For many avid-adventurers, holidays are the highlight of the year. We look forward to spending quality time with our favourite people, experiencing new things, and chasing that Instagram-worthy picture. They also give us the opportunity to tick a few items off our bucket list and make some lifetime memories.
On the downside, they can be hugely expensive – especially if you’re dreaming of a far-flung destination. The truth is, we don’t all have the time – or the funds – to visit these luxurious destinations, which can leave us wondering how long we have to wait for our next adventure.
But holidays don’t just have to be in exotic destinations – it’s actually possible to have your dream holiday in the UK at a fraction of the cost.
In order to put this to the test, international ferry company Stena Line decided to ask the UK public what their dream holiday activities include. They found that the top 5 most desired holiday activities were:
- Safari experiences
- Thermal springs
- Whale watching
But instead of stopping there, they opted to show UK holidaymakers how they can have their dream holiday without splashing out a small fortune. After scouring the UK they found destinations where you can surf, safari and ski for significantly less than jetting off abroad – saving you more than £4,500 in the process!
Most people dream of the day they can jet off to Hawaii and try their hand at riding the waves. It’s been dubbed by many as the surfing capital of the world, and its white sandy beaches and general surf culture make it the destination of choice for anyone that wants to familiarise themselves with this fun sport. Nonetheless, the ‘Hawaii-experience’ doesn’t come cheap.
When you consider that it takes around 17 hours to fly there, with one return ticket costing an average of £1,244, and that accommodation comes in at around £890 per room for just five days, it’s easy to see how to costs of Hawaii rack up quickly. You also have to add on the cost of an ESTA, surfboard hire, and spending money which takes us to a grand total of more than £2000 per person.
Fear not though – there is another option! Favoured by professional surfers from across the country, the Gower in Llangennith, Wales, is known as the heartland of Welsh surfing. Not only is it a fantastic place to practice surfing, but it also costs significantly less than travelling to Honolulu.
For a five-day stay, hotels in Llangennith average at £425 per room which is almost 50% cheaper than Honolulu accommodation. Additionally, you don’t need to worry about paying for an ESTA or airport transfer; the only other cost is surfboard hire which cost £80 per day. The grand total of this Welsh surfing trip comes to just £505 – a saving of over £1,500.
2. Safari experience
We’ve all heard of the Serengeti plains of Kenya: it’s renowned for being home to a vast selection of wildlife making it the dream destination for animal-loving travellers. Spanning thousands of miles, it’s perfect for anyone wanting a new adventure.
Nonetheless, it’s also very expensive.
As the best destination for an African safari, return flights for one person cost over £550 and that’s notincluding airport transfers. Also, the shortest safari trip of three days racks in at over £500 per person, and you’ll still need to cover the cost of a visa and vaccinations which comes to over £180.In total, for one person, this safari holiday costs an incredible £1,622.87.
Don’t worry though, because there is another option for your dream safari holiday – the West Midlands Safari Park. Located on the outskirts of Birmingham, this park gives you the opportunity to observe some of the world’s wildest animals with your loved ones. Not only is entry to the park considerably cheaper than heading out on an African safari, but hotels nearby also average at just £43 per night. Furthermore, in case you’re interested in a more hands-on experience, the park also offers VIP packages giving you the chance to make your trip even more enjoyable.
3. Thermal Springs
The Blue Lagoon in Iceland is renowned for its incredible natural beauty. Famous for its azure volcanic lake that contrasts starkly from its surrounding landscape, this destination has increased in popularity in recent years. It’s this popularity that’s led to the Blue Lagoon becoming one of the most expensive tourist destinations in the world.
For just one hour in this natural spring, it costs £44.60 per person – and that’s if you book tickets in advance. You then have to add on a stay at one of the only nearby hotels, such as the Silica, for an eye-watering £448.83 for a one-night stay.
It is possible to have this experience for a snippet of the cost, though, by visiting the Thermae Spa in Bath, England. Not only does it give you the chance to experience a real-life geothermal bath, but it’s also much kinder on your bank balance. It’s just £36 per person on a weekday, and accommodation only comes in at an average of £67 a night for a mid-range hotel in the area.
Because you don’t need to include the cost of flights, airport transfers, or spending money, this trip totals just £103.
4. Whale Watching
One creature that leaves many people in awe is whales. The largest of them reach up to 30 metres in length, and they’re one of the most beautiful creatures on the planet. Due to their incredible size, the only way to see these magnificent beasts in person is to venture into their habitat.
One of the most popular destinations for whale watching is Husavik, Iceland, and there are several companies who offer a selection of tours on traditional wooden boats. However, as mentioned above, Iceland is renowned as being one of the most expensive tourist destinations. Just 3 hours on the water costs £66.52 per person, nearby hotels come in at £103 a night per room, and return flights average at £396 per person. This takes the total of the trip to £565.52.
West Cork, Ireland, is the perfect alternative to Iceland for anyone that wants to go whale watching without spending a small fortune and travelling far from home. The whale watching experience in Cork is just £42.67 for 4 hours on the water, and hotels are only around £87 a night. Travelling to Ireland is also super easy with a ferry ride costing just £41 per person for an overnight stay.
One of the best skiing destinations in the world is the Matterhorn, based on the border between Italy and Switzerland. Holidaymakers from across the globe flock to Cervinia, a ski resort at the base of the Matterhorn, to put their skiing skills to the test.
Surprisingly, this snowy Italian paradise doesn’t cost much to fly to, with the average return ticket costing just £72. A one-day ski pass will also only set you back £18.79 per person too. However, it’s the cost of accommodation that really stings: two nights comes in an eye-watering £420 for one room.
A pretty awesome alternative, though, is the Glenshee Ski Resort in Scotland. Not only does it get fantastic snowfall throughout the year, but it also has a selection of both beginner and advanced slopes making it ideal for skiers with any amount of experience. Ski passes cost £32 for experienced skiers and £20 for beginners, and ski hire is only £23. Additionally, nearby accommodation averages at £55 per night. All in, that gives you a total saving of £500.
Have your dream holiday from home
Awesome holidays don’t have to be obnoxiously expensive – you can still make life-long memories, spend time with loved ones and try new things whilst staying within a budget – staying in the UK could be the perfect alternative.
A full breakdown of all prices can be found in this infographic on the Stena Line website, and in this table:
|Abroad (£)||At home (£)||Total Saving (£)||% Saving|