Hopping onto a plane for a week of guaranteed sun in August is looking less and less likely for UK holidaymakers. As a result, lots of people are staying nearer to home and visiting a caravan holiday park or a lodge park. Demand and prices have certainly gone up but there are still some simple tricks to help you afford a holiday this summer.
1. Book the last week of the summer holidays.
Demand for holidays drops considerably in the last week before children head back to school in early September. The nights aren’t quite as warm and there are back to school jobs that need doing, such as ironing labels into every jumper and pair of socks. However, busy resorts aren’t quite so crowded in late August and you can save yourself a hefty sum if you holiday during the final week compared to the third or fourth week of the summer break.
For example, we looked for a lodge at a posh seaside resort on the Isle of Wight in late August/early September and found that a family of four would pay about half the price of a holiday in early August. In that instance the saving was more than £1200.
2. Arrive on a weekday.
Some of the bigger holiday park companies, such as Haven, will give you a discount of as much as £100 if you arrive on a Monday or a Friday instead of a Saturday. Most families stick to the traditional Saturday to Saturday holiday, but it’s a simple way to save some money if you have the flexibility.
3. Book a privately owned caravan or lodge.
Most of the bigger caravan holiday parks sell some of their caravans to private owners who then use them for their own holidays or rent them out. You won’t find these hidden caravans and lodges on the official websites for companies such as Parkdean Resorts. Instead, you need to look on accommodation websites such Airbnb or HolidayLettings. Owners set their own prices and upload their own photos so you might be able to bag a bargain. If you want the cheapest accommodation search for caravans or if you want proper sized beds, ensuite toilets and full size kitchens then you’ll want to search for lodges.
4. Fill up the largest caravan you can find.
Assuming that government restrictions allow it, you can save yourself a considerable sum by sharing with friends or family. We’ve seen occasions where two four berth caravans will cost you £1000 more than one caravan for eight people. Admittedly you will need to get on pretty well, as two people will be sleeping in the lounge but the savings are appealing. Personally, I would agree to eat out more often rather than trying to cater for eight in a small kitchen.
5. Try Scotland.
As a very general rule, holiday parks in the North of England and Scotland are cheaper than those in Devon and Cornwall. Obviously there are exceptions, but there are definitely some real deals to be had if you head north of the border. We searched for the cheapest caravans at big sites run by Haven in Cornwall and Scotland in early August and found that the Scottish resorts were sometimes half the price for the cheapest available caravan. Of course, the resorts may have different facilities and you might not see as much sunshine but it’s worth doing a comparison.