In 2017, Barclays' Destination Report[1] revealed the true extent of the growth of the UK domestic holiday market. Recently updated, the report shows that staycations are still gaining in popularity. In this article we'll look at what that means for holidaymakers and also the ways in which campsite and glampsite owners can prepare in order to give customers better value for their money.

We'll look at;

  1. What is a Staycation?
  2. Why are Staycations Becoming More Popular?
  3. Should You Take a Staycation?
  4. Typical Staycation Costs
  5. The Most Popular UK Destinations
  6. Notes for Campsite Owners

What is a Staycation Holiday?

The word 'staycation' is a blend of two words - 'stay' and 'vacation'. In the UK a staycation is generally a holiday spent in Britain, without travelling abroad. In other countries you may hear this type of holiday referred to as a 'holistay' and it usually means to take a holiday but stay at home and travel short distances for entertainment. Holidays such as this may mean visiting local attractions such as parks and museums on a 'one day staycation' or campsites & glampsites for longer stays.

You can have a romantic staycation, a family staycation with kids, a staycation at home or whatever kind of staycation you invent, really.

uk-staycation-at-the-beach

Why is the Staycation Holiday Becoming More Popular?

In short, money. Or the lack of it. The rise of affordable staycations seems to be in sync with financial hardship. According to Wikipedia;

"Staycations achieved popularity in the U.S. during the financial crisis of 2007–2010. Staycations also became a popular phenomenon in the UK in 2009 as a weak pound made overseas holidays significantly more expensive."

Barclays' report does not make any mention of the impact air travel has on our environment and at SoulPad it's our opinion that this factor is influencing some families to take a domestic holiday without flying. With growing concern about the future climate, a low-impact staycation may provide the perfect opportunity to demonstrate feasible ways of taking time out whilst simultaneously reducing carbon footprint.

Perhaps this more recent surge towards domestic holidays is also due to a weakening pound. Factor in uncertainty about travelling outside the UK to nearby countries in Europe during the UK's withdrawal from the EU, and it seems like a perfect storm.

Should You Take a Staycation?

In short, why not? Give a staycation a go. Perhaps a short staycation, a long weekend at home with the family, will appeal to you. Hey, you can have several staycations a year if you're willing and organised. Instead of opting for one long (expensive) holiday in the summer, take several short breaks and visit local attractions. You could use this as an opportunity to make changes for a cleaner environment, or to demonstrate to you and your friends that perhaps an all-inclusive holiday somewhere remote is not necessarily the best thing in the long-run. Neither financially, nor environmentally.

We've put a summary of a few key facts from the Barclay's report into a handy infographic - download it here.

Typical Staycation Costs

The average holiday spend for a staycation is less than half that of an overseas holiday according to Barclays. This shouldn't be surprising given that staycation popularity is at its' peak when money seems tightest. The typical spend of £2440 for an overseas holiday, compared with the £904 of a domestic trip is an overwhelming reason to holiday with a budget staycation. A quarter of that spend is usually taken up with accommodation costs, so either staying at home (and camping in the garden) or finding bargain accommodation such as a campsite would make for wonderful kid-friendly, nature staycations that won't break the bank.

uk-staycation-2020-den-building

The Most Popular Places to Visit

Within the UK, the South-West of England is the most popular place to staycation, especially for the over 65s. Younger groups prefer to holiday in Wales, London and the North-West of England. Undoubtedly, a staycation in London would be more expensive than staying in a bell tent in Wales but it is still possible to holiday on a budget by searching for last-minute bargains. Don't forget, places that have a lot of local entertainment will save you money on transport costs. When planning a budget staycation you may have to make your own entertainment but that can be as simple as your family will allow. Just watching Netflix in a home-made den will please some kids!

Opportunities for Campsite Owners

Barclays' research into the Great British Staycation seems to indicate that holidaying closer to home - a domestic holiday - is coming back into fashion. A more recent update finds that two years after their initial report, the trend does not show any sign of slowing.
The basic facts indicate that rising holiday costs and the weakening pound are major factors. We've also assumed an environmental concern is behind some families' decisions to holiday closer to home. With these points in mind it would be worthwhile considering the following;

- Eco-tourism

If you can offer accommodation or entertainment that is low-impact, why not market it as such and increase your eco credentials by offering a more sustainable stay? Many campsites already have lots to offer on site so they should make the most of these. Whether it's a simple BBQ area, tree swings, den building, hot tubs, horse riding, geocaching or fruit picking.
Here are a few more ideas to get you started; solar or wind power recharging, composting facilities, reducing waste, offering transport options that are more environmentally friendly than personal vehicles (such as bicycles).
Authenticity and getting back to simple pleasures is a key driver of campsite stays year after year.

uk-staycation-at-the-museum

- Local Attractions

Make the most of advertising local entertainment, however trivial it may seem. If your research is thorough you may find lots of activities nearby that you didn't know existed. Barclays make mention of 'screen-tourism'. Have any TV shows or films been made in your area? Perhaps a stately home has appeared on screen. You could even offer trips to these destinations, or collaborate with the attraction owners to add value to your site.

- A Weaker Pound

Obviously the British Pound goes up and down in value. The key point here is that a weaker pound entices more visitors from abroad. Perhaps, just perhaps, you can entice them to stay with you and sample what the UK has to offer.

- On the Subject of WiFi

A Netflix staycation - yes, that's a thing - will of course rely on a decent WiFi connection. The report responders were somewhat divided over the issue of WiFi. Over two thirds (69%) of all UK holidaymakers will expect to find free wifi at their destination, wherever that may be. However, a significant portion of responders also wanted a 'digital detox'. We'll let you decide how best to cater for both groups!

So there's plenty of scope for UK staycations to offer a varied selection of entertainment for families both young and old throughout the UK. Staycationers and attractions throughout the UK can both benefit from the recent upturn in domestic holidays. We think it's about time, don't you?

Click here to download our 2020 staycation infographic PDF for use in your publication.


  1. https://www.barclayscorporate.com/insights/industry-expertise/gt-british-staycation/ ↩︎