Although Covid-19 restrictions have started lifting allowing fully vaccinated people to finally travel abroad, those still waiting to get their second jab may find themselves feeling some holiday envy. But at least you can still holiday near home, right?
Well, for those looking for a getaway on home soil, you may be shocked to learn that staycation costs have reportedly skyrocketed by more than a third (35%) over the past year.* And with our previous study revealing that parents spend £15 more per day, per child during the school holidays vs. term time, the costs associated with a family holiday this summer are likely to add up fairly sharply.
However, for those still keen to escape the mainland this summer, our new research has revealed the top 10 cheapest UK islands to visit. Whether you’re travelling solo, with a partner or friend or as a family, you don’t have to spend a fortune for a change of scenery.
For those looking for a break from the day-to-day and for a little peace and quiet in the coming months, the Isles of Scilly were found to be the most affordable staycation for solo travelers in summer 2021 (and beyond).
Home to an abundance of natural attractions, stretching sandy beaches, local artists and galleries and even its own vineyard and winery, the Scilly Isles have plenty to offer those who visit them. With prices from just £126.90 per person for return travel and accommodation, the island provides the perfect option for those on a tighter budget.
Other similarly affordable options for holiday makers going it alone include the Isle of Man (£262.90), the Isle of Arran (£280.20), the Isle of Wight (£310.80) and Jersey (£316).
Top 10 cheapest islands for solo travellers:
- Isles of Scilly (St. Mary’s), Cornwall — from £126.90
- Isle of Man, Channel Islands — from £262.90
- Isle of Arran, Scotland — from £280.20
- Isle of Wight — from £310.80
- Jersey, Channel Islands — from £316
- Shetland Islands, Scotland — from £351
- Isle of Skye, Scotland — from £434.20
- Orkney Islands, Scotland — from £452
- Isle of Bute, Scotland — from £496.70
- Isle of Lewis, Scotland — from £510
Travelling in pairs
Whilst for some, traveling alone is a blissful escape, for others, sharing their experiences with a partner, friend or loved one is their preferred way to travel. Topping the list of destinations for those travelling together were the Isles of Scilly once again. With prices per couple totaling just £253.80 for a weeklong getaway including travel, it’s easy to see why!
Top 10 cheapest islands for couples (based on 2 adults sharing):
- Isles of Scilly (St. Mary’s), Cornwall — from £253.80
- Isle of Arran, Scotland — from £370.40
- Isle of Skye, Scotland — from £488.40
- Isle of Man, Channel Islands — from £509
- Isle of Wight — from £515.60
- Jersey, Channel Islands — from £624
- Orkney Islands, Scotland — from £638
- Isle of Bute, Scotland — from £643.40
- Shetland Islands, Scotland — from £646
- Isle of Lewis, Scotland — from £810
One thing to keep in mind when visiting the majority of UK islands is that average temperatures can often be cooler than anticipated due to the surrounding sea. Whilst temperatures on the Scilly Isles can hit a high of 19°C in August, making sure you pack plenty of warm clothing is an absolute must across all of the islands. The weather can be fairly unpredictable and unforgiving.
Lastly, we added up the potential costs of a staycation on the islands for a family of four (inclusive of 2 adults and 2 children under the age of 12). Once again the Isles of Scilly claimed the top spot, boasting a week away with return travel from just £396.80 for the whole family!
The jump in price between our top spot and the island in second place on the list, the Shetland Islands (Scotland), was fairly substantial — more than £300! However, at £717 for a week away inclusive of travel, a holiday here still provides great value for a family escape.
Often overlooked as a UK holiday destination, the Shetlands are steeped in a rich history and the islands boast strong Viking roots. From wildlife and nature to food and drink, and plenty of outdoor adventures available, visiting families will have plenty to keep them occupied.
Top 10 cheapest islands for a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children):
- Isles of Scilly (St. Mary’s), Cornwall — from £396.80
- Shetland Islands, Scotland — from £717
- Isle of Man, Channel Islands — from £797
- Orkney Islands, Scotland — from £845
- Isle of Skye, Scotland — from £858.60
- Isle of Bute, Scotland — from £895.20
- Clare Island, Ireland — from £922
- Isle of Arran, Scotland — from £1,012.60
- Isle of Wight — from £1,025.40
- Jersey, Channel Islands — from £1,230
Naturally, the summer holidays come with additional costs outside of just the price of travel and accommodation. Our previous research revealed that parents spend £15 more per day, per child during the school holidays vs. term time, so budgeting beyond these prices is recommended.
Our research found that the top islands to getaway close to home, include the Isles of Scilly and Isle of Wight, especially for those looking for cheaper staycation destinations.
Equally, the Scottish Isle of Arran is also a great option for those wanting to escape and see some truly breathtaking scenic views. For those wanting to head slightly further afield, then the Isle of Man, located in the Channel Islands, is likely to be your best port of call and has also made it onto all three of the top 10 lists.
How to save for your staycation
For those dreaming of travelling to one of the above locations and beyond, we’ve put together some top tips on how best to save in a short amount of time for the staycation of your dreams.
1. Set a realistic goal
Know exactly how much you’re aiming to save up for this trip. Once you’ve got a number in mind, you can work out how much you'd need to save each week to reach this goal. If you’re trying to save a large amount each week, work out a specific budget and make sure you stick to it.
When giving yourself a budget, remember to be realistic: you can’t expect to completely cut down overnight, and if you set a budget that’s too strict, you may find yourself dipping into the money you’ve worked hard to save!
With Monese, you can easily set a weekly or monthly budget to help keep you on track.
2. Make smart swaps
If you’re going to struggle to meet your goal due to current spending habits, you might need to make some decisions about your priorities and adjust expenses accordingly.
For example, when doing your food shop, swapping out name brands for cheaper, supermarket own brands is a great way to reduce your shopping bills and will make a difference in your weekly spending. Take a list with you and stick to it. Don’t get distracted by any flashy deals or buy more than you need.
If you get recipe boxes delivered, then you may want to put these on pause too, as buying ingredients yourself is usually quite cheaper.
3. Set money aside before you spend
Commit to putting money aside as soon as you get paid. If you treat setting money aside as an obligation, and see it as being similar to paying your bills, you’ll end up reaching your target goal in no time.
4. Use Monese money pots
You can set up a money pot in the app so you have a place to keep your staycation money separate from day-to-day spending. Give your pot a target goal and reach it fast by rounding up your transactions by 10x and sending the difference to your designated staycation pot. You can also create up to 10 different pots to help you keep everything you’re saving for separate from each other, so you can track your holiday money accurately.
5. Cut back on treats
If you want to save in a short amount of time, the best thing to do is cut out any of your unnecessary purchases. With the Spending Overview feature, you can easily keep an eye on any excess spending. You’ll also get instant notifications for detailed transaction descriptions every time you buy, making it easier to stay on track.
For example, eat in instead of having meals out and takeaways. Really consider if you need any new clothing or a new set of nails. Afterall, cutting back on the extra expenses while you’re at home means you can enjoy yourself more when you’re on your holiday.
Are you planning a staycation this summer? Let us know where you’re headed! Share your budgeting and savings tips and tricks with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or write to us at email@example.com.
- Data and calculations are correct as of 7/7/2021
- Family of four is inclusive of 2 adults and 2 children under the age of 12
- All prices are inclusive of travel costs (both by ferry or plane) and accommodation (selected from the cheapest options available e.g., camping, B&B or hotel, etc.)
- Calculations were based around a 7-night stay between the 16–23 August on UK islands.
Data was taken from the following sources:
- Skyscanner was used to determine the cost of flights from London (if available) to each destination, the cheapest flights were used if they were cheaper than a ferry
- All ferry prices are just for the person — not inclusive of a car
- Alderney — https://www.thelittleferrycompany.com/
- Brownsea Island — https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/brownsea-island/features/winter-weekend-opening
- Clare Island — https://clareisland.info/get-here-clare-island/ferry-times/
- Guernsey — https://www.condorferries.co.uk/ferry-routes-ports/ferries-to-guernsey
- Isle of Arran — https://www.calmac.co.uk/
- Isle of Bute — https://www.calmac.co.uk/
- Isle of Lewis — https://www.calmac.co.uk/
- Isle of Man — https://www.steam-packet.com/
- Isle of Mull — https://www.calmac.co.uk/
- Isle of Scilly (St. Marys) — https://www.islesofscilly-travel.co.uk/fares/
- Isle of Skye — https://www.calmac.co.uk/
- Isle of Wight — https://www.wightlink.co.uk/
- Jersey — skyscanner.net
- Orkney — https://www.northlinkferries.co.uk/
- Shetland Islands — https://www.northlinkferries.co.uk/
- NB: For accommodation, first used Booking.com, if no availability used Airbnb, if no availability here, then local tourist sites were used
- Alderney — Booking.com
- Brownsea Island — http://www.theeastburyhotel.co.uk/
- Clare Island — https://www.goexplorehostel.ie/ (Only available on 21–28 Aug, based on a family room in a hostel, sleeps up to 6) / https://www.clareisland.ie/accommodation/cicampsite (Alternatively, there is unreserved camping available at €10 per adult and €6 per person U18. )
- Guernsey — Booking.com
- Isle of Arran — Booking.com
- Isle of Bute — Booking.com
- Isle of Lewis — Booking.com
- Isle of Man — Booking.com
- Isle of Mull — Booking.com
- Isles of Scilly (St. Mary’s) — https://www.visitislesofscilly.com/accommodation/garrison-campsite-and-readi-tent-hire-p752093?bookurl=%2Fbook-online%3Fstage%3Dunitsel%26isostartdate%3D2021-7-16%26nights%3D7%26roomReq_1_adults%3D2%26NumRoomReqs%3D1%26fuzzy%3D0%26product%3D752093
- Isle of Skye — Booking.com
- Isle of Wight — Booking.com
- Jersey — Booking.com
- Orkney — Booking.com
- Shetland Islands — Booking.com
- Clare Island requires both a flight and the ferry.
- The Shetland flights are from Manchester airport as flights don't depart here from London.
- Orkney ferry dates are 15-23rd as no ferries leave on the 16th.
- Transport prices for Alderney include ferry to Guernsey and then ferry from Guernsey to Alderney.
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