Nearly Five Million Overseas Holidaymakers Switch to UK

Kwik Fit | Monday 18th July 2022 10:30am

  • 40% of those switching to a UK break were concerned of flight cancellations
  • More than a third of UK holidaymakers will take their summer break within own region
  • Two thirds of those on domestic breaks will go by car, with the average trip covering 406 miles
  • Tyre problems cause one in five motorway breakdowns, yet only two thirds of drivers will check tyre pressures

New data released today reveals the impact which uncertainty has had on the UKs summer travel plans. The figures show that of the 15.7 million people going on a UK holiday this summer, some 3.75 million holidaymakers are those who usually take their summer break abroad but have decided to switch to a domestic destination this year. A further 3.9 million people are having a true staycation spending their summer holiday at home with short trips or days out. Of this group, 1.1 million normally travel overseas.

The research, carried out this week for Kwik Fit, the UKs leading automotive servicing and repair company, reveals that of those who have decided to stay in the UK instead of going abroad, as usual, 40% were put off from flying abroad by the fear of airlines cancelling flights. 25% say they remain concerned about Covid-19 and feel that there is a lower risk of catching it in the UK than abroad.

Nearly a quarter, (23%) said the overall cost was a factor - that it will be cheaper for them to holiday in the UK rather than go abroad. Almost as many, 22%, say they were put off from going abroad by delays at border control caused either by post-Brexit regulations or staff shortages.

One in six (16%) have picked a destination closer to home to reduce the cost of travel, with 10% saying that the rising cost of fuel put them off driving abroad.

The research revealed one much-needed bright spot for the domestic holiday industry after the pandemic. 12% of people who usually holiday abroad in summer but are staying in the UK this year said one of the reasons for doing so is that they holidayed in the UK during the pandemic and enjoyed it so much that they have decided to do it again.

However, this minor good news is offset by the number of people not holidaying at all. 26% of people say they are not having a summer holiday this year compared to 12% who say they dont usually take a summer break.

The research for Kwik Fit found that over two thirds (68%) of those travelling to a UK destination for their summer holiday will drive there, and over three quarters (77%) of those staying at home and going on short trips or days out will use their car to do so. The average distance people will travel on their UK holiday is 406 miles, with this figure potentially reduced by the fact that many people staying the UK are remaining close to home. Over one third (37%) of those staying in the UK, some 5.9m people, say they will be spending their summer holiday in their own region.

However, there will be some drivers clocking up the miles - 6% of those driving to a UK holiday destination say they expect to drive more than 1,000 miles on their trip.

As the UKs leading tyre experts, one particular finding in Kwik Fits research was especially worrying to the company just two thirds (67%) of those driving to their summer holiday destination will check their tyre pressures before leaving. Only half (50%) will check their tyre tread depth. This is despite a recent National Highways campaign highlighting that one in five motorway breakdowns are caused by tyre problems.

Astonishingly, the research found that just 67% of the drivers travelling over 750 miles will be checking their tyre pressures before setting off on their summer holiday. Older drivers are much more likely to pay attention to their tyres. 85% of motorists over 55 will check their pressures before setting off on holiday, almost twice the proportion of those aged 18-34 (46%).

Just six in ten drivers (59%) will check their screenwash, while the same proportion (58%) say they will make sure their engine has sufficient oil.

Despite the current heatwave, with further sweltering temperatures predicted, just 39% of drivers will check their coolant levels before heading off on holiday. Less than a quarter, 24%, will make sure their air conditioning is functioning efficiently. While this wont affect the running of their car, air con failure can obviously make a journey extremely uncomfortable in hot weather. In these uncertain times, our research has shown that for a variety of reasons, many people have switched their summer holiday plans to a location much closer to home, says Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit. With so many holidaymakers relying on their cars to get them to their holiday destination, its vital that they make the necessary checks before they set off. The checks themselves dont cost anything but could flag up an issue which could otherwise turn into a big problem when on the road. Many drivers have not been using their cars as much as usual over the pandemic, so issues may have gone unnoticed or not been a priority. If anybody is concerned about anything on their car but is unsure whether it is a problem, they can bring the car into any Kwik Fit centre and our expert team will check it for them.

Drivers can also check the correct pressure for their tyres on the Kwik-Fit website and if they have any concerns can book in for a free tyre inspection. For the latest news and updates from Kwik Fit, customers can also follow the company on Twitter at @kwik_fit.

Table 1 reasons given by holidaymakers for switching from overseas trips to UK holidays

Reason Percentage of people who have switched from holidaying abroad to a summer holiday in the UK this year, stating this was a reason in their decision
I was put off from flying abroad by concerns about airlines cancelling flights 40%
I remain concerned about Covid and think there is a lower risk of catching Covid in the UK than abroad 25%
The overall cost it will be cheaper for me to holiday in the UK 23%
I was put off from going abroad by delays at border control caused by post-Brexit regulations or staff shortages 22%
I chose a destination closer to home to reduce the cost of travel 16%
I was put off from travelling by public transport due to the risk of strike action affecting my plans 14%
I holidayed in the UK during the pandemic and enjoyed it so much that I have decided to have a UK holiday again this year 12%
The rising cost of fuel put me off driving abroad 10%
I was put off from driving abroad by concerns about ferry companies or Eurotunnel cancelling crossings 10%

Source: Research for Kwik Fit, July 2022

Note to editors


  1. Research carried out by Opinium among a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK adults fieldwork 8-12 July 2022
  2. National Highways Tyre checks - Highways England (

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