In 2017, 72% of the UK who went on holiday took a break somewhere within the UK, a figure which has gradually been crawling upwards since 2015. 30% only holidayed in the UK in comparison to the 15% who only went away to a foreign country, according to ABTA’s annual Holiday Habits Report. With the pound all over the place, for many holidayers going on breaks abroad seems like the more expensive option. However, we think staycations are rarely much cheaper and that a trip to a country in Europe offers much better value for money.

How Much Does Travelling to Europe Cost in 2018?


Going to the Gran Canaria, you can expect the flight to take just under 4 and a half hours. Swap for a staycation to Bournemouth, which takes approximately 4 hours if you’re coming from the Midlands. The picture is far worse. Driving along the M5, you can probably already hear the faint, near-constant mantra of ‘Are we nearly there yet?’ over and over again.

On the flipside, though your children may be a bit of a handful, going on a plane is far more exciting for them than sitting in the car, bored of the sight of the endless motorway and service stations. Follow our parent airport hacks and you’re already one step closer to a stress-free flight. With in-flight films often included on longer flights, ensure you’re stocked up on toys and food, too and you’re away. Sure, there is the potential for you to do this in the car, too. But it’s not anywhere near as exciting and, let’s face it, you get bored sat in the car as well.


Booking a hotel is where prospective travellers assume things are likely to get more expensive when going abroad. Travelling from Birmingham Airport to Gran Canaria, you can find a studio with balcony or terrace for two adults and two children for just over £1,500. Packages like this with TUI also include the cost of your flights, as well as airport transfers.

Browsing at holiday cottages in Bournemouth, you can expect to pay over £1,000 on average. This cost, of course, does not include the amount you will have paid out to fuel your car. Nor the amount of time you inevitably wasted sitting stock-still in motorway traffic jams. At least you can almost guarantee a comfier flight with the freedom to stand up and stretch your legs.


Around the £1,600 mark you can expect to get half boarding with your holiday package and have your breakfast and evening meal sorted. In comparison, you’ll be looking at spending an average of £53.20 for your family weekly shop in a self-catering UK cottage. This doesn’t include all those items already in your cupboards like tea and coffee and washing up liquid. Although the price difference may speak for itself, consider the time it takes dragging yourself and your children around the supermarket and all the extra expenses of them sneaking other things into the trolley. Not to mention the time you will spend sweating over the hot stove. And, if you can’t convince your children to pick up the slack, washing up.

On the other hand, half board may add a couple of hundred pounds to your overall holiday package in Europe. Still, food really is just as much a part of the overall holiday experience. Half board gives you freedom to choose where and what you eat at lunch. You can even sample the local cuisine, or simply fill yourself up at breakfast to save the euros. Best of all, you won’t have to see a pair of marigolds all week. Sit back, relax and be catered for.


You can’t really put a price on guaranteed good weather. Many go abroad merely to get their fix of Vitamin D. Yes, your Bournemouth cottage may come with a pool. You may be willing to risk a limb to take a dip in the English seaside. But nothing beats a hotel with a pool in at least high-twenty-degree heat. The likelihood of you being rained in for the full week of your holiday is slim and with many hotels offering sports and other activities, there’s no shortage of things for you and your family to do. No need to worry about thinking up new ways to entertain your kids, you may even manage a few sacred minutes laying back on your sun bed, cocktail and a good book in hand.

So okay, staycations may be the cheaper option by a few hundred pounds, but we still think you’re losing out. By going abroad to Europe, you get better value for the money you spend and a more enjoyable holiday experience. In less sun, sea and sand isn’t on your holiday tick list, a cottage in Bournemouth really isn’t going to cut it. By British summer time standards, you can expect it to rain almost as much as it does the rest of the year. And you’ll probably find yourself more exhausted than you would if you’d just stayed at home instead.

Get more great advice for when you next travel by reading our Parking at Airport blog!

Posted By: Alice Marshall – 28th February 2018