These unashamed families are booking TWO trips for the same dates

We’ve doubled down on our holidays! These unashamed families are booking TWO trips for the same dates – abroad and the UK, just in case. Is it cunning… or unfair on others?

  • With foreign holidays hanging in balance, staycation bookings have rocketed
  • Campsites across country are reporting a 300 per cent uptick in reservations
  • People are now making double bookings to ensure they get a break this summer

With foreign holidays hanging in the balance, bookings for staycations have rocketed, with campsites reporting a 300 per cent uptick in reservations. 

Yet for many Britons, a break in the UK is merely a back-up in case their much desired sunshine trip abroad falls through. 

Where once the idea of deliberately double booking would have been deemed bad form, in the pandemic it’s the ‘new normal’, with people taking a belt-and-braces approach to ensuring they get some sort of break after a year cooped up.

Here, five double-bookers tell SADIE NICHOLAS all . . . 

 I’d be happy for UK campsite to keep our cash 

Katie Rose, 44, is a counsellor and lives in Chigwell, Essex, with her husband Simon, 47, an IT manager, and their daughters Sadie, 13, and Poppy, 11. Katie says:

Katie Rose, 44, lives in Chigwell, Essex, with her husband Simon, 47, and their daughters Sadie, 13, and Poppy, 11

Oh, how I long to sip cocktails beneath a Mediterranean sunset and splash around in the warm waters with my daughters this summer. I’m also desperate not to have to cook a meal or make a bed for a little while!

But just in case our ten-day holiday to Estepona in Spain goes to pot, in February I also booked a camping trip to the New Forest while there was still availability.

We haven’t been abroad since we went to Spain in 2018, because last summer’s visit to the gorgeous apartment with a shared pool that my mum owns on the Costa del Sol was cancelled, and the year before we didn’t have the cash to spare. 

Now, we’re so desperate for something to look forward to after the challenges of the past year — in which I’ve changed careers, my husband was furloughed and our daughters have missed out on so much — that I booked a UK break as well.

I did the same thing last year and double-booked Spain with a different campsite in the New Forest, which is, of course, where we ended up.

The family, who haven’t been abroad since 2018, have a ten-day holiday booked for Estepona in Spain

However just in case the foreign holiday is cancelled the family have booked a camping trip to the New Forest

We rolled over our £1,000 flights to Malaga from last summer and we can move them again if we’re not allowed to travel.

Meanwhile, a pitch for our tent in the New Forest is £200 and we only paid a £20 deposit — but I’d be happy for them to have the whole £200 if it means we get to go sunny Spain!

Although we love the New Forest, the British weather is usually the deal-breaker. So if we can get to Spain and all that guaranteed glorious sunshine, we’ll be off like a shot.

My girls are desperate to go as they have lots of friends with holiday homes there and we can spend our days having lots of fun at waterparks and taking pedalos out to sea.

But I fear that we may have to wait another year the way things are going.    

Exhausted and determined not to miss out

Stephie Bateman, 38, is a tax adviser and lives in Surrey with accountant husband Sam, 41, and daughters Evelyn, six, and Aubrey, four. She says:

Stephie Bateman (pictured with daughter Evelyn, six, and Aubrey, four), 38,  a tax adviser from Surrey, said it will have been two years since she had a ‘proper family holiday’

By the time August arrives, it will be two years since we had a proper family holiday. Last summer we spent three days in a caravan on the Sussex coast.

Sam and I are exhausted from working from home while also homeschooling for extended periods, and we’re sad we haven’t made any special memories for more than a year.

His parents live in Sotogrande in southern Spain in a beautiful house with a pool, so last year we’d booked flights to stay with them for two weeks, and had planned a third week in a luxury hotel.

When that was cancelled, we accepted vouchers from British Airways and luckily we hadn’t had to a pay a hotel deposit.

So, last month we used our vouchers to book flights to Spain for three-and-a-half weeks in the summer, and Sam booked the same hotel for the middle week, at a cost of around £3,000.

Last month the family used vouchers to book flights to Spain for three-and-a-half weeks in the summer

With all the current uncertainty about foreign travel, they also booked a week at the start of August at Center Parcs in Suffolk

Still, with all the current uncertainty about foreign travel, I also booked a week at the start of August at Center Parcs in Suffolk for £2,200 and another week at the end of August.

They overlap with the dates for our Spain holiday so we can’t do both. Center Parcs allows free cancellations up to a few weeks before your stay, so we won’t lose out.

Do I feel guilty? It’s certainly not the way we’d normally do things, but we’re doing what’s right for our family in the circumstances.

Demand for UK breaks is so high we couldn’t risk leaving it until we know whether Spain will go ahead or not — either there’ll be nothing left or prices will be extortionate.

We hated our last staycation but needs must

Jo Brockman, 37, is an environmental enforcement manager for a local authority and lives in Kent with self-employed husband Trevor, 38. They have four children between them aged ten to 16. Jo says:

Jo Brockman, 37, lives in Kent with self-employed husband Trevor, 38 and their four children

Come July, will we spend two weeks in a luxury six-bedroom villa in Florida, or a week in a quaint safari lodge in Suffolk? It’s the million-dollar question.

At the moment, the U.S, isn’t open to arrivals from the UK, so that’s why in January I booked Suffolk as a Plan B.

We live for our foreign holidays and in normal times go abroad up to four times a year. 

Florida was booked in January 2020 for this July, and because we knew we’d need time to save up for the £10,000 price tag for the six of us, last summer we stayed at home. 

We’ve hired a huge villa with a private pool in Orlando, but increasingly I can’t see it happening.

The family have booked a two-week break in a luxury six-bedroom villa in Florida

They have also booked a week in a quaint safari lodge in Suffolk just in case they cannot go abroad

After going to Cornwall one August years ago and having dire weather, we vowed not to staycation again. But that was before the pandemic. Now it’s a case of needs must.

The owners of the Suffolk lodge didn’t require a deposit and have said we can cancel for free before the end of May. But, lovely though Suffolk is, I can’t deny we’ll be horribly disappointed if we end up there.

Trevor and I are absolutely worn out having worked right through the pandemic without a break and are dreaming of a sunny Florida holiday, as are our children.

We’ll just feel lucky to have a break

Louise Reynolds lives in Surrey and owns consultancy firm Property Venture. She is married with a son and daughter aged 21 and 19, who are both at university. Louise says:

Louise Reynolds, from Surrey,  is married with a son and daughter aged 21 and 19, who are both at university

With just over four months until we’re due to go on holiday, we don’t know if our two-week summer break will be spent in Costa Rica or the Lake District.

Given the choice, we’d prefer an adventure in Central America, which has been postponed from last summer. 

There, we’ve got five different hotels and lodges booked as well as a 15-day itinerary which includes trips to the rainforest, a volcano, and a wildlife sanctuary.

But if we have to postpone for a second time, we’ll still make the most of the wonderful countryside in the Lake District, where we’ve booked two cottages, one for each week. 

Ms Reynolds and her family have booked a two-week summer break in Costa Rica

They have also booked a break to the Lake District just to make sure they get a break this summer

When I first heard mutterings last month that foreign summer holidays might be off limits again, I decided we’d better book a UK break as a back-up.

If we can’t go abroad, we’ll postpone till 2022. But if it’s all systems go, we’ll cancel the Lake District in plenty of time so the owners can re-book them. 

We’ve paid a few hundred pounds deposit for them both, which we’re at risk of losing, but it will be a small price to pay to have our holiday abroad.

Wherever we end up, we’ll feel lucky to have a break, conscious that there will be so many families who aren’t able to.

Luxury hotel can’t beat going abroad

Sarah Woodward, 52, is a divorce coach and lives in Maidenhead, Berkshire, with her partner. Sarah says:

Sarah Woodward , 52, is a divorce coach and lives in Maidenhead, Berkshire, with her partner

I was hopeful that by now I’d be counting down to a week’s holiday at a Kenyan safari lodge in June. 

Instead, I fear we’ll end up having to postpone it till next summer — which is why I recently booked five nights at two of our favourite luxury country hotels, The Pig near Bath followed by a stay at their Combe property in Devon.

Though they are ultra-luxurious, nothing beats the excitement of getting on a plane and having an adventure overseas, and I never switch off from work in the UK the same way as I do abroad. 

Ms Woodward said she was hopeful that by now she would be counting down to a week’s holiday at a Kenyan safari lodge in June

She and her partner recently booked five nights at two of their favourite luxury country hotels, The Pig near Bath followed by a stay a Combe property in Devon

Thankfully we’ll be able to move our Kenya holiday, which cost £3,000 for the lodge, free of charge to another time should we have to cancel. 

And although we’ve paid a deposit of £800 to the two hotels, they’re happy for us to move the dates without further cost.

I know I’ll feel guilty if we have to cancel any of our trips. 

Hopefully travel restrictions will become clear soon so we can make some decisions and won’t have to keep any of the hotels hanging on till the last minute. 

I know we’re lucky to be able to afford holidays at the moment.

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