Insights from the UK and beyond
First recession, now ash – staycation anyone?
With summer 2010 set to be marked by repeated airspace shutdowns and airline strikes, suddenly that trip to Cornwall in a caravan looks like a winning alternative to spending hours trapped in an airport terminal.
The “staycation” was big news last year, as recession-hit Brits took to the seaside towns and beauty spots of the UK in order to keep holiday costs down and avoid getting punished by rough exchange rates.
The trend boosted sales of caravans and bikes and led to high demand for camping holidays, despite the unpredictable weather.
This year it seems like the snappily-named Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland and the ongoing battle between British Airways and the union over staff conditions could conspire to ensure the staycation remains a key trend for 2010.
After hearing stories of week-long treks via road and rail and hours spent in ferry terminals during the shutdown of European airspace last month, at least one of my family is on the verge of cancelling their annual vacation abroad to avoid any fallout from the ash.
Airlines, already battered by the global recession, maintain that recent short airpsace closures have been an overreaction, but experts believe the ash cloud could go on wrecking trips for a while yet.
Meanwhile, there are those who are rubbing their hands at the prospect that we will all abandon the Costa del Sol for good in favour of the Peak District.
Shortbreak specialist Let’s Stay UK, which helps travellers find accommodation, says improvements in B&Bs and hotels have also made holidaying here a more pleasant experience and even believes the staycation is here for good.