“Staycation”, a word we hear frequently in our day to day lives (especially in the current climate!), but exactly what does it mean and how do I select the best one for me? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with everything you need to know…
Before we start, here’s a gentle reminder that you should only follow the travel advice below if current government guidelines permit. With that out of the way, let’s get into it!
To put it simply, “staycation” is a combination of the words “stay” and “vacation”. It’s often used to describe a day trip to a local attraction, such as a museum or beach. Recently, its meaning has evolved to describe any form of domestic tourism, rather than just day trips. The word is often used to encourage exploring your own country rather than looking further afield. Another random phrase, “Holistay”, means the same thing and is also a contender for a space in the dictionary, although its less popular at the moment!
In the UK, staycations rose in popularity following the financial crash in 2009. A weaker pound sterling made international travel more expensive than domestic tourism and led many to consider UK holidays, most for the first time. Research by VisitBritain identified a huge increase in English staycations in 2009, driven by the economic climate, media coverage and a general trend towards exploring local experiences. Some even enjoyed their breaks more than international holidays, saying that staycations delivered a more “emotionally profound” experience. Overall, the 2009 financial crash seemed to awaken pride in the UK as an attractive holiday destination.
Following the pandemic, staycations are once again top of mind for those desperate for a much-needed break in 2021. Do we have another domestic travel renaissance on our hands?
With the UK poised to exit lockdown in the next few months, the idea of travelling to a faraway holiday destination is becoming more enticing. However, it seems like travel bans to other countries are going to be commonplace after the easing of restrictions at home. Sadly for sun-seekers, international travel in the remainder 2021 is looking increasingly unlikely.
If there’s anything we’ve learnt from the pandemic, it’s that it pays to be flexible. Government guidelines on travel are constantly changing so it can be difficult to book in advance. Staycations, on the other hand, require much less planning as the destination is always within easy reach of your home. This allows you to pick a time and a place that works for you and easily avoid any bad weather or disruption. Since you don’t need to book as far in advance, you’ll also likely avoid any expensive cancellation fees too.
This highlights another massive advantage of staycations; they’re cheap! Particularly if you’re planning to drive to your destination and not stay overnight. Other than admission fees, all you have to worry about is the cost of driving. What if you don’t own your own car? Temporary car insurance providers like Jaunt can fix you up with a short-term policy for as little as £7 a day*. This allows you to drive a friend or family member’s car at the fraction of the cost of an annual policy. With that in mind, Staycations are one of the easiest ways to get away this year.
It’s clear that many in the country can see the benefits of taking a staycation. According to the ONS, almost half of UK residents want to take a staycation this year. Meanwhile, just under a third are interested in international travel. For those that are looking to travel abroad, their biggest motivator is a “change of scene”. This is something that can be quite easily achieved at home.
Last Summer, we put together a fun map of destinations in the UK that shared a name with famous destinations abroad. Why go to Barcelona, Spain when you could go to Barcelona, Cornwall? Okay, so maybe the two aren’t identical, but the point stands! A staycation is all you need to experience a change of scene. Data from VisitBritain shows that GB residents travel an average of 45 miles per day trip. By car, that’s enough to take you from the busy streets of London to the quiet, rolling English Countryside of the Chilterns. Why go abroad when there are so many exciting travel opportunities on your doorstep?
Despite being confined to one country, there’s a wealth of different options available. From the beach destinations of Bournemouth, Brighton and Blackpool to the natural havens of the Lake District, the Cotswolds and the Scottish Highlands.
There are 46 areas of outstanding natural beauty across England, Wales and Northern Island. Each one offers up some of the country’s best countryside for a variety of activities such as walking, cycling and seeing wildlife in their natural habitat. Each landscape is unique, with quaint villages, hay meadows and wild moors offering a brilliant opportunity to experience beautiful UK scenery. The best bit? Visiting these areas, buying products, and using local services will sustain the communities that live there and preserve the rich local character. It’s a win-win!
With thousands of galleries and museums in the UK, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to cultural experiences. Some timeless picks include the British Museum in London, Bath Abbey in Bath and Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Stratford-Upon-Avon. Many of these institutions offer free entry, allowing for a low-cost, high-reward staycation.
We tend to associate the idea of road-trips with the vast road network of America, but you don’t have to go that far to find some equally awe-inspiring journeys. The North Coast 500 in Scotland, for example, stretches over 800 miles of backroads. It offers the perfect opportunity to experience the history and character of the fascinating country, from gothic ruins to shingle-sand beaches. To fully experience the North Coast 500, you’ll need about a week. This is great if you’re up for a longer adventure. If it’s a shorter trip you’re after, there’s many other options to consider, how about travelling from Ben Nevis to the Isle of Skye, a trip you might be able to fit into a long weekend.
If you’re after the ultimate low-cost holiday, look no further than a camping staycation. Simply pop your tent, sleeping bag and some creature comforts in your boot and you’re on your way. You can choose from the plethora of camp sites across the UK. If you’re after ultimate ease and spontaneity, you can even opt for a pop-up tent that is ready to go within minutes. This is also a great opportunity to “meet in the middle” and link up with family and friends.
As we head into the warmer months, a sunny visit to the seaside is becoming more appealing. Fortunately, there are plenty of beaches to choose from in the UK that remind us of exotic destinations abroad. Take Blackpool Sands in Devon, for example. The clear water, smooth pebble sand, and pine trees seem more like something you’d see on the Amalfi Coast than the UK. Once at the beach, there’s a wide variety of options available to you. You can sunbathe, read, swim, or even try out some water sports like surfing.
Like we said earlier, one of the key advantages of a staycation is that they are both flexible and cheap. You don’t need to hold yourself to specific dates or specific itineraries like a bigger, international holiday. When you go abroad, you might feel the pressure to make the most of those extortionate travel costs. This could mean a stressful itinerary that reads more like an action plan than a relaxation plan. This isn’t a problem with staycations, as you can always return easily. There’s no need to worry about whether you’ll have enough time for the next activity. All your efforts can be put into enjoying the moment.
On top of that, there’s no reliance on remembering your passport, waiting hours at an airport terminal, or trying desperately to cram a week’s worth of holiday-wear into a cabin-sized suitcase. Staycations put you in charge, allowing you to relax and enjoy a well-deserved holiday without any stress.
Have you ever dreamed of taking some family members or friends on holiday abroad but struggled to organise it? Maybe they were reluctant to fork out for the plane fare. Maybe there wasn’t enough room in the hotel you wanted to book. These are problems of the past for staycationers. Organising a joint holiday where no-one has to leave the country is considerably easier and less stressful. It’s far more likely that you’ll get your family and friends onboard and you should take advantage of this! Many experiences are best shared with others, and you’ll come out with some great anecdotes at the end of it.
*On average 10% of customers paid £7 per day for a Jaunt Car Policy (From 1st July 2020 – 30th September 2020)