Finally, we’re starting to feel the warmth of the sun, and the hope that comes with the spring! I’m not sure about you, but it all makes me look ahead excitedly to the summer holidays already. With Europe on our doorstep, a generally favourable exchange rate and a seemingly unlimited supply of stunning destinations, the natural tendency is to hot foot it out of here when school is out and take the family to the continent for as much of the break as possible. Yet it was interesting to read a recent article highlighting the growing trend of Brits increasingly starting to favour ‘staycations’, and spending their downtime within the confines of the Isles. In fact, 70% of us took at least one holiday here last year, an increase on the 68% in 2014. In fact, this figure even eclipsed that of overseas travel, with just 65% of us heading to Europe or abroad elsewhere last year.
There are a number of reasons said to be behind this, with some pointing out that we as a nation are starting to lean towards shorter and more frequent breaks, thus making staycations a more convenient option. Another one of course is the extortionate prices airlines tend to charge during school holidays, which makes travel as a family a difficult financial proposition.
The beauty of the UK
The weather isn’t exactly something you can always bank on, but a lot of us are often entirely unaware of the splendour and variety of beautiful holiday destinations here in Britain. The beaches in Cornwall can compete with the best of them, while if you’re into walking there are few more spectacular trails to blaze than places like Snowdonia, the Peak District or Northumberland.
Then there is the rugged beauty in Scotland, which offers everything from skiing, to mystical moors, to the quite breath-taking Isle of Skye. Then for those with a taste for outdoors, there is no shortage of world-class caravanning, camping and glamping grounds around the UK. In addition Kent, or the Garden of England, was actually named Europe’s top family holiday destination in 2015 by Lonely Planet. Otherwise if the White Cliffs of Dover aren’t for you, you and the family can always skydive in Devon, scuba dive in Plymouth, visit the enriching historical sites and architecture our homeland has to offer, or make it a summer of music, theatre or even book festivals.
Going abroad on a budget
Hopefully you’re compelled to now take advantage of all that the UK has to offer, and include a staycation as part of your family holiday plans. But that need not exclude a trip abroad of course. The key is to do it thriftily. With flights, there’s the so-called Easy Jet trick, whereby you book a flexi flight just outside of school holidays (ie: when it is cheaper), and then switch the dates free of charge once prices start going through the roof for July or August.
Then of course there are tricks like getting a specialist overseas spending card, ensuring that any card transactions abroad are charged only in the local currency (to avoid unfavourable conversions), choosing credit cards which offer free travel insurance as a perk, booking via (usually cheaper) ethnic travel agents, and many others.
Such cost-cutting measures should hopefully go a long way to keeping the budget down for your travels, although Brits are increasingly using finance to fund their trips abroad. Many will add it onto their mortgage, although a recent survey suggests that holidays are the second-most popular reason for people taking out personal loans. There’s nothing wrong with this, although the key is to show a bit of savvy when selecting your lender. Many smaller online loan providers offer lower rates on personal loans than the banks, and with more flexible repayment plans. So if a loan is something you need, be sure to choose wisely so that you don’t end up worrying about debt when you’re meant to be relaxing on holiday.
You can’t go wrong!
Sometimes we forget how spoiled for choice we are, and whether it’s home or abroad, it’s great to have such an appealing set of options for our holiday travels. And with the summer rapidly approaching, the fun of planning and deciding where to go begins in earnest. May it be a time full of fun and laughter for you and the family!
Image courtesy of Gualberto107 | Free Digital photos
This post has been written for Serenity You