Are staycations more cost-effective than holidays abroad?

4 min | 02 May 2024

The Chase team

Holiday costs can add up – airfare, accommodation and attractions. Taking a staycation within Britain can help you avoid some of those expenses, but without additional cost-cutting measures, you may find yourself spending more than you expected.

Before swapping your holiday abroad for a boat hire on the Norfolk Broads, we share how staycations can get costly and offer solutions to keeping your break in Britain budget-friendly.

The increasing cost of travel within the UK

'My sister turns 60 this year and decided to rent a cottage for four people in the Isle of Mull,' says Polly, from Islington.

Choosing accommodation as a group, like Polly and her family, can be one way to save, as the cost is split among the group, but travel to more far-flung destinations within the UK can add up quickly and requires significant travel time.

'A flight to Glasgow and then a further six hours’ travel is madness,' she says, 'and so expensive.'

Staying closer to home can help keep costs down, but even then, rail fares went up by 4.9% in March.

The cost of eating out in the UK also rose by almost 15% last year. And unpredictable weather can add unexpected costs – indoor attractions are often more expensive than a day on the beach.

'I may bail and take my sister abroad for her birthday,' Polly says.

The apparent convenience of international travel

And Polly’s not alone in considering a trip abroad over a staycation to save money. Those in well-connected cities or near major airports may find that it is cheaper to go international.

Anthony, from Camden, began planning a trip to Whitby with his siblings last year only to find that the cost of travel alone was 'nudging three figures.'

'My brother, who’s based in Leeds, could have taken a coach for £3 but that would have meant a four-hour journey starting at six in the morning.

'At that point, we felt like it would have been more comfortable and cheaper to fly to Portugal instead.'

Creative solutions to holiday costs

'Holidays in the UK certainly feel more expensive than going abroad,' says Reshmi, from Surrey. But she’s devised a creative solution – she bought an old sailboat for vacations along the coast.

'It saves on hotels,' she says.

And for those less inclined to the maritime, there are a number of other ways you can save on a staycation:

Book transport in advance

Travelling by train or coach? Buy early for the best rates and check your options for Railcards (Opens in new window) which could save you at least one-third off the price of a ticket.

Create a holiday pot

It may be harder to track your spending on a staycation than at an all-inclusive, so set cash aside in advance – you can even set up a designated account for your holiday money.

Plan for mornings or evenings in

Sometimes, the hotel is the best part of the holiday – why not make the most of it? Plan a movie night with your favourite snacks, or pick up pastries from a local bakery for your own continental breakfast – the pain au chocolat will taste that much sweeter with a side of savings.

Search for vouchers and free days out

Many UK attractions offer two-for-one deals for those arriving by train or discounts for booking in advance on their websites. Additionally, there can be a variety of offers open to those travelling with children.

Play tourist in your own town

Check out that museum you’ve always meant to visit, hit the bookstore on the other side of town or just relax and see friends – sometimes, seeing your city from a new perspective can be just as satisfying as getting out of town.

Looking for somewhere to keep your savings? Bank with Chase and you can open a saver account. Start saving with as little as you like, and we’ll calculate your interest daily and pay it monthly.

18+, UK residents. A Chase current account is required to open a saver account.

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