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."
At 21:06:53 in SportEngland's Steph Slater took silver as Australian teenager Maddison Elliott set a new world record to win the Para-sport S8 100m freestyle at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
At 21:05:17 in SportScotland's fine medal run in the pool continued with Daniel Wallace securing gold in the men's 400m individual medley.
At 20:51:57 in SportCalum Jarvis broke the Welsh record twice in one day as he claimed bronze in the 200m freestyle final.
At 20:46:55 in EnglandA man has pleaded guilty to three counts of actual bodily harm after a liquid, thought to be ammonia, was sprayed on three men in south London.
At 20:46:39 in SportEngland won three gold medals and Scotland one on day two of the Commonwealth Games judo in Glasgow.
At 20:44:40 in SportSycerika McMahon leads the Northern Ireland challenge in the pool on Saturday with the teenager going in the 200m breaststroke heats at Tollcross.
At 20:32:41 in EnglandA dog that escaped into a neighbour's garden and bit a woman as she sunbathed has been put down, police have said.
At 20:30:44 in EnglandA man has been jailed for life for the murder of his brother following a family funeral in south east London.
At 20:28:35 in EnglandLow cloud has forced the cancellation of flights on the first day of the 26th annual Sunderland International Airshow.
At 20:17:48 in EnglandA man has been charged with breaching Birmingham Airport security and boarding an empty plane.
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 25th Jul 2014]
News In Other Categories
Police are hunting a 42-year-old man who has been missing since 14 July.
When this picture of Ed Miliband's battle with a bacon butty hit the news, the Labour team pulled a few faces of their own. So why is the party's leader talking about how he looks?
Would it be better if the NHS bought in bulk?
Eleanor Bron has joined the cast of Radio 4's rural drama series The Archers, playing a character who first appeared in it 60 years ago.
England's Steph Slater took silver as Australian teenager Maddison Elliott set a new world record to win the Para-sport S8 100m freestyle at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
People who are ignoring signs not to walk along a County Antrim coastal path are putting their lives at risk, the mayor of Carrickfergus has warned.