The beginning of the year is the time where so many of us start to plan our holidays and breaks away for the year ahead… annual leave balances are looking rosy and the thought of having to go back to work after Christmas break pains so many of us that you feel like you need something to look forward to… well to get you through January at least!
So this month we decided to ask the UKMB community for their contributions towards ways to save money on your next UK staycation as well as sharing with you their own hints, tips and personal experiences on why they think a staycation is the next best thing!
a UK Staycation
Whether it’s due to affordability, the uncertainty of what effect Brexit will have on travelling to the EU; you may even be scared of flying…. British tourism is booming due to people deciding to stay in the U.K. instead of going abroad.
Faith from Much More with Less says that a UK staycation has the big benefit that you don’t have to fork out for passports.
For a family of four, it costs a hefty £287 to get U.K passports when applying with a paper form or £249 when applying online – and that can rocket if you need passports in a hurry! Stay in the UK, and that’s a nice chunk of spending money!
Book for anywhere in the UK, The Complaining Cow says, and you can avoid any Brexit nonsense about said passports you’ve just forked out a ridiculous amount for, nor do you have to worry about EHIC cards, border controls, delays, compensation for delayed flights etc! Nice easy UK consumer law applies too! Mainly Consumer Rights Act 2015 entitles you to services to be carried out with reasonable skill and care!
We have so many lovely places in the U.K…. some might say do we really need to go elsewhere??
Naomi at Skintdad quite rightly pointed out though that staycations are not always cheaper and some U.K. destinations can charge as much as a holiday abroad! We also can’t rely on the weather being fantastic so ensure you plan and look for somewhere that have all-weather activities THEN look for the accommodation which is a great tip.
Cheap camping holidays
Camping is a big thing in the UK now… Claire at Daily Deals is one of many who has chosen to revert back to camping as of last summer. She purchased a really good tent and all the gear for a fraction of the price of a normal holiday abroad and they now have it for life! She can get away as a family of 6 for £20 per night and choose a different UK staycation each time! There is also the added bonus of having a really affordable getaway in the summer holidays as the prices don’t hike!
The lack of having a base I find tends to worry so many when it comes to camping through; where do I shower, where do I store all my stuff, what do we eat. Well here’s one for you… Emma at The Money Whisperer says get an in car fridge! They are BRILLIANT for taking picnics out and days out and would be great for camping. You can make some huge savings on food and cold drinks if you can just dive in to the boot rather than having to eat out.
Touring caravan sites
Michelle at Time and Pence is someone who hasn’t actually been abroad for nearly 10 years… and says she doesn’t miss it one bit! She chose to invest in an old caravan, spent a little money on bringing it up to date and absolutely loves it! It saves a fortune in holidays and she find they end up having more holidays than every before… which can only be a good thing! Why not take a look at some cheap caravans, you’ll may be surprised at what you can find!
Uk attractions for families
One other thing that could possibly increase the cost of a UK staycation to a similar price if not more than a holiday abroad, could be the things you choose to get up to during the day/evenings etc to keep everyone occupied. There are ton’s of walks, bicycle tracks, forests to explore (for free!) but what if you’re not the nature type or you’ve done all that for the past 4 days straight and you want something different? Or what if the weather has taken a turn for the worse and you just want to be indoor, dry and warm?
Like Naomi has already touched on, you should always research the area and resort so you have a backup plan as the weather in the UK can be so unpredictable. Victoria at lyliarose.com says that she had a staycation to a holiday park in Cornwall hoping to be at the beach all day every day, but it poured it down with rain the entire week and they had no facilities for her young children! She spent a fortune travelling around and paying entry fees to entertain them so this year they’ve chosen a holiday park with play parks, soft play and an indoor swimming pool, so no matter what the weather, the kids have plenty to do!
Jennifer at My Mummys Pennies combines her ‘staycations’ with an annual pass for days out. Last year she booked a couple of nights away and decided to buy a Merlin annual pass. She managed to fit 6 fun filled days days out into their staycation including Warwick Castle, National Sealife Centre, LEGOLAND, Chessington and Thorpe Park, Shrek’s Adventure, Madame Tussaud’s and the London Eye. It worked out much cheaper than a holiday abroad and we then had the passes to use on ad hoc days out for the next 12 months!
Cornwall is another place filled with amazing National Trust places to visit, so one year she chose to book a week in a caravan & paid for a years NT membership! Lynn at Mrs Mummy Penny is more than happy with the free beach though! Beach = happy children. Just £3 parking and a picnic for lunch… bargain!
Jane at Skinted Minted Mum I think is in agreement! She says that it’s always good to go away with friends and their kids so at least there’s people to play with if the weather isn’t great. She says that Cornwall can also be good in October as the sea is still warm and there is slightly less rain and finds that the surf is actually better when the weather is not so good. As long as you’ve got a wetsuit!
Another way to save on UK attractions is that you can save up Tesco vouchers and exchange them for Clubcard rewards. Eileen at Your Money Sorted uses them for visiting attractions and eating out, which means she can have a fantastic, action packed holiday, without spending a fortune!
Nick at Pounds and Sense tells us that in his opinion no UK staycation is complete without a day out on one of the UK’s many wonderful heritage steam railways. Even if the romance of steam leaves you cold, there is so much to see and learn about our country’s industrial and social history. Plus on your trip you will get to see some of Britain’s most beautiful, unspoiled countryside, along with lakes, rivers, mountains and more. You will also be able to disembark at charmingly preserved stations (maintained by volunteers) and go on invigorating FREE country walks too!
Save on UK accommodation
Try staying with friends and family. Charlotte at lookingafteryourpennies.com says even if you can’t stay in their home you’ll be able to settle for cheaper accommodation if you are planning on spending plenty of time with them.
Joleisa.com say do a house swap! Although she isn’t brave enough to swap with total strangers yet.. friends are fine! First, they exchange spending a weekend with a friend and her family so they get to know what the house is like and where things are etc. Then over the summer they totally take over the other person’s house and neighbourhood for a whole week!
Airbnb is a good way to find less expensive accommodation; you can find some lovely places to stay much cheaper than a hotel if you’re going for a few nights or more says Hayley at Miss Many Pennies. She recently stayed in a beautiful house of which the owner was a chef and cooked the most amazing breakfast! For families you can also find caravans in holiday parks being rented through Airbnb – worth looking as sometimes cheaper than booking direct!
Kirsty at themoneysavingmum.com recommends booking your accommodation as early as possible in order to get the best price. The closer you leave it to book, in addition to missing out because they may well get full pretty quickly, the more expensive the rooms will be. She also suggest to stick with the cheapest hotel you can find… you won’t be in a hotel to admire the decor, or check out the spa when you have the the likes of South Wales, Devon or Dorset outside your front door. As long as it’s clean and fit for purpose don’t splash out on your accommodation & spend that money elsewhere (you could even stay for longer.. for cheaper!)
Holidays with dogs
One of the best things about having a holiday in Britain is being able to take your dog. Sara over at the Debt Camel says do your research before hand and you will find increasing numbers of dog friendly holiday parks plus pubs, restaurants, beaches and other places to visit.
Do I need travel insurance if I’m holidaying in the UK?
Don’t overlook travel insurance for your staycation says Kara at Your Best Friends Guide to Cash
Did you know that cancellations, accidents or illnesses on holiday within the UK can cost just as much as a trip to Spain, yet stay-at-home holidaymakers are three times more likely to risk going away without insurance than those travelling to Europe, according to research by Co-op Insurance. For that reason, it’s important that despite not ‘jetting off’ on holiday, people consider what insurance cover they might need while vacationing closer to home. As a bonus, buy through Comparethemarket.com and you’ll qualify for Meerkat Movies – 2-for-1 cinema tickets every Tuesday or Wednesday for the entire year.