With the summer holidays upon us, many people will be planning to go abroad this year after more than two years of travel interruptions caused by Covid. Before the pandemic hit in 2019, the average UK resident was abroad for a total of 9.7 nights and spent £670 while there. In total, 93.1 million trips were taken. These numbers are set to rise post-pandemic, with the number of trips away from the UK increasing each year between 2013-2019. After a lengthy period of being unable to travel, many Brits are expected to book a holiday now restrictions have been reduced, even amongst the current airport chaos, Brits are persevering for their time in the sun!
Though holidays are a time for leisure, enjoyment, and relaxation, financially it could have some implications, with UK holiday spending increasing from £23.43 billion in 2009, to £43.36 billion in 2019. In a survey conducted by the Post Office, three quarters of participants said they set a budget for their last trip abroad but ‘in-resort’ spending cost seven in ten of them an average of 38% extra. Alarmingly, nearly two-thirds (63%) also said they felt they had been ‘ripped off’ on their last trip abroad – from airline meals and drink prices to excursion and attraction costs, restaurant service charges and extra charges on credit or debit card transactions. These statistics are worrying, and the increased expenditure can be jaw-dropping once we return from our holidays.
Thousands of holiday goers will borrow money in order to go abroad and paying it back could result in a downturn of financial wellbeing. Spending long periods of time paying off debt can also really take away from the experience of holidays.
So, how do we find alternative solutions to holidays when the liquidity is not available?
Though not as exhilarating as a holiday abroad, camping is an incredible way to find escapism without having to spend large amounts. Britain has some great camping sites with a variety of views overlooking the countryside, beaches, and forests. Demand has grown in the camping industry since the pandemic struck and many campsites have drastically improved their facilities in recent years. It’s a great getaway plan on a limited budget and it can help many UK residents realise the beauty within Great Britain.
🏘️ House swapping
Also known as home exchange, house swapping is where two parties agree to offer each other homestays for a set amount of time. It’s a scheme involving no financial transactions and it could be used as a substitute to a holiday if your money doesn’t stretch far enough this year. Though no payment is needed between the parties, websites who host these swaps charge a small fee for users to swap their houses online. This method is cheap, and, like camping, it allows you and your family to experience what Great Britain has to offer.
Instead of taking a holiday abroad this summer, you could spend your holiday in the comfort of your own home. Taking time off work and spending it doing activities around your local area can be surprisingly enjoyable. You may not normally have time to experience everything your local area has to offer due to the busyness of life and therefore taking a staycation is the perfect way to do so. You could plan a few day trips, organise a walk in the wilderness with your friends or you could take the family on a bike ride trail for the day. Search online for activities available to you in the local area and see what you can plan on a budget.
💳 Avoiding a holiday on a credit card
Using a credit card to book trips abroad and to pay for things such as meals, activities, drinks and attractions can be a risky habit to have when planning a holiday away. People who end up paying this way often underestimate the time and the amount it’ll take to repay the borrowed sum, often not accounting for all potential payments on their trip. Extra costs such as car parking spaces, travelling costs whilst abroad and sunbed rentals at the beach add up and these extra payments may end up limiting the amount of credit you can repay at the end of your holiday. This means you could fall into the trap of long-term debt repayments and moreover, the rate of repayment may change significantly too. This may result in you repaying significantly more money than you borrowed.
Avoiding credit card holidays and setting up a budget plan instead could save you an awful lot of money (and stress). A detailed budget plan designed around your income and outgoings is the perfect first step to take for any savings goal. Reviewing your remaining monthly income after expenses helps you see what is left each month and whether it’s feasible to go abroad this year. Having a list of your monthly expenses is also a great way to assess what you can and can’t live without, giving you further ideas as to where you can make savings.
👛 Spare change jar
Though it may seem like a very small and insignificant habit to have, every little helps when saving up for a holiday. Any spare change resulting from a purchase adds up and if we use it efficiently instead of trying to spend it on something else, we can gather quite a lot of money together that can go towards a trip away the following summer.
🎌 Participating in savings challenges
Similar to the spare change jar, saving challenges help encourage you to save small amounts over a period of time. One of the most popular savings challenges is the 365-day money saving challenge. This challenge sets the participant to add 1pence extra to their savings each day. For example, on day 1 of the challenge you will add 1p to your savings, on day 10 you will add 10p to your savings until you get to day 365, where you’ll add £3.65 to your savings. At the end of the challenge, you will have saved £667.95 if you stick to the challenge, a sizeable amount that could go to a holiday fund in the summer holidays.
💰 Holiday savings account
Setting up a holiday savings account can encourage you to commit some of your monthly savings toward a long-term holiday goal. It gives you something to work for throughout the year when lacking motivation and it prevents you from booking a holiday with no savings in your account. It may also help more frugally living, as seeing the balance of a savings account increase can be an incentive to save even more.
💵 Looking out for offers and setting a maximum amount you are willing to pay for holiday
Another way to save whilst holiday shopping is looking for as many offers as possible with holiday package providers in the UK and looking to book outside of school holidays where possible. Signing up to a provider’s emails, following their social media pages and discussing the best possible deals with your local travel agencies. However, if you are using email notifications and social media platforms to see possible holiday deals, be sure to clear both your cookies and your search history frequently. If you don’t, website algorithms may drive prices up if they know you’ve got your eye on a certain date or destination. If booking a holiday is stressful online and you’re worried about overspending, use your local travel agency, where you can sit down face to face with a travel agent and discuss what you want from a holiday and how far your budget stretches. It can also help you feel more reassured when booking a holiday.
💸 Finding extra money
You may think it’s impossible to find extra money in day-to-day expenditure, but it’s surprising where you can dig up money to help pay for a holiday. Look through your household bills, possible subscriptions, and any memberships you have signed up for and see what unnecessary expenditure you have. Maybe your energy bills are higher than they should be because you don’t turn off the lights in areas of the house you’re not using, maybe your heating bill is higher than you’d like, and you could find other alternatives to keeping warm. We all sign up for subscriptions and memberships that we believe we’re going to use regularly and end up forgetting about them. Maybe you pay for a gym membership, yet only use the treadmill. Why not cancel your membership and go running outdoors instead? See what financial choices you can make in order to save up for your holiday getaway.
📱 Earnings on-demand
This is an employee benefit that gives you the benefit of being able to access money you’ve earned before it’s payday. This is a great alternative to borrowing money for things like holidays which require extra amounts of spending all at once, as it’s money you have already earned and don’t need to pay back. The opportunity to be able to access money more frequently than just once a month helps avoid borrowing money that may have to be paid back with interest. This gives that extra peace of mind when we’re on holiday, knowing that despite the extra outlay, we’re still only spending money that we’ve already earned.
Useful holiday spending resources to help you save money
Attempting these saving techniques and trying out holiday alternatives can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. It’s a healthy way to spend your summer holidays without sacrificing your financial stability and your wellbeing when trying to repay your debt post-holiday.