Does holidaying at home save money?

It’s easy to make the case for holidaying somewhere sunny when we’ve just sat through a dank and dull June in the UK. Despite odd days of sunshine, most of us feel it hasn’t stopped raining for weeks.  But with staycationing long mooted as one of the best ways for families to save money, can you justify the cost of jetting off elsewhere?  Well, according to some new research by respected M&S money, beach breaks abroad could actually prove cheaper than having a staycation, because of the UK’s high living costs and current favourable exchange rates.  A staycation in London will be 25% more expensive than the average beach holiday abroad this year, according to the research, but more than half of Brits choosing to stay in the UK cite their main reason for doing so as “because it will be cheaper.”

A week in London costs around £1,631 per person, compared to an average of £1,298 for a holiday abroad and, during the first week of the Olympics, for example, a bucket-and-spade trip to Alicante in southern Spain, will cost just £927.  A seven-day break to Turkey’s Bodrum came out at £1,102 – more than £500 cheaper than the capital – and even a long-haul trip to Thailand came in around £200 cheaper.  M&S worked out the savings by including spending money into overall holiday costs.

But while staycations are still proving popular, it may be you can save money on a sunshine break as, with warmer weather, you tend to spend more time doing free activities outdoors. While, if you get caught short in British rain, you can pay more for indoor entertainment.  The only destinations surveyed that were more expensive than London were Bridgetown in Barbados, at £1,836, and Daytona Beach, Florida, which came in at £2,034.  M&S said the London figure was high due to the large amount of spending money needed to holiday in the capital – £596 a week.

Jane Lawson, M&S Money’s travel money head, said: “Staycations are clearly popular this year, particularly as people look forward to celebrating the Jubilee and Olympics, in what will be a British summer to remember.  “However, with the cost of activities and eating out in the UK relatively high and favourable foreign exchange rates helping to make your money go further abroad, a holiday at home is not always the most affordable option.”  The survey included the polling of more than 2,000 adults who plan to take a summer holiday during 2012. More than half of those questioned said they were planning to stay in the UK, with a quarter of these saying they were doing so in a bid to save money in these cash-strapped times.

Of those who said they were going abroad, almost a fifth cited the affordability of this option as a reason for doing so, with 15% saying inexpensive accommodation was a key factor, 10% said they were jetting off because of affordable local costs and 7% said they were going because of favourable foreign exchange rates.  M&S also found holidaymakers were being unrealistic about how much spending money they would need. Those surveyed said they were taking £41 per person per day, or £287 a week, with them, but the survey found this is much too little and people should actually be budgeting, on average, £368 per person per week.

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