Many of us immediately start dreaming of holidays as we head into a New Year, quickly putting plans in place for luxurious UK weekend breaks, or sun-soaked adventures in far flung places. But things are already looking a little different this year, with the cost of living crisis stretching holiday budgets, and looming energy bills many of you are being more cautious and conscientious with your hard-earned money.
It’ll come as no surprise that vast numbers of people are already cutting down on non-essential luxuries, and holidays are a prime example of this.
Rising prices, inflation and interest rates have already had a dramatic impact on holiday bookings, and this trend looks set to continue for at least the coming weeks and months. However, it is possible to book a trip that won’t break the bank. It might just be a case of looking a little closer to home.
Delving into the effects today’s economy has on holiday-goers, we polled the nation to find out exactly how most people are expected to travel this year.
Over 20% of holidaymakers will book a UK break in 2023
Our research shows, this year, over a fifth (22%) of people are opting for a UK staycation in 2023, substituting costly flights abroad for exploring picturesque places, such as The Lake District or even embarking on a more spontaneous self-drive trip.
Research by The Travel Association, ABTA, has also found that the number of people electing to take an annual holiday abroad is still lower than pre-covid times. However, people continue to enjoy UK holidays at an increased rate.
In addition to rising costs, climate change remains a key concern for people, with many beginning to change their travel plans to reduce their carbon footprint. As a result, almost half of Brits (47%) either already holiday close to home or are considering it to reduce flight times because of the environment, according to YouGov.
Interest in UK trips remains strong
The Great Britain Tourism Survey, published in October 2022, found that UK holidaymakers have a renewed interest in travelling throughout the UK for weekend breaks and longer trips with family and friends.
The report revealed that between April to December 2021, 119 million UK trips were made by British residents. These trips spanned over 421 million nights, and equated to a total of £27.2 billion in spending.
The most popular reason for British people staying overnight elsewhere in the UK in 2021 was for a holiday, with 38% stating this was the purpose of their trip. The second most popular reason for doing so was to visit family and friends, with 36% doing so in 2021.
In recent years, those planning trips in the UK have tended to travel for long weekends. This is a trend that we can expect to continue throughout 2023 and beyond. The survey also revealed that, in the nine months to December 2021, UK trips lasted an average of 3.5 nights and that the average spend on these trips was £229.
UK holidaymakers are saving to protect holiday budgets
When it comes to setting yearly budgets, some respondents are prioritising their annual holiday.
Almost two in five respondents (38%) stated that they would be setting aside a budget of over £150 per person, per day, for a UK holiday in 2023 – a figure which has increased since 2021. In that year, just over a quarter of people (26%) were setting strict budgets to ensure they had the funds for a UK break.
Some will use Covid-19 savings to splash out on UK mini breaks
The financial outlook of the UK might look challenging at the moment, but a significant proportion of the UK was able to save considerably during the pandemic.
As holidays, theatre trips and weekend breaks were off the table for most of 2020, many were able to save money simply by staying at home. Not to mention, commuters also saved on pricey train tickets, petrol and overall travel costs, as they switched to a work from home schedule.
These factors contributed to British households building up their savings to “the second highest level on record” by the start of 2021. Those extra built-up “lockdown” savings may well be put towards a luxurious getaway or two in 2023.
Pressure on household budgets has grown significantly in recent months, and many people are changing their holiday plans as a result, including how often they go and where they go to.
UK breaks are expected to continue to rise in popularity, as holidaymakers seek more affordable trips in 2023, that are also better for the environment. But of course this doesn’t mean that the quality of holidays will be compromised.
Saving money doesn’t have to mean substituting quality, however. For example, if you have a pet, you can save on the extra costs of a pet-sitter by choosing a pet-friendly hotel. Pre-planning things to do, sights to see and places to visit before your trip can also mean saving by booking in advance, and even finding free/low-cost alternatives. But that’s just the beginning – you can find more money-saving UK holiday hacks in our guide here.
Great Britain is home to some incredible destinations that are ready and waiting to be explored. Start searching for your perfect UK getaway with Coast and Country’s Hotel Collection and plan your next adventure.
We polled 2,000 UK adults who holiday frequently to get a national representative between 13/12/2022 – 19/12/2022.