Chaotic scenes at airports have become routine during school holidays due to understaffing and pent-up demand after the pandemic.
While some people plan to head abroad this summer, many are staying in the UK, continuing a trend that has seen holidaymakers flock to destinations in Cornwall, North Wales and Cumbria, among others.
Four people share their UK holiday plans, looking at how rising costs are affecting domestic getaways as well as overseas travel.
“The same cottage in Devon cost me 60% more this year”
After an “absolutely brilliant” family holiday in Devon last August, London bookseller Ian Torrens booked the same cottage again this year – only to find the price had jumped 60% for the same week in August. “I didn’t really notice the price as I was only paying a £25 deposit at the time. It was only after booking that the price dropped. I did it without thinking too much because I assumed it would be similar to last year, ”says Torrens, 57, explaining that he initially thought it must have been a mistake, and emailed the company to confirm.
Although they enjoyed driving across the English Channel to France, Torrens hasn’t taken a family trip abroad since the pandemic. Her 22-year-old son is classified as clinically extremely vulnerable, and they have decided to “take no chances” with a trip abroad. Watching the news of the travel chaos in recent weeks, Torrens believes the decision to stay local was the right one: “Now you hear all the nightmares of planes and ferries – it just seemed like a good idea to stay in the UK . It will be a good vacation, just a little expensive.
“Package holidays are much more expensive than before the pandemic”
While before the pandemic self-employed gardener Lee Sugden, 50, traveled to destinations such as India and Thailand, this summer he will stay closer to home. “Holidays and flights are much more expensive than before the pandemic,” he says, giving the example of a Cape Verde package holiday: “What we were paying, sort of £700 for [a few years ago]is now [about] £1,000.
Instead, Sugden, who lives in Stroud, Gloucestershire, plans to holiday at a friend’s cottage on the Isle of Man in September. The uncertainty around Covid also played a part. “We don’t fully trust the Covid situation yet. We’re just concerned about the cancellation — it’s not so much about getting sick, but about the repercussions of getting sick,” he says. And if the accommodation will be free, the transport turns out to be more expensive than expected. “It was a better part of £350 just to get to the island [on the ferry with a van]says Sugden. “The actual cost of diesel also becomes a very obvious expense. Whereas in the past you didn’t really think twice about it, now it’s around 120 pounds to fill the van.
“Our caravan holiday will cost £25 a night”
Once the school holidays begin in Scotland, program manager Peter Vincent, 49, will travel from West Lothian to a caravan site in Dumfries and Galloway with his family. It will cost the family of four £25 a night to stay there in their caravan, while he estimates their daily budget will be around £100. “I can’t even get a flight for that price to go abroad,” he says, adding that while they would have loved to visit Greece this summer, it wasn’t an option financially.
However, the family of four took an overseas trip to Tenerife over the Easter holidays, and Vincent noticed how much the prices had risen. He estimated a restaurant meal cost ‘about a third’ more than before the pandemic, although he attributes some of that to his teenagers, aged 14 and 16, who were eating more than there were. two years. Along with holiday costs, which cost the family a total of £1,600 in flights, Vincent was keen to avoid another arduous trip to the airport this summer. “It totally puts you off, especially if you have kids,” he says. “It’s getting harder and harder to do these things.”
“It might be cheaper to fly to Spain than drive to Suffolk”
For Isabella Pashley, 60, the ideal summer vacation would be a trip to Spain. “I looked for cheap flights to Bilbao – I wanted to go to San Sebastián in September when my son finishes his masters,” she says. “I would have loved to go abroad, somewhere with culture, sand and sea.” But the “chaotic situation” at British airports prevents him from booking: “My local airport is Manchester airport… We don’t know if [the travel chaos] going to clear up by then,” she said.
Pashley, from Derbyshire, has yet to decide on a course of action, explaining she will wait until next month to see if the travel situation improves. Otherwise, she hopes to spend a few days in London and Suffolk instead, but notes that “it might be cheaper to fly abroad than to drive” in the south of England, with fuel costs being significant, as well as the broader cost of living crisis driving up rental and restaurant prices. “There’s no argument about it – it’s just [due to] the situation at airports. Right now it looks so bad – I don’t really know what to do. You hear horrible stories [about] Manchester Airport.