10 ways to save on your next staycation

Written by
Kara Gammell
28 October 2021
6 min read
Share article

With family finances being squeezed, more of us are opting for a "staycation" this year.

According to a study by the AA, more than half of drivers are planning to use their car to go on holiday in the UK this year.

Here are 10 ways to save when you holiday closer to home.

1. Get the right cover

While holidaying close to home might save money, foregoing insurance could be a costly mistake.

While a standard travel insurance policy will provide what you need in terms of cancellation or baggage cover and personal liability, just because you haven't jetted off to a far-flung destination doesn’t mean you don’t need protection.

Always make sure you buy your travel insurance policy as soon as you make your reservation. Doing so won’t cost any more, but you’ll be covered for any cancellations and mishaps in the lead-up to your trip, too.

As this type of cover is usually around two and a half times the price of single trip, it can prove better value if you travel at least three times a year

For those thinking of taking a caravanning break, it’s important that you get proper caravan cover (as well as car and travel insurance), as travel policies will not cover you for damage or theft of the caravan but will cover you for possessions in the vehicle.

And if you’re taking your bicycle along on your holiday, keep in mind that you will need to consider insurance. Most home insurance policies offer this as an add-on to your policy – though if it’s a particularly expensive model, a stand-alone policy will offer more comprehensive protection.

“If you work in a school or are travelling with your teenagers, make sure you pack your Totum card”

2. Theatre tickets for a fraction of the price 

Going to the theatre in London can be really expensive, especially if you don’t live close by. 

But if you are flexible and willing to go at the last minute, then bagging yourself a London lottery ticket may be just the thing for you. 

A theatre lottery is an online ticket system which distributes theatre show seats to random winners for a largely discounted price (roughly around £25 each) – and getting your hands on a pair of tickets is easier than you’d think. 

Find listings of all of the theatres that do front row lottery tickets, rush tickets and last-minute ticket releases at websites such as  www.todaystix.com or by visiting the theatre’s website directly. 

You can enter most lotteries as many times as you like; this will give you more chance of winning.  The performance could be the day of the draw, or up to a fortnight ahead. 

If you win, you'll be told by email. You've then normally a very limited time to decide to buy the tickets – though you're not obliged to. 

Even though you win, you will still have to pay - but it will be a top price seat for a fraction of the price. 

3. Have a “Day-Cay” 

Enjoy all the glamour of a hotel stay for up to 75% less than the normal cost. 

In a twist on the normal hotel experience, which sees guests sleep through most of their pricey stay, DayUse customers can take advantage of hotel facilities (think full access to the spa and leisure centre at chains such as Radisson and Hilton for six to eight hours during the day (when most rooms are usually empty) - to experience the suite life for significantly less than the cost of an overnight booking. 

A room at the stunning 5-star The Mayfair, for instance, can be booked via the platform for 63% less than the price of an overnight room, offering a saving of up to £281. 

Free cancellation and you pay at the hotel on arrival. 

4. Ride the rails for less 

If you travel by train often, it is worth investing in a Family & Friends Railcard. For £30 for one year, or £70 for three years, this card will get you a third off adult rail fares for up to four adults and 60% off for up to four kids between five and 15. 

Two adults can be named on one card, so when one cardholder isn’t using it, the other can. Over the course of a year,  Railcard  estimate you could save an average of £114. 

Your Railcard doesn’t just save you money on travel, it saves you money with their partners, too. 

Visit Offers and Rewards area and things to do in London page to find out more. 

To buy online, visit  familyandfriends-railcard.co.uk 

Many cities which are popular for business travellers such as London have fantastic room rates at the weekend once the ‘suits’ have left. 

5. Tap up your teen for discounts 

If you work in a school or are travelling with your teenagers, make sure you pack your Student Discount card. 

Not only can you use student discount to book your holiday, but your student ID could also help you save money while you're there – especially when it comes to museums, galleries and other tourist attractions. 

Buy a one-year TOTUM membership for £14.99 and which includes a digital International Student Identity Card (ISIC) card and it can get you heaps of discounts here in the UK, and also while you're abroad. 

6. Time it right for a city break 

Many cities which are popular for business travellers such as London have fantastic room rates at the weekend once the ‘suits’ have left.  You can sometimes find 4-star hotels for under £100 per night. 

You’re also more likely to get an upgrade to a suite when the hotel is quieter on a Sunday. 

7. Cheap days out when you take the train 

The summer months are a great time to take off to London to make the most of what the city has to offer. 

Travel by train during off-peak times and earn two-for-one entry to attractions such as Madame Tussauds, London Zoo and the London Aquarium at www.daysoutguide.co.uk 

But offers aren’t just for those heading to the capital and deals can be found across the country with two-for-one entry to attractions such as Thorpe Park, Brighton Pavilion and Chessington World of Adventures. 

Make sure you present your valid rail tickets alongside your downloaded two-for-one voucher at the attraction's box office. 

8. Food shopping for less 

No one wants the car boot space to be taken up by the weekly food shop when youhit the road on holiday. 

So, remember, you don’t need to take the entire fridge with you , just a few essentials to see you on your way - this is especially important if you have fussy eaters to cater for! 

Organise a food delivery to arrive at your destination after you arrive to avoid needing to pack groceries for the week. 

This will give you more space for other essential items and there will be no risk of smelly food leaks. 

If you’re struggling for space inside the car boot, then vacuum bags are a gamechanger 

9. Squeeze in even more in the boot 

If you’re struggling for space inside the car boot, then vacuum sealed bags are a gamechanger. 

You simply pack your clothes and then suck the air out to condense them down. 

This way you can save time on folding, but still enjoy more space in the car for items you might have purchased whilst on holiday. 

Having your handheld vacuum in the car will make this simple. 

10. Don’t burn cash on petrol 

Want to find the cheapest fuel prices in your area? There’s a free app for that. 

Check out PetrolPrices.com to compare petrol, diesel and premium fuel prices. 

Generally, fuel from supermarket forecourts is likely to be cheaper than at motorway service stations, so try to fill your tank before setting off on a long journey. 

For more hacks on cutting petrol costs, check out our article on  Petrol Hacks 

3 things to do right now...

Check that you have the right type of insurance for your holiday, whether it’s caravan or bicycle cover 

Meal plan and order food to be delivered to your destination and avoid spills/spoiling 

If you are a student or work in a school, register for a Totum card (previously called NUS) 

Please share this with someone who'd benefit from it.

Don’t forget that while you may think that this article is brilliant, it is intended for information purposes only and should not be mistaken for financial advice or recommendations.