As summer approaches, it’s only natural for your mind to turn to holiday planning. However, when you’re living on a budget the annual vacation is often one of the first luxuries to go.
Have you ever thought about staying in the UK instead of jetting off overseas? By keeping your destination local, you can save money on things like travel costs, which may mean you can fit a holiday into your budget after all.
But the ways to save money don’t end there. Check out our tips for five ways to cut the cost of your staycation this summer.
Home from home
Staying in a beautiful cottage in the countryside or an apartment in the heart of the city and having the whole property to yourself during your break is a dream for many people. However, hiring a holiday home can be expensive. Luckily, there is another option.
Rather than rent a vacation home, you can instead rent someone’s actual home – usually for a much better price. There’s a growing number of websites that allow homeowners to advertise their properties online and rent out either a room or the whole thing to holidaymakers.
Check out airbnb, Wimdu.co.uk and Owners Direct, which allow you to book a property directly from the owner – saving you the cost of agency fees. And while you might prefer to have the whole place to yourself, don’t discount properties that just have single rooms available as they can be more budget-friendly – and you might even get breakfast thrown in!
Phone a friend
In this age of social media, it could be said we’ve never had more friends. It’s easier to keep in touch with old classmates, former colleagues and all sorts of people we’ve met and got on with in the past, even if they live miles away from us now. Could a house swap be the solution to your holiday dilemma?Think about it - you might live near the city and they might be close to the seaside. If they’re itching for a city break and you want sun, sea and sand, swapping properties for the week could be the ideal solution.
If you none of your friends live somewhere you particularly want to visit, you could swap with a likeminded stranger instead. Guest To Guest lets you swap homes with other users wherever and whenever you want and there’s no transaction fee.
An adventure under canvas
Camping has to be the quintessential British break – and it’s also budget-friendly. While there has been a rise in the popularity of glamping trips - where you spend the night in a luxurious yurt, gypsy caravan or wigwam - there are still plenty of basic campsites across the country that invite you to pitch your tent for between £10 and £30 a night.
To find the perfect campsite for your needs, check out comparison website Pitchup.com. You can choose from hundreds of sites in the UK and further afield and book your stay in minutes – and there are no booking fees.
For fun for the entire family, holiday parks remain a popular option. Haven often runs some great deals, like four nights’ stay for the whole family for around £130. Plus, there’s plenty to do while you’re there – like swimming, sports and even evening entertainment – so you’ll hardly have to leave the site!
If you do fancy something a little more luxurious, you could give glamping a try. These breaks can be quite expensive, but it’s possible to hire unusual accommodation through the likes of airbnb.
B&B – what more do you need?
One of the most British holiday traditions is a stay in a bed and breakfast – and there are certainly lots to choose from. Some operate entirely as bed and breakfasts, and others are family homes with a couple of rooms to let – and which one you choose can make a big difference to what you pay.
Another advantage to booking a B&B is that they are often run by locals, so you can get the inside track on what to see and do in the place you’re visiting. Plus – speaking from personal experience – the breakfasts at B&Bs are often simply delicious.
While staying at a bed and breakfast can be more expensive than self-catering because you’ll probably have to eat out more, it means you can completely relax and enjoy your time off. Try booking your stay for during the week, outside of school holidays and off-season if possible so you can get the best deals.
Staying in a hotel can be one of the more expensive ways to holiday – but, again, there are budget options available. For instance, take a look at some of the budget hotel chains and you’ll find there’s often a great deal available.
A survey conducted by Which? last year invited people to rate some of the UK’s best known hotel chains – including both budget and luxury options. Premier Inn came in third, making it the highest-rated budget hotel chain. There are hundreds of Premier Inns in the UK, so you should have little difficulty finding one in the destination you want to visit – and again, by booking your room out of season you stand a better chance of bagging a bargain.
For an even more budget-friendly option, you can check out Travelodge. Again, there’s plenty of hotels to choose from, and because this chain offers basic accommodation the price per night can be very attractive.
If hotels are still a little out of your price range, you could check out some of the UK’s hostels instead. These offer exceptional value for money, and although they’re basic you get a comfortable bed for the night. Join the Youth Hostel Association for £25 and you can stay in hostels all over the country – many of which have couples or family rooms so you don’t have to share with strangers.
Bag a bargain
Whatever type of holiday you go for, there should be an option that suits your budget. The key is to do your research and hunt out the best prices.
As well as following the above tips, you can compare accommodation online to weigh up the cost versus the customer reviews. Use Trivago to see a list of deals from a range of hotel companies and holiday brokers in the place you want to visit, allowing you to choose the best price.
It can also be worth taking the risk of leaving it until the last minute to book your trip. This is when hotels and bed and breakfasts often roll out their best prices so they can ensure all their rooms are full. lastminute.com doesn’t just offer late deals on hotel rooms, but flights, spa breaks and even theatre tickets too.
Share your tips for booking a budget-friendly holiday with us.