Over the past five years, it’s been clear to many in the travel industry (including myself) that there’s been a significant growth in people taking weekend breaks or short breaks.
We’re all becoming a little more adventurous, even post-Brexit – living life to the full and soaking in as many experiences as possible is top of our agenda.
New research put together by Mintel, a respected research agency, and ABTA, a trusted travel brand, shows us that 41 per cent of the UK population have taken a weekend city or short beach break in the last 12 months, either in the UK or overseas.
“The short break is as popular as ever, we are starting to opt for alternative destinations and use familiar destinations in different ways.”
– Bob Atkinson, TravelSupermarket (2016)
ABTA research suggests that 25-34 year olds are the cause of this monumental shift in the travel industry, closely followed by changing attitudes in 45-54 year olds. Just three in ten 25-34 year olds would take an extended beach break over a city break.
Previous Head of Communications at ABTA, Victoria Bacon, has said; “The differing range of holidays that people can take is changing year on year, there’s more available to consumers than just traditional beach breaks. It’s encouraging to see that both younger and older consumers are opting for short-haul weekend breaks, cruises, train and activity holidays, with more consumers than ever researching and booking their weekend breaks independently.”
So with this in mind I decided to delve a little deeper into the many reasons causing this…
We now take more than one holiday a year
For the most part, despite the recent referendum, we’ve all got a few more pennies to spend and it looks like we’re investing this by heading off on holidays – more than one a year. Since holidays became a popular trend after WW2, it was traditional to take a singular family holiday once a year – typically to Butlins but times have changed. We now take multiple holidays, with different people and for different lengths of time. We vary our holidays depending on how much money we have at any given time – so if you’ve splurged on a luxury Bali holiday for the summer, inspired by Eat, Pray Love, you may only hop to Edinburgh for Christmas. It’s all a matter of balance.
We’re opting more for UK staycations
Recent surveys tell us that many of us are opting for a cheeky UK staycation, inspired by friends, families and respected online influencers. Holiday cottages in Wales, factory- inspired AirBnBs in Manchester and camping in Cornwall are still all as much a part of the agenda as they were a couple of years ago – in fact they’re growing in popularity with many of us seeking value for our money and choosing to explore where we live before heading overseas. After all, there are some incredible places to visit on our own shores and the service in the UK by hosts is exceptional.
We’re looking for value
With so many online price comparison sites popping up in the past five years, it’s now easier than ever to book yourself a cheap break away for you and whomever you want to travel with. All we need do is pop in a few details or simply browse prices to realise how cheap a given destination is.
The most value can often be sought on short-haul weekend breaks and those who book roughly 11 months in advance. This is why Barcelona, Crete and Amsterdam have all seen spikes in popularity – they’re giving us the most value for money in terms of flights, accommodation and memories. Because if you’ve got that little bit of extra cash and you have a spare weekend, why not!
We want to see the world spontaneously
Coupled with the previous point, last minute breaks are also seeing a resurgence – it’s a fact that most people want to see as much of the world in our lifetimes as possible.
What’s also true is that we want to see them on a whim, for the most part – I know I do! A travel blog, cookery programme or our favourite magazine may have inspired us but what’s clear is that we act on our spontaneous desires more than we used to. I’m sure you’ve been there when you’ve been watching something like Sunday Brunch, you’ve spotted some delicious Moroccan recipes and thought, ‘Let me just check flights on my phone.’ Go on. Admit it. We see that these short trips are achievable and enjoyed by others with the photos and videos available in real-time on social media, so we want a slice of the action ourselves. It’s only natural.
We want to escape work stresses
It’s no shock to anyone that we work long and hard to build our careers, so it’s also no surprise that now and then we need an escape. We need to step away from our desks; from the school run and endless commutes for a little ‘me time’, ‘family time’ or just a blow out with the girls/guys. Short and weekend breaks have been a way of doing this – taking a 2-day jaunt to Berlin, a 3-day road-trip to the South of France, heck, one colleague I know even flies to the USA just for 24 hours! Now I’m not suggesting everyone does that but it does highlight the point that from time to time we all need a little break from routine. One of the best ways of doing this is by exploring a brand new culture for a weekend and immersing ourselves in something altogether different.
Personally, I went to Disneyland Paris for my last weekender but Google Trends suggests that Austria, Switzerland, Greece, Croatia, Denmark, Iceland, Portugal, Germany, Spain, Italy and Ireland are all top of our lists!
So, where are you jetting off to next?