With savings in the bank thanks to a year of sitting at home and a surplus of annual leave to enjoy, will British people be at work this summer? Olivia Palamountain reports
We’ve all heard the “roaring twenties” analogy applied to life post-lockdown, an expected surge of excessive spending funded by the cash we’ve saved on travelling, restaurants and socialising while cooped up at home during the pandemic.
Over the course of the last year, the Bank of England said that those Britons who have seen their incomes remain steady but their spending plummet during three lockdowns, will have amassed £250 billion in savings.
According to a nationwide study by Easyjet, over half of Brits (57 per cent) said they had managed to save an average of £5,000 during lockdown – with a further 69 per cent confirming that they had saved more in the last year than any other time in their lives.
No prizes for guessing that they intend to splash the savings on a holiday now restrictions have eased, with two-thirds (67 per cent) of the UK saying that being in lockdown has made them crave new vacation experiences. A third (35 per cent) of those surveyed said they have already booked a summer holiday abroad.
If a financial saving wasn’t enough of a coup, the data also shows that the average Brit has stored up 33 days of annual leave to use in 2021, as most rolled over at least five days from 2020 due to working from home during the pandemic and not being able to go abroad.
The average annual leave entitlement in the UK is 28 days (including bank holidays), which means British people this year have at least five extra days to use up on breaks away. A third (35 per cent) of Brits said a holiday aboard was their number-one priority once travel limits lift.
What’s more, 54 per cent intend to go on holiday more than they usually would in a year, with 15 per cent to undertake least one holiday more than usual and one-in-twenty (5 per cent) taking three times as many holidays as they normally do.
With most of us missing out on a vacation for a whopping 630 days in a row due to the pandemic, it’s unsurprising that when we do finally touch down abroad, we’re going to celebrate – (61 per cent) will be making their trip abroad “extra special” this year and 68 per cent said they are planning to make up for lost time exploring new places.
The most popular destinations for Brits to jet off to this summer according to the data are: Faro, Lisbon, Málaga, Gibraltar, Alicante, Palma Mallorca, Madeira, Porto and Malta.Following a surge in bookings to “green list” countries, the airline has put more than 105,000 extra seats on sale, mainly to Portugal.
Johan Lundgren, Easyjet CEO, says: “We know how much people value travel and can see the pent-up demand every time restrictions are lifted. This research shows just how much of a priority travel is after such a long period where it has been out of bounds. Brits cannot wait to get away on a sun filled holiday and have been saving hard to make their holiday a trip to remember.
“We look forward to welcoming customers on board for a well-deserved getaway and remain hopeful that the Government will add many more European countries onto the green list and allow safe travel this summer.”
The data comes from a survey of the working patterns of 100,000 people across a wide range of sectors and includes stats such as holiday leave booking being up 266 per cent for the rest of 2021.
Denise Jennings, head of HR at RotaCloud, says: “At the end of 2020 the average person had almost 14 days left of annual leave that they hadn’t used, and this year, time off is already a third lower than it should be.
“Leave usage plummeted over the last 12 months and we’ve still not yet seen it recover to normal, healthy levels. So not only have people not been going away nearly as much as they usually would, but they haven’t been taking time off from work at all – and this isn’t good for anyone, as It’s incredibly important to take regular breaks from work to rest and recharge.
“However, leave booking for the rest of 2021 is up by more than 260 per cent compared to pre-pandemic levels – so we’re clearly planning for our holidays. And as the data plainly shows, we’re all definitely in need of a good break this year.”
Fly less, stay longer
Pablo Caspers, chief travel officer at eDreams ODIGEO, shared his perspective with Globetrender: “After a year of international travel restrictions travellers are keen to get away and reconnect with family and friends, but the pandemic has changed the trips people are booking and the length of time they are looking to get away.
“Overall, there is a trend towards booking extended stays. In 2019, trips of up to four days accounted for 37 per cent of bookings made in the first five months of the year, compared to less than a quarter (23 per cent) of bookings made in 2021 to date.
“An increasing number of people are looking to get away for longer, a third of bookings (33 per cent) are for trips of over two weeks, with 19 per cent of bookings being made for trips of 21 days or more. In 2019, just 9 per cent of bookings were for trips of more than three weeks.
“For many of us holiday opportunities were limited over the last 12 months, especially trips abroad, and this has likely led to an accumulation of annual leave and the ability to save for a bigger break in 2021.
“After a challenging year, it makes perfect sense that people will be looking for a longer trip to unwind and truly relax. It could also be possible that with the rise in flexible working people might be extending their break where they have the ability to work remotely for part of it.”
Tables show percentage of eDreams ODIGEO bookings and trip lengths in 2019 vs 2021*
*Bookings made from 1st Jan to 13th May (2019 and 2021) to travel during the whole year 2019 and 2021.