Tens of thousands of Brits have opted to holiday at home because of the recession. So many are returning to resorts once favoured by their grandparents that a new term has been coined: stayvacations. Most are doing so in the belief that they will save a shed load of money.
They are likely to be disappointed. Another dismal summer of grey skies and cool temperatures has been topped by a recent survey which reveals that shopping in the UK costs much more than it does in most of the popular holiday destinations. Typically a UK basket of essentials will cost £71.33 in the UK but the same bought in Bulgaria will be just £40.88 and in Spain £64.82.
The survey calculates that it would be cheaper to holiday in Turkey. The next best value holidays compared to Britain are Greece, Egypt, Portugal, and Spain.
Michael McLaughlin of Southern Comfit, which specialises in holiday home rentals, says even these findings are flawed. The survey’s costs include a week’s self-catering at a UK holiday park but how many go to holiday parks?
“You can save money by cutting down on eating out,” he advises: “Go native and enjoy life al fresco; by dining on the patio there’s even greater savings to be made but if you really want to be waited on then eat where the locals do and don’t push the boat out.”
Modern holidaymakers are more adept at finding the best prices, and car hire abroad tends to be much cheaper too. One holidaymaker who opted for a break in Costa del Sol says, “Our location is one big theme park; the survey doesn’t take into account the free pleasures offered by sunny beaches and low cost tours.”
Alison Steed, an independent money expert who helped to compile the comparative cost index says: “It is easy for people to assume that it is cheaper to stay in the UK or that they should avoid the euro zone because the weakness of the pound makes it expensive, but that is not necessarily so.”