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Why are UK holiday costs so expensive?

Why are UK holiday costs so expensive?
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Forget the sun loungers and gelatos; it’s time for your raincoat because holidays in the UK are back! With Covid restrictions continuing, many Brits are choosing to take a break in the UK rather than going abroad. But why are UK holiday costs so expensive? 

Here I investigate why breaks in the UK seem to cost more than ever. I also take a look at whether it’s possible to have a UK holiday that doesn’t break the bank.

Pricey UK holidays

UK holiday prices have increased significantly in the last year, with hotspots like Cornwall seeing price increases of 30% or more. And that’s on top of already expensive UK holiday costs.

According to a recent Which report, a holiday in Brighton now costs more than going to Nice for the week, even with transport factored in. They found that a seven-day holiday for two in Brighton costs £1,131 for a week, compared with £1,085 to travel to and stay in Nice.

Eating out is also expensive in the UK, with a restaurant meal for two costing more than in Spain, Portugal or Turkey.

5 Reasons UK holidays are so expensive

So, why does a holiday in the UK cost so much? And why have costs increased so much over the last year? Here are five of the main reasons:

  1. Demand has increased – with continuing Covid restrictions, more people are choosing to stay at home and holiday in the UK. There’s a shortage of accommodation with more customers than ever chasing a limited amount of accommodation. Customers have reported that some caravan parks have been charging over £3,000 per week for a family holiday.
  2. Short school holidays – schools in the UK have some of the shortest summer holidays in the world. This means that demand for family holidays is squeezed into a six-week period over the summer. Families in Spain have 13 weeks to take their family holiday, so demand is more spread out, leading to lower accommodation costs.
  3. Expensive wages – many hotels are facing staff shortages and are paying higher wages to attract new staff. They have passed some of these extra costs on to customers.
  4. High property prices –  house prices in the UK are some of the highest in Europe. Landlords of holiday lets need to make sure their income covers any mortgage and repair costs. They also need to cover any empty periods in less busy times of the year. 
  5. High rental prices – long-term rental prices have increased significantly in many locations. Although this doesn’t directly affect the price of holiday cottages in the UK, it does have an indirect impact. Landlords know that they can get higher rents if they let their properties long term. They can also potentially save money on expensive servicing costs. They might decide raise prices on their holiday lets in order to beat the investment returns they could make renting out their property long term.

How to have a cheaper holiday in the UK

So, are there any ways you can have a holiday in the UK and not go over budget? Here are some of my top tips:

  1. Wait to book – it’s possible that UK holiday prices may drop back slightly as Covid restrictions ease and more people return to holidaying abroad.
  2. Go off-peak – if you don’t have school kids, then you can save a lot of money by taking your break in June or September.
  3. Be flexible with location – some places are much more expensive than others. If you are not fussy about location, then you can search for holiday accommodation in the UK by price and bag a bargain.
  4. Self-cater – although self-catering cottages are still pricey, you can save a lot of money by self-catering rather than eating out or staying at an all-inclusive hotel.
  5. Club together – if you have close friends or family, then you could go for a bigger holiday cottage and share the accommodation costs. It is often cheaper to rent one big cottage than two smaller ones.
  6. Go camping – OK, this isn’t for everyone, but children love it! There’s nothing quite like sleeping under the stars.
  7. Have a staycation at home – if money is tight, then this can be a great way to have a budget break. Think about all those places you can reach in a day from your home. Consider all of those things you’ve always meant to do but never got round to. If you save on those expensive accommodation costs, then you may be able to treat yourself.
  8. Cut costs wherever you can – if you need to use a credit card to pay for your holiday, then it makes sense to save on interest costs and find a card with a 0% interest rate on purchases.

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