Staycation is a controversial term - for some it means in your local town or city, for me it means somewhere in your country (or strictly speaking for me, somewhere in the UK).
I have always been an advocate for the Great British staycation, I even shared my favourite places to holiday in a blog post this time last year and this year whilst I'm not going on a big holiday, I'm racking up the miles on shorter breaks. This year I've already been to Manchester and North Wales for a few days to see my uni friends, spent a long weekend in North Devon and am off to Dorset next week with a gals holiday booked in Hampshire for September.
With that in mind, here's my tips for a cheeky holiday in Britain;
Budget and cost is the absolute first thing you need to look at when it comes to staying in the UK as prices vary around the country. Cornwall, Devon, Hampshire and Dorset at holidaymaker haven and thus, normally come with the premium price tag whereas less frequented places like North Wales and Norfolk often come a bit cheaper. The other thing to consider is when it's all factored in- is the staycation cheaper than flying out of the country? Often we choose to stay at home because we can't afford a decent holiday abroad but sometimes with a £20.00 flight under our belt and a self catering package deal, you might find the white sands of Spain cheaper than a cottage in Sussex.
For me being able to drive (and being confident in it) means the world is my oyster when it comes to picking where I want to go. Save the centre of London I'll pretty much drive anywhere on whatever type of road for however long is needed but if you can't drive or you don't like driving or you won't go on motorways then you need to consider access. I have found that exclusively driving is cheaper than trains - and I have a railcard with a third off ticket prices. Petrol simply works out cheaper and the luxury to stop, to take as much luggage as I want and to share the cost/driving with someone else means I won't take the train on hols again. If you're relying on public transport make sure you research what the connections are like where you're going. Consider city centres or places with good bus links (that run at all hours of the day) to make getting about when you're there all the easier. If you're taking the car make sure you research what parking is available to you.
I find accommodation varies dependant on the length of time you're staying away. Generally if I'm only on a long weekend I'll check into a Premier Inn because the prices are the cheapest 9 times out of 10 and you know what you're getting. Consider the type of holiday you want and what kind of relaxation you're after - because that's really what it's about. If you want to be pampered and spend your evenings by a pool think spa resort/nice hotel? If all you want is a bed to crash your head and a place you won't be spending much actual time in then start looking at hostels. For me I've always gone down the self catering route because I think it just gives you the freedom to do whatever the hell you like. When going away for a week or more I tend to book with well known holiday cottage companies like Welcome Cottages or Sykes and I've stayed in some amazing cottages and barn conversions. Don't overlook Air B&B too who have a massive range of whole properties to rent and often work out cheaper per night, especially if there's a lot of you. And if you're on a group holiday and using your accommodation simply as a base to go out and explore don't overlook caravan parks. I was really snobby about them before I went to stay in one on the clifftops in Cornwall and actually it was one of the best holidays I've had. It cost us 100 quid for a week, had a swimming pool and mini golf and a shop on site and we had such a blast - just remember to check policies on groups of young adults because sometimes they won't be allowed.
Now I am not one of these people who can just lounge around and chill on holiday - if you are one of those people bound for relaxation and just a bit of pottering then the location you're staying in is likely to be less important in terms of what's around you. For me, I like to do and see stuff and I'm not adversed to driving an hour from where I'm staying to go and visit something. If you do have the car then staying a bit further off the beaten track is often the cheaper thing to do. We stayed in a part of Devon I didn't know one year simply because it was much cheaper and we were typically driving around 45 minutes - 1 and a half hours to get to stuff and we didn't mind a jot. Research what's down there, see how far everything is from one another and work out how you'll get to it all. Also when you're looking at websites online keep your eye out for discount codes and pop ups as most places now give you something like 10% off the entry price if you book online.
Similarly to actvities in the surrounding area, you need to know you've got your staple amenities within reach, be that walking, in the car or on public transport. Check out how far away the local supermarket is or if they deliver, where the nearest corner shop is, the local pub, somewhere decent for food, the post box for all them postcards you're sending... Whatever it is that you need close by, make sure you know where it is and if you can get there before confirming anything.
I think there's a real feeling that a staycation can be a bit boring because you're not away somewhere hot and hazy abroad but just think of the heatwave we had in June, being in the UK was just as lovely as being in Europe. Leave behind the fear that it won't feel like a proper holiday, forget you're in Britain, avoid all things that make you feel like you're at home (we don't watch the local news when we're away and we very rarely stay in Wales because it just feels too similar). Try and go somewhere you've never been before and trust me when I say the excitement is still there exploring somewhere new - UK or no UK.