Camping holidays: Last-minute staycation breaks at campsites surge before lockdown

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Camping holidays have experienced a resurgence this year as more Britons ditched holidays abroad for breaks closer to home. Although the weather has turned in recent weeks, Britons are still taking the opportunity to go camping before lockdown commences. The government guidance states: “Those currently on a domestic holiday will be allowed to finish their holidays, but are still subject to the requirements in England not to go out without a reasonable excuse.”

And it seems the latest data from Pitchup.com shows a surge of interest for last-minute holidays.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Saturday evening that the UK would be heading into lockdown on Thursday evening.

Bookings made through the platform since 6.45pm on October 31, 11 percent were made for same-day arrival, 23 percent for next-day arrivals and eight percent for arrivals two days later.

According to the site, 80 percent of all the bookings are for groups without children.

This is likely to be because schools and educational establishments will remain open.

Camping website Pitchup.com has reportedly had 1,400 bookings for next summer which is an increase of around 500 percent.

Dan Yates, founder of Pitchup.com, said the site hadn’t seen a spike for December yet.

He said: “We’ve yet to see a spike for December bookings, most likely reflecting consumer concern that the planned four-week lockdown may yet be further extended.

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“We expect in the same way consumers are clamouring to book before lockdown, with 43 percent of our sites open all year round, it’s likely once travellers are clearer on restrictions we may well see a surge of bookings for after December 2 due to pent up demand.

“Bookings for 2021 remain very strong, 284 percent up against the same period last year as many are booking breaks to give themselves something to look forward to – a light at the end of the long winter tunnel.”

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, it’s likely that restrictions will remain in place on international travel.

While many will always seek to go abroad, others are likely to opt for staycations instead.

However, some experts in the travel sector have warned that bookings for staycations in the UK could end up being booked up quickly, especially over the Easter holidays.

Chair of the Professional Association of Self-Caterers, Alistair Handyside told The Guardian that there has been a surge in bookings for 2021.

He told the newspaper: “We are about six months ahead of the normal booking pattern.

“People don’t want to miss out like they did this summer.”

Owner of Staycation Holidays, Charles Millward told The Times that finding availability for next year should be a concern for people looking to book.

Mr Millward said: “People should be worried about finding availability next year, a lot of dates are already taken because they will have been moved from this year – one of our properties only has three weekends free next year from March until September.

“In general our properties will increase in price next year by 20 percent to recoup the cost owners lost during the lockdown.

“One property we’re booking for next year has gone up by 50 percent.”

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