Should I stay or should I fly? Staycation Vs Vacation

The economy might be starting to take off – but should we do the same? After years of staycation misery in damp UK campsites, we have to ask – is holidaying at home really the best value option?

APH.com tackles this conundrum and counts the cost of holidaying in the UK versus travelling abroad. Read on to find out which option is victorious in our epic battle between Staycation and Vacation.

Ready to go - but where should you be heading?

Ready to go – but where should you be heading?

Should I stay or should I go…

Directly comparing two specific holidays isn’t possible, so we’re going to look at various aspects of your trip and how they combine to reveal whether staying at home or heading overseas provides the best value.

Meet the Fictionals and Flexibles

We’ll be using two hypothetical families – the Fictionals and Flexibles – to help provide the information.

Mr and Mrs Fictional live in Beech Crescent, Kettering NN15 and have a five-year-old son, Freddy. This means their trip will be during his school’s summer holiday when prices tend to be at their highest.

However, school holidays aren’t an issue for the Fictional’s neighbours – Mr and Mrs Flexible – whose children have left home. This means they can benefit from the best deals both home and abroad.

The Holidays

Our imaginary families are lucky enough to be taking two holidays this year. The staycation destination is St Ives in Cornwall, while the overseas trip will take them to the family-friendly favourite of Puerto Pollensa in Majorca.

Both of the Fictional family’s breaks were booked two months in advance and fall during Freddy’s summer holiday – departing Saturday July 26 and returning August 2. The Flexibles chose to holiday just prior to the end of term – July 12 – 19.

Round 1: Getting there…

So, how much will travelling to a holiday destination in the UK cost compared with heading overseas? We’ll compare the cost-per-mile price of travelling to both UK and foreign resorts. The families will drive and and take the train to St Ives for our test, while also motoring to Luton Airport to catch their flight to Majorca.

The Fictionals: Travelling July 26 – August 2

Staycation by car: Kettering – St Ives
The Fictional family’s Ford S-Max is brimmed with fuel and the sat-nav’s loaded with the address of their hotel in St Ives. The device tells them the 325 mile trip should take just over five hours. Their car’s average economy of 35mpg will be hit by stop-start holiday traffic – and filling up on the motorway won’t be cheap at an average of 147.61 per litre of diesel.
Total distance: 650 miles (return trip)
Total price: £149.50
Cost per mile: 23p

Staycation by train: Kettering – St Ives
The Fictional family start their trip by loading suitcases and five-year-old Freddy into a taxi from home in Kettering to Corby Railway Station. From Corby, it’s a 70-minute ride to London St Pancras, then a 15-minute stint on the underground to catch the St Ives train from London Paddington. Arriving in St Ives, it’s just a five-minute taxi ride to their three-star hotel. Along with the return train fare, Mr and Mrs Fictional will also pay a total of £30 for taxis to and from Kettering and Corby, along with £10 for the transfers in St Ives.
Total distance: 650 miles (based on road route)
Total price: £398.25
Cost per mile: 61p (train tickets booked two months in advance using the cheapest Super Off-Peak option)

Airliner landing and passing over palm trees

Vacation by plane: Kettering – Puerto Pollensa, Majorca
The Fictionals booked with with EasyJet, paying for two bags in the hold. The family will drive to Luton Airport where they’ve booked airport parking through APH.com at a cost of just £24.99 for the week with Airparks Luton Long Term Value. The flight to Majorca takes around two hours, after which the family pick up their £39.60 pre-booked return Airport Transfer from Palma de Mallorca Airport to their hotel in Puerto Pollensa.
Total distance: 1926 miles
Total price: £776.57
Cost per mile: 40p

The Flexibles: Travelling July 12 – July 19

Staycation by car: Kettering – St Ives
Mr and Mrs Flexible pay the same as their friends the Fictionals for the journey to St Ives.
Total distance: 650 miles (return trip)
Total price: £149.50
Cost per mile: 23p

Staycation by train: Kettering – St Ives
Like the Fictional family, the Flexible’s pay for a £30 return taxi ride from Kettering to Corby Railway Station, a train journey to London St Pancras, a 15-minute jaunt on the underground and on to St Ives from London Paddington. Then it’s a £10 return taxi ride to their hotel.
Total distance: 650 miles (based on road route)
Total price: £326.00
Cost per mile: 50p (train tickets booked two months in advance using the cheapest Super Off-Peak option)

Vacation by plane: Kettering – Puerto Pollensa, Majorca
The Flexibles travel on Sat July 12 and return a week later on the 19th. They booked with EasyJet and paid for two bags in the hold. They have also reserved airport parking through APH.com at a cost of just £24.99 with Airparks Luton Long Term Value. On arrival in Majorca the couple pick up their £39.60 pre-booked return Airport Transfer from Palma de Mallorca Airport to the hotel in Puerto Pollensa.
Total distance: 1926 miles
Total price: £361.55
Cost per mile: 19p

Getting there verdict:

The Fictionals: Driving is a clear winner here, while the school holiday-weighted cost-per-mile price of flying is a reasonably respectable second – ahead of the more expensive, but environmentally friendly option of train travel.
Winner: Staycation

The Flexibles: With the ability to travel outside of school holidays, air travel provides by far the best value for Mr and Mr Flexible. Once again, though, the greener train option is disappointingly expensive.
Winner: Vacation

Round 2: Accommodation:

Port de Pollensa

Puerto Pollensa

Now that our families have sorted their travel arrangements, it’s time to find out the cost of booking a hotel room for the week. Here we look at the average price for hotel rooms in England and Spain. These guide prices are based on average hotel prices by country with a 20% premium for accommodation booked during school holidays.

The Fictionals

Staycation – Seven nights St Ives:
With hotels charging around 20% more for rooms in school holidays, the Fictional family will be hit hard because UK accommodation is already more expensive than in Majorca. Here’s what they’ll be paying for a seven-night stay in their St Ives hotel.
Accommodation: £682.50 (seven nights)
Per night: £97.50

Vacation – Seven nights Puerto Pollensa:
After the added expense of the air fare to Majorca, the Fictionals will be relieved to experience the benefits of cheaper hotel accommodation in the warmer climes of Majorca.
Accommodation: £484.68 (seven nights)
Per night: £69.24

The Flexibles

Staycation – Seven nights St Ives:
Taking their holiday during term time will undoubtedly save cash for the Flexibles when it comes to booking accommodation – but will it be cheaper than heading abroad?
Accommodation: £568.75 (seven nights)
Per night: £81.25

Vacation – Seven nights Puerto Pollensa:
Once again, the financial advantage of travelling outside school holidays is apparent, with the Flexibles enjoying their holiday accommodation at the lowest price of all our options.
Accommodation: £403.90 (seven nights)
Per night: £57.70

Accommodation verdict:

The Fictionals: Slashing almost £200 from what they’d pay in the UK, the Fictional family’s trip to Majorca clearly records a victory for value in this round of our comparison.
Winner: Vacation

The Flexibles: With a saving of £165 over staycation prices, heading abroad is looking even better for the flexibles. Their overseas vacation is yet to be bothered by the staycation alternative.
Winner: Vacation

Round 3: Holiday living costs:

Holiday food

With travel and accommodation taken care of, it’s time for our two families to consider how much spending money they’ll require. The Post Office publishes a basket of holiday essentials, which reveals how much travellers will pay for food and goods such as a three-course meal, cup of coffee, bottle of beer, glass of wine, soft drink, bottled water, suncream, insect repellent, cigarettes and newspapers. These prices shouldn’t be affected by school holidays, so we’ve combined results for both the Fictional and Flexible families.

The Fictionals and Flexibles

Staycation – Seven nights St Ives:
Items include:Cup of coffee, bottle of beer/lager, bottle/can of Coca-Cola/ Pepsi, glass of wine, 1.5l bottle of mineral water, sun cream, cigarettes, three-course evening meal for two (including bottle of house wine)
Total for holiday essentials basket: £78.01

Vacation – Seven nights Puerto Pollensa:
Items include: Cup of coffee, bottle of beer/lager, bottle/can of Coca-Cola/ Pepsi, glass of wine, 1.5l bottle of mineral water, sun cream, cigarettes, three-course evening meal for two (including bottle of house wine)

Total for holiday essentials basket: £55.46

Living costs verdict:

The Fictionals and Flexible: According to the eighth annual Post Office Travel Money report on holiday cash, the strength of sterling against the euro, combined with price drops in foreign resorts, means Brits abroad could have up to 32% more spending power in 2014. This means living costs are clearly more appealing for those heading to Majorca.

Additionally, with the holiday essentials basket translating into a daily saving that could easily reach £10 per day, per person in Majorca – there’s a potential financial incentive of around £210 for the Fictional family, while the Flexibles could cut costs by £140. There’s just one victor here…
Winner: Vacation

Round 4: Entertainment:

weather

Weather will make a big impact on your holiday enjoyment – and spending

Most holidaymakers want to hit the beach or pool and enjoy the weather on a summer holiday, however bad weather can easily force sun seekers from the beach and add £100s through trips to expensive tourist attractions. So, how’s the weather looking for our destinations?

Staycation: St Ives:
Here are the highs and lows for St Ives’ weather averages during July.
Average temp (high): 17C
Average temp (low): 12C
Average sea temps: 16C
Average daily sunshine: 8 hours
Average rainfall: 66mm

Vacation – Puerto Pollensa:
Here are the facts and figures for Puerto Pollensa’s average weather for July.
Average temp (high): 29C
Average temp (low): 18C
Average sea temps: 24C
Average daily sunshine: 11 hours
Average rainfall: 9mm

Weather verdict:

The Fictionals and Flexibles: The lower temperatures and high chance of rain in St Ives will make worrying reading for both our families. Poor weather will force holidaymakers to abandon cheap beach time in search of entertainment in covered attractions. Unplanned trips such as these can add £100s to the cost of holidaying for both our families, so the increased chance of unsettled weather confirms more bad news for St Ives in this round.
Winner: Vacation

And the winner is…

Despite the higher cost of getting there during school holidays, travelling abroad was victorious in the overall battle by three rounds to one for our Fictional family, while delivering a 4-0 knockout win for Mr and Mrs Flexible.

Additionally, on a purely financial footing, with the savings on accommodation, daily spending and possible bad weather taken into account there’s very little monetary difference between the two holiday options. It seems that the staycation might not be the best value after all – so put that tent right back in the shed now!.

Use our at-a-glance interactive infographic, above, to compare out two destinations.

Final scores

Here are the full results of the staycation vs the vacation…

Fictional family:

Staycation 1
Vacation 3

Flexible family:

Staycation 0
Vacation
4

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