How to Plan Your Perfect UK Staycation

In the current climate your next holiday might end up being a staycation. Our guide will help you get the most out of your UK staycation.

John Ellmore Last updated on 30 November 2020.
How to Plan Your Perfect UK Staycation

2020 may well be the year of the staycation. Due to the coronavirus pandemic flights have been drastically restricted, perhaps you’ve even been disappointed because your planned holiday has had to be put on hold.

In any case a staycation can prove to be just as wonderful as a trip abroad. Many Brits with the travel bug have ventured far and wide without ever truly exploring and appreciating the joys of our own fair land.

Well, there’s plenty to see and do on our own shores. So, if you are planning on travelling post coronavirus, this guide we’ll help you plan the perfect staycation, with advice on how to book travel insurance, car insurance and more to ensure your holiday is both affordable and safe. Read on for practical tips on how to plan your perfect UK staycation.

What is a staycation?

A staycation is simply a holiday in Britain. When money or time is tight, travel is impossible, or you simply want to explore more of Britain, a staycation can prove to be an affordable and enjoyable holiday.

There are destinations to suit all types of holiday makers from families to couples, and friends, whether you are looking for a holiday full of adventure and nature, culture or even a seaside escape (yes, Britain has a coastline and beaches to rival the world’s best!).

We have some of the most envied holiday destinations in the world, from London to the Lake District with many more unspoiled gems in between. With so much on your doorstep, why venture abroad?

Do I need travel insurance for a staycation?

When looking at your to do list for organising a UK staycation, arranging travel insurance may not be on the top of your list. You might think with free access to the NHS, why do I need travel insurance?

Travel insurance is still worth considering for UK based holidays, as it can offer you much needed protection should something go wrong. Without travel insurance you could potentially face unexpected costs, potentially worth thousands of pounds. Here’s what you need to know about booking travel insurance for UK based holidays.

Yes, if you fall ill or become injured you will be covered for free healthcare via the NHS, but what if an injury or illness means you must cancel, postpone, or cut your holiday short mid trip?

With holiday insurance your costs are covered should you have to cancel accommodation or travel, meaning you won’t waste money on services you don’t use.

Holiday insurance will also step in when your planned journey is cancelled, be it bus, train or flight, this can save you vast sums of money if you had been planning on travelling the length and breadth of the UK during your holiday.

Another situation which could prove disastrous for your purse strings is if the holiday company you book with goes bust. In this case having travel insurance means you won’t lose the money which you have paid upfront for your trip. This can allow you to make alternative arrangements, without ending up out of pocket.

Travel insurance will protect you in the event of your luggage or cash being stolen, and will reimburse you should the worst happen, allowing you to replace any valuables you do lose.

Single trip vs annual cover – which is best for me?

There are two main types of holiday insurance, single trip holiday cover and annual cover. They might appear to be pretty self-explanatory, but let’s explore the intricacies of each type of cover to help you decide which will be best for your needs.

Single trip holiday insurance

Some single trip policies will not cover holiday durations less than two days, so if you are off on a weekend trip, or just a short holiday, it’s worth checking if the insurance you’re researching, or if your current policy covers the length of your stay.

Sometimes single trip insurance doesn't cover pre-paid accommodation, so if this is your plan, check before taking out a single trip policy which won’t cover you.

Annual holiday insurance

If you’re going on a UK staycation you might think a single trip policy will suit your requirements. However, you’ll likely be planning a holiday abroad too, and if it’s in the same year as your UK holiday, both trips will be covered by your policy. Most annual holiday insurance policies have a limit on the number of days covered often between 24 and 60 days.

Does my home insurance extend to holidays?

While it may be the case that your home insurance covers your belongings while away on holiday, it’s worth checking whether this is indeed the case and what level of cover this extends to. Some home insurance policies exclude certain items, and have value restrictions.

Before you leave for your trip check the level of cover your policy offers, taking out a new travel insurance policy can provide you additional cover, and mean all your most valuable possessions are covered.

What about breakdown car insurance?

When booking any type of holiday where you’re driving on new roads, and making trips that are out of your local area and routine, it’s always a good idea to check what level of cover your breakdown cover offers.

By finding the right level of cover for you, it’s possible to save money on breakdown cover.

Various levels of breakdown cover are available, and each offers different cover should you need assistance on the road. If your holiday is a long way from home, check whether your cover includes a tow to local garages for repair, or if you will have to allow your car to be towed to a garage near your home. Your best bet here is national recovery breakdown cover.

If much of your holiday relies on car journeys, consider upgrading to onward travel breakdown cover. With this level of cover, your insurer will provide alternative travel arrangements and accommodation should your car need repairs. You may be entitled to a free hire car, and alternative travel arrangements, for instance train tickets are often reimbursed.

Motorhome and caravan insurance

A motorhome or caravan offers you great flexibility and freedom on your holiday, and can be quite economical in the long run, as you’ll save on accommodation costs. However, you will often need additional breakdown cover specific to your chosen means of transport, learn more and explore your options for campervan insurance and motorhome insurance with our clear, comprehensive and unbiased comparison tables offering you a variety of deals.

Do I need breakdown cover?

If you don’t have breakdown cover at all, this isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. Some drivers prefer to pay at the time of need, rather than paying a fee for a service they haven’t used. However, breakdown cover is a good fall back to cover any unexpected costs you face on your travels. Weigh up your options with our guide on whether you need breakdown cover.

Staycation planning checklist

When planning your staycation, you’ll need to be thoroughly organised and prepared, here is a list of staycation ideas to help you plan ahead:

1. location, location, location

The first thing on your agenda will be the location(s) you ultimately choose to enjoy on your UK staycation. When making a shortlist of potential locations you will need to consider the needs and preferences of everyone that makes up your holiday party.

If some of the holiday goers are the adventurous sort, looking for thrills, but others are more of the beach holiday type you’ll want to research an area that can cater to both groups.

2. Drawing up an itinerary

It pays to research the local area in detail. By perusing local guide books, blogs and online reviews you can get a gauge for amenities and activities in the surrounding areas and start planning events for your holiday.

For popular activities it can be worthwhile booking ahead of time, so if you’re thinking of renting bikes, following a walking trail or tour or dining out, book ahead of time to save money and avoid disappointment.

By paying for the activity out of the peak holiday seasons you might save a considerable amount of money.

3. Think about the cheapest times to book

Booking out of season can be a fantastic way to save money on your staycation. If you can also book outside of school holidays, bank holidays and weekends you could stand to make a considerable saving on your accommodation.

If you are booking travel, it’s smart to buy your tickets well ahead of time. You’ll be surprised about the savings you can make when booking train tickets months ahead of your trip, and by booking ahead you’ll get better prices because demand will be lower.

You might also consider choosing a cheaper holiday location. By opting for up and coming holiday resorts and areas you’ll save money enjoying little known gems, food and drink and entertainment prices will also probably be cheaper, as tourists won’t yet have inflated prices.

Use comparison sites to find the cheapest deal available, if you are able to be flexible on the dates you can travel you will have a wider price bracket, with more options to select your ideal holiday from.

About the author:

John Ellmore is a director of NerdWallet UK and is a company spokesperson for consumer finance issues. John is committed to providing clear, accurate and transparent financial information. Read more

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