AA Personal Loans Travel Survey

Britons hit the roads to cut costs

02 July 2008

Forget the airport rush this summer, nearly 12 million Brits are opting for a driving holiday, according to new research by AA Personal Loans.

Half of Britons (46%) are choosing to spend at least one of their holidays in the UK this year, three out of four of them (75%) saying they plan to use their car for trips within the UK and Europe in order to cut costs or avoid travel stress.

At a time when air fuel surcharges are soaring1, the findings reveal that more than one in five Britons (22%) say they are planning a driving holiday because they want to save money. Even though two thirds of AA members have indicated in a separate study2 that they have either cut back on journeys, reduced household expenditure, or done both due to the high cost of petrol and diesel, this does not seem to be affecting their plans for using the car for holidays.

Priorities also appear to be shifting between money and the environment: 17 per cent of Britons were considering a UK break for environmental reasons last year3, that's now down to just 5 per cent.

Mark Huggins, Head of AA Personal Loans says: "Our survey shows people are being smart with their money when booking holidays this summer. People are also thinking carefully about buying smaller cars to save money but it is important to make sure the car you choose is suitable for going on long holiday journeys, with enough room for all your passengers and luggage. A third of car buyers use a personal loan to buy their car – so make sure you get the best deal for your car finance too."

He also advises: "If taking your car on holiday, give the car a check over, make sure your tyre pressures are correct for the load you're carrying, stick to speed limits and use your air-conditioning sparingly – this will make a big difference to how much you spend on fuel."

More 'eco-driving' tips ».

Regional differences

  • People from the West Country are most likely to opt for a holiday in the UK (57%)
  • Londoners, perhaps looking to escape the hectic city, are most likely to find driving holidays a less stressful way of travel (33%)
  • The Welsh are most likely to choose to go on driving holidays because they find it cheaper than going further afield (32 %)
  • Those in the South are the greenest; they are most likely to go on a driving holiday because they are concerned about the environmental impacts of flying (9%).


1 'Fuel prices spark holiday crunch as air surcharges soar'(The Times 30 May 2008)

2 AA/Populus panel survey of 17,481 members April 2008

3 Data from research conducted 2 to 9 May 2007.

Research for AA Personal Loans was carried out by YouGov amongst a GB representative sample of 1976 people between 16 and 18 April 2008

AA holiday advice

  • Make sure you are insured – many people neglect to check that their comprehensive insurance covers them while in Europe or think that they are automatically covered. AA Insurance insures for up to 90 days, free without being informed.
  • AA advises to take out travel insurance as well as an EHIC (used to be E111) – free from the Dept of Health (online or get a form from the post office). EHIC will enable you to get reciprocal health care either free or at reduced cost but it isn’t a substitute for travel insurance
  • Take out AA European Breakdown Cover – break down and you will be rescued, if your car is a complete failure or you've written it off, it will be dealt with (i.e. repatriated to UK) while you will be given an alternative means of reaching your destination.

AA European Breakdown Cover


02 July 2008