From driving to the coast, to flying across Europe - how has the British holiday changed over the decades?
Butlins or Benidorm? The experience of UK holiday-makers has changed drastically
For most of us, it seems the days are long gone of heading down to the high street to speak to a travel agent about your holiday plans.
The internet has hugely changed the way we book our flights, hotels, and more or less our whole holiday experience.
The right to holiday leave became a legal right in 1939, and since then there has been an ever-evolving process of holiday-making for Brits.
While the pandemic saw staycations become family favourites, the overarching trend since the 1970s shows an increase in travel abroad.
NationalWorld takes a closer look at exactly what that consists of.
Thanks to the likes of Harry Warner and Billy Butlin, the idea of what we know today to be a holiday was born in the 20th century. By the outbreak of World War II in 1939, there were around 200 holiday camps spread out across different locations on the British coast.
After the war in the 1950s and 1960s, these holiday camps thrived in a period of post-war affluence.
At the same time that well-established train routes made the coast more accessible, the aeroplane put foreign holidays within reach of many too.
By 1975 most workers in the UK had two or more weeks’ paid holiday and it seems that by the 1970s, UK holiday camps were seen as a thing of the past and people favoured holiday packages abroad - using providers such as Thomas Cook - at affordable prices.
But Family Holiday Charity - who seeks to give families who couldn’t otherwise afford time away together the opportunity to do so - highlights how UK beach holidays were still more popular overall in the early to mid-1970s.
A total of 40 million Brits headed to the seaside in 1975 as cars became even more relied on for travel.
But by 1979, for the first time in history, Britons spent more on overseas holidays than on staycation holidays.
A statement reads: “Britons spent more on overseas holidays than on holidays at home.
“For £50 you could spend a week in glamorous Majorca with hotel bedrooms that had balconies and – unheard-of luxury – ensuite bathrooms.
“Travel entrepreneurs were developing mass-market tourism abroad on an unprecedented scale.”
At the same time, UK holiday parks stepped up their offerings and are still much-loved by many families.
While holidays abroad were booked through the then glamorous experience of heading the travel agent on the high street, British seaside holidays had to be booked from small ads in newspapers and magazines where you had to request a brochure through the mail.
Looking more recently from the 1990s onwards, it’s clear how changes in holidaymaking have been accelerated.
ONS data shows how Brits began to turn their backs on the traditional two-week holiday during the 1990s and instead began to favour shorter trips.
Data also shows how in 2016, people from the UK went on more than 45 million foreign holidays, up 68 per cent from 1996 when there were 27 million foreign holidays.
However, ONS data shows how Spain and France remained the UK’s favourite holiday destinations - although France was less visited in 2016 when compared to 1996
The increase in budget airlines has undoubtedly played a part here in offering cheap tickets to other destinations - similar to how we’ve seen a rise in cruise holidays.
The way we holiday today has drastically changed and evolved, but the principles stay the same. Time with family, friends, or by yourself to unwind and relax. The pursuit of a great holiday remains the same - even if the locations have changed and how we book.