January, gloomy as it is, is usually the month we all pick up and start planning our holidays for the year. Despite 11 months of Covid-19 disrupting all our travel plans, this one was no different – we’re just all looking at UK holidays now instead.
While Boris Johnson is reportedly ‘optimistic’ about the prospect of all types of summer holidays, there is a lot to contend with before people can consider going abroad. ‘The vaccine programme has got to continue to be successful,’ he said during a visit to Batley, West Yorkshire. ‘We have got to make sure we don't get thrown off course by new variants, we have got to make sure that we continue to keep the disease under control and the level of infections come down.’
With that in mind, many in the UK are starting to plan staycations on the basis that foreign travel might still be a way off – over nine million people may have been vaccinated already, but with a population of 66million in the UK it’s no surprise many speculate it will be a long time before travelling abroad feels safe again.
The thing is, it may sound simple to swap your usual foreign holiday plans for a staycation, but it really isn’t. Particularly, if you’re not made of money with a Cornish bolthole waiting for you. That was made very apparent by one tweet that got a lot of attention this weekend where one woman was quoted £20,000 for a week in the Cotswolds.
According to said tweeter, Lucy Zilberkweit, the £20,000 quote was for six adults and four under five-year-olds, meaning the price per person was £2,000 each. Not to sound all Love Island influencer, but you could fly first class to Dubai and spend a week in a 4.5 star Hilton hotel for £2,295 per person.
Lucy wasn’t the only one, ‘I sympathise, I was looking at Cornwall holidays and nothing was under £5k for a week self-catering,’ replied one woman. And it’s not just a few cheeky Airbnb hosts hoping to catch a windfall thanks to the pandemic keeping us all on the island. Oh no, it’s all UK holidays that are way more expensive then they’re foreign counterparts.
According to holiday-making website On The Beach, holidays in Europe are 66% cheaper than staycations in Britain. Their research showed that a holiday in Brighton would set the average person back £2,558.96 compared to £1,021 for the same type of trip in Turkey. In fact, conducting our own research, we found you can get a non-stop flight to Ibiza from London for £42, while the cheapest train from London to St. Ives in Cornwall costs £84 and includes three changes, taking almost nine hours. On Booking.com, the cheapest accommodation for one night in St. Ives is £125, the same in Ibiza would cost £69.
And they’re only getting more expensive. According to Awaze, the UK’s largest holiday cottage operator, there have been double digit price increases for bookings in the summer when lockdown restrictions are expected to have lifted.
It’s no wonder then that so many are hoping it’s safe enough to travel abroad by the summer, where you can easily get a flight somewhere hot and sunny for less than £50 with cheap hotels aplenty. No volatile UK weather to contend with, no temptation to check emails, no slight resentment at the end of the week feeling like you haven’t ‘really’ had a holiday.
It shouldn’t be more to fly to Ibiza than to get a two hour train up north in the UK.
Unfortunately, it might be what we’re stuck with this summer – but it doesn’t have to be. At least when it comes to the travelling part. Train fares need not be so extortionate, particularly for such dreary journeys. It shouldn’t be more to fly to Ibiza than to get a two hour train up north in the UK – that’s actually quite embarrassing.
Hotels, admittedly, are more complicated. UK holidays are so expensive because historically, there hasn’t been too much demand. Most have always preferred a week away in the sun than a stormy weekend on the isles of Britain, meaning UK hotels and the like have had to keep prices high to stay afloat. Even with demand changing, they may still need to do that to cover the losses the pandemic has wrought – it is after all, a privilege to be able to holiday at all.
But with so much more demand, hopefully that can change – and UK tourism can flourish even if it is with Brits learning more about their own country – and many of us who’ve sat dreaming of our next holiday can come to afford one without getting out a second mortgage. In fact, if we’re hoping for stuff, let’s just wish for all of this to end before summer so we can get off on our European breaks too – we’ve never craved Sangria so much…
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Piper House, Stamford
Quite literally a big hose in the country. It's a converted granary with enough space to sleep you and 15 of your nearest and dearest. There is also a tennis court if you and your mates are that way inclined. £380 per night