With the pound having taken a big hit in recent months, it’s not hard to see how the temptation to choose to stay put in the UK rather than go abroad is growing.
We look at the factors – cost and otherwise – and try to work out which is best.
Hotels and location
GO – It often doesn’t just depend on where you go, but when you go. Whether you stay or go, school holidays are always likely to be more expensive. Costs vary from country to country, and the pound doesn’t go as far as it did a year ago. Popular western Mediterranean islands like Mallorca and Ibiza are also becoming premium destinations now, with good hotel rooms hard to come by, as security fears make many holidaymakers avoid certain hotspots that are now considered to be danger zones. Bookings to Portugal and Spain are respectively up 23% and 22% since last year.
STAY – Hotel prices in the UK are often higher than a comparable hotel abroad – there are fewer of them, plus there’s competition from overseas visitors and businessmen. In addition, the sunny days are so infrequent that when it does look as though it’s going to be sunny, competition for rooms is high. But Devon, Cornwall and the Channel Islands are particularly popular right now, with ‘strong sales’ reported.
How to travel
GO – While many flights abroad can look really cheap, there are often hidden costs that you won’t find if you stay at ground level – extra charges for baggage, preferred seat, cancellation, priority boarding for example. However, if you choose a more leisurely trip over land or sea, you can usually take much more luggage for no added cost.
STAY – If you’re staying in the UK and you don’t want to drive, bear in mind trains can be really expensive too. However, if you get advance ‘exact train’ tickets (just as you would with a plane) – and even better, get them with railcards if you’re travelling with family or friends – it can save you a lot of money.
GO – Most of us, when we choose a summer holiday destination, have a clear confidence that if nothing else, the weather should be what we want it to be. Not a lot of cost risk there. However there could be the cost of daily use of private beaches, parasols, sunbeds, endless cold drinks and so on to think about.
STAY – You’re taking your chances when you book a week in, say, the Isle Of Wight in August – it could go either way! However, the traditional British holiday resort has had a makeover in recent years, and a recent survey found that more than half of all Britons were planning a seaside break this summer. If the weather holds, the British countryside and coastline can be beautiful – and if you’re familiar with how to get around, you’re arguably less likely to spend too much.
Food and drink
GO – According to a cost of living index, an average meal for two in England costs £50, which is almost double that in Spain (£26) and higher than France and Italy (£41).It’s also fair to assume that eating out and experiencing the food could be a major part of the attraction of being abroad. A pint of beer generally costs much more in the UK than overseas.
STAY – For many of us, when we’re abroad we do tend to spend more on eating out, though many people will be in half or full-board accommodation which also saves money. Staying in the UK is likely to be something close to normal life, with supermarkets, familiar restaurants and the odd hotel breakfast.
It’s also worth pointing out there is for some a value in going abroad that can’t always have a cost put on it – that travelling to somewhere different can be’ good for the soul’, that sometimes it’s good to go somewhere that is different than usual life, Though it is true that there are plenty of places in the UK that can provide that too – especially if you’re a city dweller who doesn’t get to see the countryside or the coast much, like this writer!
If you need credit before your holiday be sure to check your credit report before you apply for a loan or credit card. The Experian Credit Score is a guide to help you understand your Experian Credit Report, and how the way you’ve managed the credit you’ve had in the past might affect applications you’re making now.
(Blog post Jul 2016, updated with new stats Sep 2016)