/ Travel & Leisure

Are you holidaying as usual this year?

Travel guidebooks and sunglasses

A gloomy economy, government calls to holiday at home and events like the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee… will all this have an effect on how you choose to holiday this year, or will you be doing what you always do?

So what’s your response to a deluge of gloomy economic news?

When a newsreader’s droning on about rising unemployment and the collapse of Greek economy, do you cancel all spending plans immediately, or look for a cheap flight to somewhere sunny to escape it all?

I’ve always been in the second camp, as the thought of going a year without a foreign holiday strikes fear into my soul. And it appears Which? members are similar – they aren’t changing their plans either.

How are holidays changing?

The majority (58%) of the 1,190 Which? members we asked about their holiday plans for 2012 are intending to carry on as normal this year – either taking a holiday abroad or staying at home – regardless of the economy.

It might seem like good news for the travel industry, and testament to British travellers’ resilience, but the other side of the coin is that 42% are planning to do something different this year to save costs. A lot are still committed to going abroad though – a third of that 42% are only changing plans by booking flights earlier to get cheaper deals.

But a quarter were planning to stay in the UK rather than go overseas, 24% were going to reduce the number of holidays they took. Another 19% were looking at cheaper accommodation, and 17% at taking a shorter holiday.

Home or away?

Given that the government is spending £4 million on an advertising campaign urging us to holiday at home this year to enjoy the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee (and put our holiday cash towards the deficit reduction effort), the proportion staying in the UK may rise even further.

But I won’t be joining them. I might be taking one foreign jaunt rather than the two or three I’d have done some years ago, but there’s no question I’ll be needing my passport. I might give Greece a try. I hear they need the money even more than we do, and if they’re back to the drachma my spending money might go a long way.

Will you be joining me, staying at home like the government wants you to, or tweaking your foreign holiday plans to keep costs down?


“I hear they need the money even more than we do, and if they’re back to the drachma my spending money might go a long way.”


Interesting question as I did a lot of holidaying abroad years ago and found it didn’t really interest me too much though really the only country I haven’t visited is China. The only places I would visit again would be Greece – Italy and Egypt to view the ruins.

So instead I will holiday at home as I have always been passionate about camping since childhood. I have camped almost continually in recent years since my wife died. The real joy is that I can easily take my three large dogs with me – rather than leave them at a kennels. Somewhat like kids they love exploring new places so we get in lots of enjoyable but gentle hiking.

It is also VERY cheap compared to an hotel – Though I do love Treganna Castle St Ives. A 5 star place that really caters for dogs (at least it did when I last used it) . You can chose between bringing your own dog food and feeding it yourself in the bedroom – or bringing your own dog food and let a maid feed it to them – or chef cooked ‘ordinary dog’ meals fed by maid – or Cordon Bleu meals fed by maid – totally unbelievably good! Adjoining woods and golf course for after dinner walks accompanied by lots of other dog lovers. Sadly it is horribly expensive (more than many holidays abroad) so at the moment out of my price range. But if I win a jackpot I’d be back.

Lawrie says:
20 February 2012

No, it is our ruby wedding in May, so we are celebrating by taking a cruise – yes, expensive but worth it for 40 glorious years together!

It was actually our 20th wedding anniversary this year and we have just returned from OUR cruise. Perhaps the questionnaire design should have covered these exceptional events as being possibly unrepresentative. I thought that when I completed it .. but 2 out of 1300 so far.

Have a nice cruise Lawrie & wife : )

Sophie Gilbert says:
21 February 2012

Richard’s right, camping is cheap. A brave friend of mine, a single mother, took her small daughter to Switzerland last summer and they camped and they had the time of their lives. Going abroad doesn’t have to be expensive, you only need the courage – and the physical fitness to carry the tent and all the luggage around like my friend did!

I am not as brave as she, so I’m hopping it to the Canaries with my husband and staying at a hotel in March. I’ve made the trip as cheap but comfortable as I can, no package holiday but buying items (hotel, flight (with Ryanair, we’re not looking forward to the flight), transport) separately. Are there campsites in the Canaries anyway, I wonder?

Then off to the north of Scotland for a week later on in the year, still not camping (last time I did it I was miserable, so unlike when I was a kid when I’d loved it), but renting a place and driving up there.

What we’re going to cut down on is actually weekends away. It’s incredible how expensive they can end up to be if you’re not careful!

We have been abroad several times using one of the camping holiday companies. It can be remarkably cheap out of season with a week for pretty much the cost of a return ticket on the ferry. With bonus weeks and the ability to travel to different sites [ by arrangement] it can be very good value.

If you have a small car the ability to turn up at a site for a very large tent with a refrigerator already set-up and running makes it very easy. We actually prefer being under canvas but early in the year they tend to have large caravans available first as they consider them more weatherproof. We had a very nice site and time on the tip of the Brittany Coast in May 2010.

Bear i mind that not all facilities are necessarily open, the bonus is there is little business so you won’t feel overcrowded. I see some sites open from April end up until the beginning of September. A sample shows a weeks camping, including car & crossing at Calais, for just over £100 at the end of April. Not bad for a foreign holiday – though the fuel cost would add up as you travel South.

As usual I will have my holidays in Britain. Plenty to enjoy, less travelling and more environmentally friendly than going abroad.

The only thing that puts me off is hearing that more people are planning to take their holidays on our crowded little island. 🙂

Emily says:
21 February 2012

I have already had three foreign holidays in 2012 (a week Australia; weekend in Budapest; and long weekend in Iceland).
I’ve already got the next three booked to take place before the end of May (2.5 weeks in Japan; long weekend in Berlin; and 10 days in Istanbul and Beirut), with several other plans in the works for after that.
So if anything, I’d say I’m travelling abroad more this year than ever before. I also plan to do some ‘staycationing’ too – long weekends in Cornwall and Edinburgh are top of the draft agenda.
I’m not excatly well off (my pay is comfortably less than the London average), but I do not have family to support, or a mortgage to pay, and this is how I choose to spend whatever disposable income I have. The gloomy economy isn’t likely to change that (as long as I have a job to come home to, of course) – if anything, it’s allowing me to get better value on my holidays – Iceland being a prime example of a destination that was unaffordable prior to its financial troubles.

Our plans are different this year. Instead of 2-3 trips to far away lands we’re having one cheapo holiday abroad plus a few short breaks in the UK with friends.

However, our decision to cut costs and stay closer to home is due to personal circumstances (like the recent arrival of small children), rather than the state of the global economy or government advice. This will be the cheapest holiday I’ll have been on for about 20 years….. If the kids weren’t part of the equation I would be off to Australia, Nepal, Cuba or Thailand without a second thought!

Joy says:
29 April 2012

Hi, Yes the hubby & I will be taking a holiday this year – a cruise with P&O, but feel very let down by them as we have just found out that the holiday is advertised now £600 less than we have paid. We were told by them that to get a really good deal to book early, now obviously this is not the case. It wouldn’t have mattered to us that we had to have to wait to be given the room we had booked when we arrived on the ship, but we were never told this when we booked. We have been in touch with P&O several times re this but all they say is that they can’t tell how many spaces they have to fill until nearer the time, we appreciate this but we were never given the opportunity to wait and be given the room when on ship. We are OAP’s and this is a luxury to us but P&O will not budge, we have no alternative but to pay up but we are really disappointed in them. Thanks for listening your comments would be appreciated.