It’s the time of the year where we are dreaming of getting away. Whether you are thinking about the warmer days of next summer or simply fancy a change of scenery, your next UK holiday could be only weeks or months away.
But with the cost of living forever soaring, the idea of a holiday could feel like a distant fantasy. However, jetting off abroad is not the only available option for a holiday. Why not consider a UK holiday? In fact, you can save hundreds of pounds on transport, accommodation and spending by doing a holiday at home.
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of overseas holidays taken from the UK fell from 58.7 million in 2019, to just 14.2 million in 2020. Of course, this is mainly due to travel restrictions. However, it meant many people turned to their own doorstep for a wonderful holiday.
There are hundreds of stunning spots to visit across the UK, many of which we take for granted. Britain can offer just as much beauty as exotic locations overseas, for a fraction of the price. Staying within the UK also means you can pop for shorter breaks here and there, and you don’t have to set aside large chunks of time in order to get in some much-needed rest and relaxation.
Now, we understand it is all well and good just talking about the potential holidays you can take in our gorgeous country, but how can you find them? Fear not. In this article, we tell you the ways to get the best UK holiday deals.
- Set up price alerts
- Use travel deal websites
- Go for the less obvious location
- Book in advance
- Book accommodation directly
- House-swapping and house-sitting
- Be flexible
- Clear your cookies
Set up price alerts
When scanning the internet for a holiday in the UK, you may find certain locations or types of accommodation are out of your budget. Luckily, thanks to the wonder that is the internet, you can set up price alerts for certain deals and websites.
Travel comparison website Kayak has a great tool which allows you to set up price alerts for hotel stays. You will be automatically notified when the accommodation you are interested in drops in price, or when a new deal appears. Travel giant Expedia also offers a similar service.
If you feel flying to your destination is the most practical option for you, for example if you are going slightly further afield within the UK, such as from London to Scotland or vice versa, Skyscanner is a great tool which helps you to compare flight prices and set up price alerts.
Use travel deal websites
It is well worth signing up for websites that offer travel deals to find a good bargain. Such websites often have excellent deals on all types of holidays, from short city breaks to last-minute trips to the tranquil countryside. We recommend Travelzoo, a travel deal website which can give you huge savings.
Getting more bang for your buck when booking your holiday means you have more free cash to spend when you go away. Similarly, these websites can offer extras you may not get when booking elsewhere. These extras could include an extra night for free, a complimentary breakfast or even free experiences such as city tours.
Additionally, you may find deals on locations or types of accommodation you had not considered previously. Perhaps you had your eye on a fast-paced trip to a city such as Manchester, but stumbled across a deal too good to miss to a quiet village out in the sticks. The possibilities are endless!
Go for the less obvious location
As with many things in life, the more popular and in demand something is, the higher the price tends to go. As a location becomes trendy, or perhaps has historic or cultural significance, prices boom.
Just recently, as the city of Liverpool was announced to host the Eurovision song contest in 2023, hotel and Airbnb prices shot up. According to The Guardian, less than 12 hours after the decision was revealed, most places to stay had sold out entirely, with prices reaching thousands of pounds per night.
Similarly, popular locations such as cities are always more expensive than surrounding areas. It may be worth looking slightly further afield than your intended location, and see whether you can save money by not staying in the heart of all the action.
Currently, a weekend stay for two in the coastal city of Brighton for the dates of the 2nd to the 4th December 2022 could set you back a staggering £459 for one night. However, a short trip up the coast to the beautiful port town of Newhaven will have you paying just £62 for one night.* If you want to visit Brighton, this is just a 20-minute drive away, with easy public transport systems to get you there. All the fun of the bustling city of Brighton, without the huge cost.
*All prices correct at the time of writing.
Book in advance
It’s no secret that planning ahead can save you the big bucks. When it comes to booking a holiday, thinking in advance really can keep the cost at bay and save those precious pennies. Yes, last-minute deals can be great too, but sometimes you may want to plan well ahead to ensure you have more control over the aspects of your holiday.
For example, last-minute trips may be less flexible on the dates you want to go away, the accommodation type you prefer and even locations. Thinking into the future not only pushes costs down but ensures you get the exact holiday you want and have worked hard for.
Similarly, precocious planning means you can reduce the costs of activities whilst you are away. Pre-booking tickets for attractions can conserve your funds for when you get there. If you are thinking of going to a theme park, a zoo or an aquarium when you are away, see what advanced deals you can find. Often, discounts and offers are given to those who book a certain amount of time ahead.
This is particularly useful for family holidays, where the cost of taking multiple people to events and on fun-filled days out can become fairly pricey.
Book accommodation directly
There is a myth which suggests booking your accommodation directly can make it far more expensive than using booking websites. Of course, this can sometimes be the case, as booking websites often give you brilliant deals and value-added extras for your stay.
However, sometimes hotels, BnB’s and other types of accommodation can offer fabulous value for those who book through them directly. Many may even price match booking sites, if you can prove you have found your stay cheaper elsewhere. This is because they get more money when you book directly through them, rather than through a third-party website.
It may not always be cheaper, but it is most certainly worth a try.
House-swapping and house-sitting
At MoneyMagpie, we are big advocates for house-swapping. We have previously written an article all about the advantages of house-swapping. Our founder, Jasmine, is a big fan of house-swapping, and has done it multiple times in the past.
House-swapping technically means free accommodation, and you only have to spend money on transport, food, and any activities you do whilst you are away. With some hotels charging heart-stopping amounts of money for your stay, you could end up saving thousands on your trip.
It may also be worth considering house-sitting to reduce costs. Many people want someone to house-sit for them whilst they go away for their own peace of mind. Although some home-owners may not want a whole family moving into their home for a week or two, many may not mind a couple. If you are looking for a family holiday, why not ask? You never know!
We’ve also written a brilliant article about house-sitting. You could even earn a little cash whilst doing so, giving you some extra spending money for your trip. Check it out here.
If you are able to be a little more flexible with dates, it may be worth booking your UK holiday during off-peak times. This could save you a good deal of money on your trip. As mentioned earlier, as demand goes up for holidays, for example during school breaks, prices often soar.
It is also worth considering shoulder seasons. Shoulder seasons are the seasons between peak and off-peak seasons when there is very little demand for holidays. Again, this keeps the costs down and saves precious money, as well as avoiding the crowds.
Surprisingly, flights are often cheaper on Tuesday and Wednesday. Because airports are less busy on these days, costs come right down in order to shift seats on planes.
Clear your cookies
What are cookies? Well, according to Norton, a ‘cookie’ is the term for a packet of data that a computer receives, then sends back without changing or altering it. The cookie consists of information, so when you visit a website, the website will send the cookie to your computer. Your computer then stores this inside your web browser.
This data, such as usernames and passwords, are used to identify your computer as you use your network. This allows websites to identify specific users. This can often improve your browsing experience, as cookies can tailor your browsing experience to you. However, it can also be used by websites to push up prices.
In simple terms, if you are looking at a trip to Nottingham on a booking website, the ‘cookies’ will show you are interested in accommodation in Nottingham. If you click off the website and go back later, the prices may have increased, as the information from the cookies pushes prices up due to your previous searches.
So, to avoid this, make sure to clear your browser of cookies regularly. When you clear your browsing history, you can choose to clear data such as cookies also. Keep the costs down and ensure you do this often!
Ah yes, the old-school way to grab yourself a bargain. Haggling! If you have picked the holiday you want, from the location to the accommodation type, why not see if you can get the price down? Some see it as cheeky; some see it as savvy, but you don’t know until you try.
Call up your holiday provider, and tell them the price you have been quoted. Politely ask if they can beat this price and try to negotiate. Negotiating the price per person, rather than the overall cost is a good idea. This is because each discount seems less and is more likely to be accepted.
If they cannot beat the price, see if they can match your quote. This way, you may get preferred accommodation, for example, without having to pay more.
Do you have any tips and tricks to get a good deal on a UK holiday? Leave them in the comments!