Travel: Mims Davies says staycations are 'the way to do it'
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Holiday rentals in the UK have reported a boost in popularity over the July and August period when schools break up. While this is normally a peak time for Britons to jet off abroad, the uncertainty over ever-changing travel rules means many are opting to play it safe with a UK break instead.
As a result, however, many providers have ramped up costs in line with the surge in bookings.
Despite this, experts from Which? point out that there are ways to save on a staycation during the school holidays – it just means looking ahead beyond the peak season.
As part of their snapshot research, the consumer rights activist from Which? Found that a holiday cottage for a family of four in Hoseason’s Conwy location could set holidaymakers back £1,489 if they were hoping to book in late August.
However, during the October half-term, this price was slashed by 48 percent to £769.
Similarly, on Holidaycottages.co.uk, a property for four not far from Sidmouth was £2,895 for a specific week in August, or £1,515 in October half term – also 48 percent cheaper.
Overall, a seven-night break during the October half-term was found to be, on average, 29 percent cheaper than a seven-night stay in August.
The experts explained: “If you book now for autumn, you’ll have a greater choice of properties than if you’re trying to squeeze in a last-minute summer break.
“This means you’ll likely find a better property for less money.”
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According to the report, the number of properties available in October is high enough to offer an abundance of choice.
While the weather during the October half-term will be chillier than the midsummer months, Which? pointed to there are plenty of benefits to holidaying at this time of year.
“The weather may be cooler in October, but you can expect fewer crowds and often have the beach all to yourself,” said Which?
“Swap sunbathing on the sand for walks along the shore to enjoy the coast in all weathers.”
Rory Boland, Which? travel editor, added: “It won’t come as a surprise that accommodation prices are cheaper for October half term than the school summer holidays, but the price difference is probably bigger than most people imagine.
“For families who have been squeezed out of a holiday this summer by the eye-watering costs, it means there is still a chance to get away with Which? research finding good availability in even the most popular parts of the UK.”
However, industry experts have warned that Britons hoping to make a saving should book sooner rather than later.
Alistair Handyside, executive chair of The Professional Association of Self-Caterers (PASC) UK said many PASC members are already full for October half terms “with canny guests thinking ahead”.
Of course, following a year of lockdowns and changing travel regulations, panning ahead can be a daunting prospect.
Many travel firms have ramped up their booking policies, offering more flexibility and the option for a full refund if Covid restrictions crop up.
However, it is vital travellers are aware of these terms and conditions before booking.
When using independent holiday accommodation providers, refund policies are less clear, so holidaymakers are advised to get written proof of what scenarios are covered.
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