Saving money on a staycation
Published: 7th Apr 2012 00:57:50
At the Natural History Museum in London, there is a 45-minute queue for the dinosaur exhibition, the noise levels are climbing by the second, and children are dashing around between the exhibits.
Welcome to the vivacity of the Easter holiday season.
Entry to this museum is free, as it is at many other museums and galleries across the country.
But, talk to parents, and they will say that the cost of days out with their families remains a key issue of concern during the holiday period.
Michael and Emma Griffiths have brought their family to London to celebrate daughter Katie's 10th birthday.
"We have had to purchase train tickets for five of us," says Mr Griffiths.
"We have had to get our lunch. We are going to the circus this afternoon, which costs quite a bit of money. And then we have got to get our tea, and also the train ticket home. So all in all, I'd say it will cost about £200 for the day."
Jason and Sally Hickling, from Lincolnshire, wanted to do something more educational than a beach holiday with their two girls. They have budgeted £1,500 for five days in the capital.
Elly Boakes is just up for the day. She has travelled from Lowestoft with her daughters. She says it is not easy.
"First there are the gift shops, then they want lunch, they want to eat out," she says.
"I love having them off school, but I do not know how I am going to afford the rest of the two-week holiday."
Michael Oliver is a senior retail analyst with research company Mintel. He says that as people feel the pinch, prices of attractions and days out become more important.
"Around two-fifths of people are cutting back on their leisure spending at the moment. One of the key aspects is that they are looking for value for money," he says.
"Around three-quarters say they are always on the lookout for deals. So if attractions want to keep their customers, that is what they really need to focus on."
Tourist boards for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have taken this on board. They are running a campaign to persuade people to holiday at home or, as they call it, enjoy a staycation.
As well as adverts featuring the likes of Stephen Fry, actress Julie Walters and Harry Potter star Rupert Grint, they have set up a website especially for 2012.
It offers discounts of 20.12% on everything from accommodation and attractions, to events.
The number of people staycationing in England went up by 9% in 2011 compared with 2010, Visit England says.
Generally, 84% of all visitors to Scotland are from the UK. That figure climbs to 90% in Wales, the tourist boards say.
The equivalent body in Northern Ireland says its saw a 21% increase in those on staycation in 2010 from 2009.
"There are a million reasons why you should do it this year. It is a special year," says Sarah Long, of tourism body Visit England.
"We have got the Olympics, the torch relay throughout the country, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and the cultural festival with lots of free events.
"So as well all the fantastic things we have in terms of buzzing cities, fantastic coastlines, glorious countryside, we have also got these once-in-a-generation events happening this year.
"We have done some research with people who took a holiday in this country last year, and 85% said they had a really good or excellent time."
Miss Long says tourists can take easy steps to cut down on costs.
"There are really obvious things like taking a packed lunch, or making a really nice picnic," she says.
"That helps to save the pennies. And there are fantastic green spaces throughout this country that are completely and utterly free for a really lovely day out with the family."
Her top tip is to plan ahead.
"You won't believe how much money you can save when you buy an annual attractions pass. You can get those for lots of different destinations around the country," she says.
"Also, make sure you do your research and book your transport way ahead of time so you can get discounts on coaches and trains and all sorts of transport methods.
"Essentially, treat your holiday in this country as you would for one overseas. Do your research and you'll get a much better deal."
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Saving money on a staycation [Online] (Updated 7th Apr 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1421097/Saving-money-on-a-staycation [Accessed 24th Apr 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com