From ‘beside the seaside’ to more cultural and far-flung breaks; how Brits’ holidays have changed over the years

A survey and infographic from


Better travelled Brits

As peak holiday season winds down, leading holiday home rentals website takes a look at how the typical British holiday has changed over the years*. While UK breaks ‘beside the seaside’ and in holiday parks used to reign supreme, today people of all ages are expanding their horizons, including regular city trips both at home and away, as well as visits to exotic far-flung shores among their main holidays. 

When asked what types of holiday they mostly went on as a kid, the vast majority reported staying in the UK, either by the sea (60%) or at a holiday park (22%). More 18 to 34 year olds (31%) were taken on beach breaks abroad, while more of the over 55s remember regular trips to the countryside (18%). Many 18 to 34 year olds were taken to holiday resorts abroad too (20%) and around one in 10 were taken on city breaks, activity holidays and exotic long haul trips.

Today by comparison, beach and city breaks abroad top the charts, and the number including exotic long haul trips among their main holidays has more than doubled. UK beach and city breaks do remain popular, but 14% of Brits now include long haul trips among their main holidays and 14% of 18 to 34 year olds typically go on activity or adventure holidays. UK rural retreats are a favourite among the over 55s, coming in third place with 22% in this group. 

Packaging online and more frequent trips

Bookings have now firmly moved online, whereas the high street agent, telephone and booking direct at the location ruled in the past. Around a third of people now package up holidays themselves, but the over 55s still prefer to go direct, albeit now by email or the web instead of by phone. We’re also going away more than before. Whereas one holiday a year was the norm in the past, now 40% of us rack up two to three trips and almost one in 10 over 55s get away four to five times a year.

Campsites and B&Bs lose out to hotels

As we perhaps now expect a bit more luxury while away, campsites and B&Bs have lost out to hotels, which now represent the most popular type of accommodation for 51% of Brits. Self-catering holiday homes are the second most popular type of place to stay, with one in five people choosing a holiday rental over a hotel, a slight drop from 30% in times gone by.

Andy Cockburn, UK Regional Manager, HomeAway UK comments, “For people looking for more luxury for their money nowadays, rentals still represent great value over hotels, providing more space, privacy and amenities for up to half the price. And with over 735,000 holiday rental listings worldwide, HomeAway now rivals some of the largest hotel chains in the world in terms of the choice of accommodation it offers to holidaymakers around the globe.”

We can’t live without our mobiles but we still love a good book

Although over 60% of Brits now consider their mobile a holiday essential, it seems we’re still just as fond of the good old book. Over 40% used to takes books away and still do today, but the board game and colouring book have suffered a bit of a knock as now people prefer their individual iPad or games console. Music has also moved up from fifth place to third, with 32% of Brits wanting their favourite tunes as a holiday soundtrack.

* Results based on a nationally representative survey of 500 UK respondents using Toluna Quick Surveys. Infographic - Travel Now & Then Infographic


Share this Infographic

Add the Infographic to your website

Add the Infographic to your website

- Copy and paste the below html code into your site
<a href="" target="_blank"><img  src="" alt="Travel Now and Then" title="Travel Now and Then" border="0" /></a><br />Sponsored by: <a href=""target="_blank">HomeAway</a>