Is Holidaying in the UK Frugal?

I swear the sun was shining when I sat down to write this, but now, in typical British fashion, a large black cloud has appeared across the sky. Summer is galloping closer (is it me or is this year flying by?) and recent meteorological reports that we are set for a blisteringly hot summer – for once – have got me thinking about holidays.

There’s been a lot of buzz in 2009 that, because of the recession, many people will be ditching overseas trips in favour of holidaying in Britain. Certainly, earlier this year some domestic travel companies reported a strong increase in the number of Britons deciding to holiday at home. Bookings are said to be up at Butlins and Hoseasons, and Visitbritain.com reports that over 70 per cent of people in the UK are trying to cut their holiday spending this year.

I love our wonderful British Isles, no matter how blustery and unpredictable the weather. I have spent weeks in Scotland, Ireland¸ the Lake District and Norfolk in my warm coat and plastic mac, grateful for the single day of the week when it didn’t rain. In fact we’re thinking about visiting Norfolk again later this year as we enjoyed it so much last year. Although, to be fair, on many other occasions I have also enjoyed fantastic weather and heard tales of friends who have visited Spain, only for it to pour the entire fortnight. But I’m not convinced that holidaying in the UK is frugal in itself. It’s easy to stay in many places in Britain and spend a fortune on hotel rooms, expensive theme parks, trips and eating out, just as you might abroad.

As with anything else, it’s a good idea to plan ahead first and work out where you could save money on your break away. Would it be cheaper to go on a caravan holiday or camping? Would renting a cottage with friends in the off-season and taking your own food along help trim some costs? Maybe you have friends or relatives living in a holiday resort you could stay with. Could you offer to house-sit for them while they’re away themselves? Alternatively, staying in university accommodation or at a Youth Hostel can also be more affordable and many Youth Hostels now accept families.

If money is especially tight, you could consider staying at home and being a tourist in your local area, visiting nearby attractions – as long as you pick the affordable ones. Sometimes a change of scene is what’s needed and a short weekend break to get away from it all is almost as refreshing as a week away somewhere. Occasionally when DJ and I need a change of scene, we stay overnight at a seaside place in Suffolk. We’re only there for a few hours, but it’s amazing how relaxed we feel by the time we get back. The Visitbritain.com website has some good ideas for holidaying on a budget and free days out.

I think nowadays many people see their annual holiday as an essential, not an optional extra. We all need to unwind and de-stress from our busy lives. But planning ahead and putting money away each month to pay for it should ensure it’s more enjoyable and that we come home relaxed and refreshed – not worrying about how we’ll manage to pay for it all.

Will you be holidaying in the UK this year? Do you think it’s cheaper than going abroad? Got any good ideas for saving money on your hols? Leave a message and let me know.

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11 Responses to Is Holidaying in the UK Frugal?

  1. Christine says:

    Holidays in Britain don’t come in my version of frugal. If you are a family or a group of friends going on holiday together, self catering is actually not too expensive if you can get the travel costs right. And you can pick somewhere with a good beach or other free outdoor facilities (oh and the weather is right) so that the savings aren’t lost in the activities. Butlins, camping and caravans all have their place if you are taking children or are a group. Packages for two people still seem better if you go abroad. And singles in the UK are charged through the nose so if you are an older, single person you are almost guaranteed to join the dreaded coach party or stay at home. You get to the point where camping is too much physical effort and caravan sites are in out of the way places if you don’t have your own transport. No wonder older people fly more – the only way that they can afford a holiday is to take up one of the foreign packages on offer. Even with the present value of the £ there are still better offers around on package trips abroad than hunting for frugal accommodation in the UK.It\’s as cheap to see if there are days out to local places via the local coach firm or join an older person\’s club that arranges outings. If you have relations in other parts of the country or someone who can offer you a week in their caravan then perhaps it’s not so bad being older and single.

  2. Jeanette says:

    This will sound like a blatent attempt at advertising, but i assure you i feel very sure that what i say is true. I have an olive farm in Las Alpujarras in Spain. We have a stone cottage and a spacious apartment, which is part of the old farmhouse. The views are amazing the weather almost always good, and always better than the uk. There is much to do in this area if you want it, but this place is so relaxing, quiet and natural, with wildlife all around. Because of the privacy here …and the large pool! guests (there are never more than 4 on the premises) find they don\’t want to go anywhere, just enjoy the privacy and peace around them. So apart from the essential shopping as it is self catering, they just enjoy their own private terrace and the pool, reading, relaxing, glass of wine and the barbecue. So of course you don\’t spend much money once you get here. We are also green and won The Times first Green Awards in december 2008, we have no main services here, but in terms of comfort you will not even be aware of that fact. take a look at the website http://www.fincalaherraduraretreat.iowners.com and see what you think….the temperature is 28 degrees today! A flight to Granada airport or Malaga, a one or two hour drive respectively and you are here. We do still have dates available for this summer.

  3. miro says:

    Holiday in England??You must be joking!Freezing, dirty water and beaches, raining cats and dogs,perhaps even sleeting or snowing, and the food??????Who wants soggy fish and chips and mushy peas?Basil Fawlty in every B&B if not hotel.Hoodies and yobbos galore.And it is so expensive.From travel to accommodation.Go abroad.If you want any tips, ask, if not, do not ask and find out for yourself.

  4. lynnell says:

    we have a static caravan in essex and go as often as we can. we take the weather as it comes.we also go to lincolnshire every year. you can get some terrible weather abroard. have been to italy 20 odd years ago and it rained for 2 weeks and that was june. every year we go abroad but to the christmas markets in december. take the good with the bad and enjoy your holiday

  5. Pete says:

    I live in sunny Spain but the sun is the only thing that spain has to offer nowadays. The weak pound has put up the cost of everything so much here that lots of Brits have sold up and returned to less expensive Britain where they can get help in the form of social security and those who can\’t sell (No buyers) are going to the UK for summer holdays with their kids and forgetting to come back.The cheap family holiday in Spain has gone forever.

  6. miro says:

    To live abroad is not holidaying, nor a holiday.You have made your choice, Spain was a cheap paradise for the Brits , is not anymore, move on.I do not believe that Spain is more expensive than Britain. The prices are obscene. Esp. housing and food, petrol……+ the bloody taxes!And if you want to live on SS you will eat beans on toast every day. And it will not be Heinz either.Look East!Bargains galore, very affordable, friendly natives and better beer, steak and sausages, without the swine flu!

  7. phongchawi says:

    From Phong,We are going to Malta next month. It is not far from the uk . I think it is not cheaper than holiday in England but we decide to go there because the weather is warmer , diferent culture especially I do love Mediterranean food.

  8. Val says:

    We are holidaying in Britain this year for a few reasons, 1) we want to see something of our new Grandson so we are going to Bristol this year and Cornwall to stay with our friend (who we have not seen for two years) for a few days, 2) the value of the pound is bad so holidays in Europe or America would be expensive for us and 3) Britain does have some wonderful places to visit. The weather doesn\’t put us off. A holiday is a time to destress whatever the weather and we love cultural so visiting Castles, country houses etc we find good fun and you often don\’t really need the good weather for that. Yes, getting into some places can be expensive but when your £ doesn\’t go far abroad it can be just as expensive if not more so abroad. We went to Florida last year and we got soaked a few times and the entry fees there in some of the places were as much as here. Loved it mind!!! We have just booked a holiday for next april at Butlins too and for two families (we are taking our two Grand children and our daughter, son in law and new Grandson are coming too) it has only cost us £545 for a mid week family break. That is BB&D with two chalets and entertainment free. That isn\’t really too bad and a lot of indoor entertainment too where the weather won\’t matter so much. Britain has a lot to offer and if you do your research and book online you can find some great places to go for little money.Val.

  9. Sally says:

    Holiday? What holiday? We couldn\’t even consider a holiday at the moment, it has hard enough just living day to day! The only way would be to hit the plastic and that\’s a definite no-no.

  10. Mary says:

    Writing from the other side of the Irish Sea and fresh back from my own staycation, I just had to comment. My original plan to disappear to London for a few days fell through, so I opted to snatch a few days – a few gloriously sunny days – close to home in the west of Ireland. I justified it on the basis of frugality and supporting small Irish businesses such as B&Bs and coffee shops. And although I\’ve arrived back home with a fabulous tan, I gotta say that my wallet is kinda hurting right now. Maybe I\’ve become spoilt after years of holidaying abroad but if I had a family or no job, I don\’t think I could afford to holiday at home. Just my 2c

  11. Hugh says:

    Just back from a week in Cornwall, just outside Newquay to be exact. Stayed in a caravan on a fantastic site (Hendra if you\’re interested) and had just the best week! The climate, beaches, views, were just as good if not better than what I\’ve seen of the med, plus the beaches were cleaner. Britain is beautiful, I wish more people could see that. Yeah, Newquay at night is trashy, but so are a lotof resorts in Spain, etc.The only downside is the cost – petrol, meals, beers, etc can add up to a little more than you might spend abroad, but damn it feels good to be putting money onto our economy instead of someone elses!

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