STAYCATION prices are rising as 54 million Brits scramble for one – but you can easily cut hundreds off the cost.
Half-term this week starts the rush, with eight in ten people planning great British breaks this year, a Travelodge poll showed.
More Brits will holiday here amid jitters over European hotspots not making it on to the quarantine-free green list by summer.
High demand means accommodation prices have risen in some areas. So, swap average £80-a-night hotel and B&B prices for £10 camping or £30 glamping.
Or choose one of 150 YHA hostels – which are open to all – from around £30 a night. They even include countryside mansions.
More popular areas have higher demand, which can push up prices. So change Cornwall for Essex – which boasts Mersea Island – and ditch Devon for Norfolk, which has great beaches such as Cromer. Here’s how to save on your staycation . . .
CAMPING costs from £10 a night, and caravanning from £20. Static caravans sleep up to eight and, at £50 to £100 a night, are a bargain.
Holiday parks like Butlin’s and Pontins are cheap, YHA hostels are fun, and universityrooms.com rents out student rooms from £70 a night. Airbnb can be great value, while Travelodge and Premier Inn hotels start at £29. And do not forget The Sun’s great Hols from £9.50.
SAVE: £20-70 per day versus the average £80 price of a hotel or B&B double room.
A PUB or restaurant dinner will cost a family of four up to £80 but self-catering will set you back only £20, for identical ingredients. The same goes for picnic lunches.
Buying a family’s sandwiches and sausage rolls is around £25, but £10 if you make them yourself. Taking your own cornflakes will save you another £20 on a family eat-out breakfast. Pick up supplies in local shops or book in a supermarket delivery to your caravan – or even your tent.
SAVE: Up to £95 per day.
When to go
DODGE the last week of July and the first week of August – the priciest time of summer, as they are traditionally the most popular fortnight off work for tradesmen.
The first week of September, just before schools go back, is priced lower – and Whitsun and October half-terms are cheaper still. People without school-age kids can get term-time bargains. And short breaks are cheaper between Sunday and Friday, dodging Friday and Saturday nights.
SAVE: Up to £30 per day
Where to go
ACCOMMODATION can be cheaper away from touristy counties. Emma Coulthurst of TravelSupermarket said: “Consider less-visited areas with more availability and lower prices. It’s about finding a good price and somewhere you want to go.”
Blackpool has the cheapest hotels at £70 a night, a hotels.com study found. Norfolk resorts such as Cromer are also great value, and London, Bath and Edinburgh hotels will be cheaper this summer as fewer overseas tourists visit.
SAVE: £30 per day
NEED a car for your trip? Renting one can cost just £15 a day – including pick-up and drop-off. Check prices via Kayak and Skyscanner. Don’t fancy a long drive?
Book a £5 megabus ticket instead, or snap up a bargain advance train fare – both options have good availability due to low traveller numbers. Then hire a car from your destination. You could also turn your transport into your accommodation — by booking a campervan.
SAVE: £30 off the full price for transport.
IF you can’t afford to go away, do what millions did in the Fifties and Sixties – stay home and enjoy some day trips. Ban house jobs and laptops.
Get two-for-one tickets for attractions and travel by train, registering at DaysOutGuide.co.uk. Or buy tickets using trebled Tesco Clubcard points. MoneySavingExpert said: “A holiday is not relaxing if you worry about paying for it. There are many offers available for days out.”
SAVE: £80 per day.
PRESS the “Push for Pizza” button in London’s Victoria Park, London Fields Park, Hackney Marshes Park or Clissold Park today from noon to 6pm and get a free Papa John’s pizza.
But hurry – there’s a limited number to give away.
‘We save £50 a day with a campervan’
A FAMILY of five can save more than £500 on their staycation by sleeping in a campervan and having barbecue meals.
James Doyle, 49, and wife Brie, 37, plan to collect a hire van from near their South London home, drive to an Isle of Wight campsite and bed down together in the van.
Financial services worker James said: “Our kids will love it and we’ll save £50 a day on accommodation. The barbecue is coming with us, too, so that’s another £50 saved each day on eating out.”
The couple, who have two boys, aged seven and four, and a two-year-old girl, also saved money last summer, by camping in the New Forest.
James said: “We paid extra to have a bigger tent all set up for us but it was so much less than a hotel, and more fun.”
James is also a big fan of hostels. He said: “YHAs are great and Norfolk was beautiful – there’s no need to spend a fortune to have a holiday in the UK.”
VIRGIN Atlantic is extending the status of its frequent-flyer members by a further three months to help those who have been unable to travel during Covid.
The extension will be automatically applied to members’ accounts.
STEERING CLEAR OF CAR FRAUDS
By Ashley Hart
AS learners race to get back to their lessons and drivers look to splash out on new vehicles, scammers are accelerating their tricks to take advantage.
Motoring-related fraud comes in many forms – I’ve refunded a £15,000 loss for a car that didn’t exist and £75 for a “driving test” that was never going to happen.
As well as being alert to the normal scams when buying a used car online (don’t pay a deposit without seeing the car in person, do a history check to make sure there’s no finance and that it isn’t stolen, and check the VIN number in a few different places), there are more subtle tricks.
When applying for (or renewing) your driving licence, don’t ever pay for a “fast track” or “special” service – they don’t exist. Only ever apply through the official gov.uk website.
Don’t be tempted to take a shortcut with your theory test, as scammers offer fake certificates to take you straight to the practical test.
And be careful with insurance – some offers are too good to be true and ghost brokers haunt the internet selling dud policies.
Use a trusted price comparison site or go direct to a trusted insurer. It will be cheaper than having your car seized.
With car tax, If you get a text saying your payment is late, or your details have expired, bin it, it’s a con.
Instead, visit gov.uk and look for “tax your vehicle”. Then you know where your money is going.
A HOT TOPIC
AFTER government plans were revealed this week to ban gas boilers from new-build homes by 2025 and other homes by 2035, there was uproar over the likely cost of alternatives.
At present, 19 in 20 homes use gas boilers for heating and hot water, costing between £1,000 and £3,000.
One alternative is air-source heat pumps, but they cost £10,000-plus to install, since new pipes and different types of radiators are needed.
Another is boilers burning greener hydrogen. They will be available from big names such as Bosch from 2023.