The Rise of the Winter Getaway

The Rise of the Winter Getaway

When the days become shorter and the size of the puddles on the pavement seems to exponentially grow, it’s no surprise that Brits are partial to a winter getaway.  Be it a brief escape to sunnier climes, or an active get-away to the Alps, we love a winter holiday.  Yet a report from the Office for National Statistics would suggest that over the last couple of years, visits and spending abroad between October and March have risen particularly unexpectedly, with an average increase in travel of 10% in 2015 from the previous year, and continuing to rise by the same percentage in 2016.   At TVE, we’re wondering why this might be.

Certainly, the Government’s decision in 2013 to impose fixed-penalty fines of £60 on parents for unauthorised absences from school will have had its part to play: in 2015 more than 90,000 parents in England and Wales were fined £5.6m between them, almost four times higher than three years previously.  With off-peak summer holidays ceasing to be a viable choice, then, and prices soaring as holiday companies make the most of this bottleneck of time available to parents in high season, some winter sun may have become the cheaper option, or a ski holiday – previously considered beyond the reach of the family budget – an alternative source of fun at a price no longer significantly higher than a few August days by the sea in France.  Indeed, the Independent found that Package holiday prices typically rise by 50 to 100 per cent in the period, and air fare prices often multiply three or four-fold.

And what of the impact of the economic recession from which we are slowly, if partially, recovering?  From 2008, the economic climate saw holiday-makers embracing the ‘staycation’ – spending less and squeezing in more activities – during a period when people were wanting to take less holiday and keep their job, if they still had one at all.  But as Britain recovers from the dip of 2007/8, at TVE we’re wondering if it’s possible that people have become rather partial to the staycation.  Perhaps, as we’ve realised that there is plenty of fun and sun (well, more than we thought) to be had in the summer months, we’ve decided we would rather shell out on a holiday in that nasty period when the commute requires an extra 5 minutes to scratch at the windscreen before we’ve even got in the car.

And maybe we want to go abroad in winter more than before in the first place.  As social media reminds us daily that there’s always someone on a beach, somewhere – those Australian swimwear models certainly seem to love Instagram – could we be craving sun in the period when we’d usually be content to over-indulge on mince pies in rainy England?  Similarly, as we’ve watched the cast of Made in Chelsea bomb it down the pistes in their over-priced coats, or the loose-cannons of Snow, Sex and Suspicious Parents make fools of themselves on national television, are an increasing number of people curious to try their own hand at skiing?  The number of google results for ‘budget ski holiday’ would certainly suggest as much.

Julia Warzewski Julia Warzewski