Only one-in-three drivers (31%) expect to take the summer holiday they had planned before the coronavirus outbreak, with a UK ‘staycation’ by car now favoured by those who had to cancel their original plans, new research for RAC Breakdown shows.
The research, carried out with more than 3,200 drivers, shows that demand for a summer break is still strong, presuming travel restrictions imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic are lifted in the coming weeks, something a UK Government minister has indicated may happen.
Nearly seven-in-10 (68%) of those who have cancelled, or expect to cancel, their existing holiday plans still want to have a break if they can – of these, a staycation in the UK by car is favoured by the majority (59%), with 13% holding out for a trip abroad by plane. A further seven per cent are looking to take their car across the Channel for a holiday.
Meanwhile, of those who have cancelled, or expect to cancel, their original summer holiday plans and now won’t be going away at all, around half (52%) say it is because of ongoing fears over the coronavirus. A similar proportion (51%) say they do not expect the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice against international travel to be changed in time for the summer.
RAC Breakdown spokesperson 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.
“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.
“As they have been throughout the coronavirus outbreak, RAC patrols remain ready to assist and provide complete peace of mind to drivers whose vehicles let them down. Our breakdown service provided by our partners in mainland Europe is also operating for those already in Europe or who decide to travel, although it may be affected by local restrictions the availability of garages.
“The best advice to avoid breaking down is to check your vehicles ‘vitals’ – oil, coolant, tyres and electrics – before travelling. And if your car is overdue for a service, we’d strongly recommend getting it booked in before making any long journeys.”