Two thirds of drivers ditch holiday plans in favour of staycation road trips
Less than a third of drivers expect to take the summer holiday they had planned before the coronavirus outbreak, with a majority now planning on taking a “staycation” by car somewhere in the UK.
A poll of motorists by the RAC found that half had planned holidays in the UK or abroad before the coronavirus outbreak but only 31 per cent of those still expected to take that holiday.
However, with lockdown restrictions easing and hints that they could be relaxed further in early July, many are now making plans to get away in their cars over the summer.
Fifty-nine per cent of those questioned by the RAC said they were considering taking a UK-based holiday by car instead while seven per cent said they were still looking at heading into continental Europe for a break.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to make an announcement on or before June 29 on restrictions on movement around the country, including the current ban on overnight stays away from home. July 4 is being widely rumoured as the date when limits on travel and some hospitality venues could be eased.
RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: “While a good proportion of drivers we surveyed remain optimistic about taking the holiday they had planned before the lockdown, most are anticipating having to make changes – with a move towards UK staycations the favoured option.
“The fourth of July is being rumoured as the day when lockdown restrictions may be eased further, at least in England, with any government announcement around this needing to be made by 29 June.
“Crucially, the ban on overnight stays would need to be lifted, and it may also be the case that would-be holidaymakers wait to see whether groups of family and friends are permitted to share accommodation before committing to any plans.
“When it comes to any foreign trips this summer – by car, train or air – much will inevitably depend on whether the Foreign and Commonwealth Office changes its travel advice, as well as any quarantine requirements holidaymakers may have to take at their destination or on their return.”
The Camping and Caravanning Club is among the leisure bodies planning for a July reopening. It has said it is working towards a July 4 reopening of some of its sites in England and Northern Ireland, with a provisional date of July 15 for sites in Scotland - the date the Scottish tourist industry has been told to prepare to reopen.
While the RAC expects any relaxing of restrictions to cause spikes in traffic levels, Mr Dennis said the usual end-of-term gridlock was unlikely to materialise. He said: “If summer holidays do become a reality for people this year, and some tourist amenities are allowed to reopen, we’d anticipate some large spikes in weekend leisure traffic on major routes to the coasts, lakes and mountains. Camping and caravan sites, as well as hotel and self-catering accommodation, are also likely to be booked up quickly.
“However, the prospect of a single big ‘getaway’ day on the roads around the time schools normally break up for the summer looks very unlikely – with relatively few children in school, and with plans for an extension of the summer term in Wales, any getaways are likely to be far more staggered this year than in the past.”people to have a summer holiday whether that’s at home or abroad in places where it is safe to go where people aren’t going to bring back more of the disease in large numbers… I’ve got a smile on my face Chris but I can’t say more than that.”