multiplex shopping centres with cinemas and bowling alleys to theme parks such as Alton Towers and Thorpe Park which can provide a full day’s entertainment for all ages.
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First time solo travellers may favour a staycation as it’s an easy introduction to travelling alone, whether it’s a spa break or weekend exploring a new city. The solo traveller who is on a limited budget will benefit from avoiding expensive cabin baggage fees. Bus and rail tickets across the UK can be relatively inexpensive compared to travelling overseas if you book in advance. Even exploring your own city for a day can be considered a staycation – perhaps a trip to a museum or exhibition combined with scouting out a new restaurant or café, and taking a wander through a shopping area you don’t normally frequent – a staycation is what you make it.