Europe/Amsterdam reveals how Brits rediscovered travel closer to home this summer

The average travel distance is down 493 miles (2019 vs 2020), many have developed a new penchant for camping and summer 2020’s travel hotspots include Skegness and St Ives

  • TRAVEL DISTANCE: The distance Brits have travelled is down 62% year-over-year (June-August 2019 vs 2020) with the average journey this summer, equating just over the distance from London to Dumfries, Scotland!
  • TOP DESTINATIONS: The rugged Scottish Highlands and picturesque beaches in Devon and Cornwall are summer 2020’s stand-out stars!
  • TYPE OF TRAVEL: Seaside towns within driving distance and rustic nature escapes are the top trending destinations by Brits, however city breaks have still been booked
  • INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL: After the UK, France, Italy, Spain and Ireland the next most popular booked countries
  • PITCHING UP: There has also been a rise in camping, which is particularly interesting as prior to the pandemic, only 9% of Brits were intending to stay at a campsite

Travel plans may have changed drastically in 2020, but this has given travellers the opportunity to explore closer to home, discovering - and in many instances rediscovering - hidden gems on their doorstep.

Delving into this summer’s travel patterns, calculated that the average distance Brits travelled (1st June – 31st August) is down 62% compared with the same time last year. When looking back at the summer of 2019 British travellers journeyed on average 794 miles per booking (1). This summer, that distance has dropped to just 301 miles per booking, just slightly further than the distance from London to Dumfries, Scotland!(2)

Happiness isn't measured in miles

Two fifths (40%) of the total distance travelled by Brits between 1 June and 31 August 2020 was within the UK, compared to only 14% during the same period of 2019.(3) Drivable seaside towns and rustic nature escapes have topped the list of trending destinations booked by travelling Brits, and many have taken the opportunity to travel to reconnect with family and friends that were apart due to travel restrictions and social distancing measures. While the UK topped the list of most popular countries booked by Brits this summer, the next most popular country booked by Brits was France, followed by Italy, Spain and Ireland , demonstrating that even though some adventurous Brits still travelled abroad to find their travel happiness, they stayed well within the comforts of their continental sphere.(4)

Destinations rediscovered - From Embracing Skegness to hitting the highs of Portree

Many Brits have rediscovered the charm of the UK, with traditional British seaside destinations seeing a relative increase in interest from travellers. The domestic destinations that are the summer of 2020’s stand-out stars are Portree - Highlands, Ilfracombe - Devon, Paignton - Devon, Skegness - Lincolnshire and Newquay - Cornwall.(5)

Travel Hotspots that stood out to British Travellers, Summer 2020





Fort William




Barrow in Furness


St Ives



East Riding of Yorkshire




North Yorkshire


East Sussex

And when it comes to accommodation choice, Brits were more likely to have opted for a Chalet than they were last year, followed by camping stays and holiday homes which all topped the rankings of the trending accommodation types for British travellers this summer (7). This rise in pitching tents shows the shift in travel trends. When looking back at the end of 2019, before we knew that our 2020 travel plans would be clouded by a global pandemic, only 9% of Brits were intending to stay at a campsite this year, while 70% were anticipating staying in a traditional Hotels (8).

Top Trending Accommodation Types for Brits, Summer 2020



Holiday home

Holiday Park


The unexpected route to our travel plans this summer

While the events of the year have led to seismic shifts in travel behaviours and destination choices, travel has still found a way to satisfy many travellers’ wanderlust. At the end of 2019, Brits were dreaming of beautiful beaches (49%) and bustling city trips (47%) (8). Some (35%) even dreamt of travelling to visit family and friends before they knew their contact with them would have been limited this year (8).

Many of those travel desires would typically have been met in far flung destinations, but this year many have discovered these simple pleasures next door. So, whether on the beaches of Devon rather than Dubai, or exploring the city delights of London rather than Lisbon, the travel desires of many Brits have still been explored in the summer of 2020, just a little closer to home.

Arjan Dijk, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at, said: “During these unprecedented times it's reassuring to see that while our plans and priorities may have changed, our passion for travel has not. Whether it’s the memories captured, relationships strengthened, or smiles made, the summer of 2020 proved that the happiness travel can bring is not simply measured in miles and that there are plenty of adventures to be explored and comfort to be found right next door. With our mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world, we offer the widest choice, great value and the easiest experience so travellers can get out and enjoy all kinds of travel experiences, whenever it’s safe to do so and whether that’s near or far.”

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  1. Average distance was calculated by taking the distance between a booker’s estimated location based on IP and the destination as a straight line). Year on year changes were calculated by looking at bookings by British travellers between 1 June and 31 August 2020, comparing to the same months in 2019.
  2. Distance between London and Dumfries calculated at 289 miles
  3. Share of the total distance travelled by British travellers based on the combined absolute distance between their cities of origin and destinations of all trips.
  4. Based on top booked destinations 1 June through 31 August 2020 (domestic and international)
  5. To calculate trending destinations, the top 100 most booked British destinations were sorted by the year on year difference in Bookings between June and August 2020 and the same months in 2019. Note that because of the overall slump in travel this does not mean that trending destinations saw an absolute increase in Bookings.
  6. Top booked domestic destinations 1 June through 31 August 2020 for British travellers
  7. Top trending accommodation types booked by British travellers on between 1 June and 31 August 2020 and the same months in 2019. Based on both international and domestic travel.
  8. Research commissioned by and independently conducted among a sample of 50,688 respondents across 29 markets, including 1,990 from the UK. In order to participate in this survey, respondents had to be 18 years of age or older, had to have travelled at least once in the past 12 months and be either the primary decision maker or involved in the decision making of their travel. The survey was taken online and took place in November 2019.


Founded in 1996 in Amsterdam, has grown from a small Dutch startup to one of the world’s leading digital travel companies. Part of Booking Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: BKNG),’s mission is to make it easier for everyone to experience the world. By investing in the technology that helps take the friction out of travel, seamlessly connects millions of travelers with memorable experiences, a range of transportation options and incredible places to stay - from homes to hotels and much more. As one of the world’s largest travel marketplaces for both established brands and entrepreneurs of all sizes, enables properties all over the world to reach a global audience and grow their businesses. is available in 44 languages and offers more than 29 million total reported accommodation listings, including more than 6.7 million listings alone of homes, apartments and other unique places to stay. No matter where you want to go or what you want to do, makes it easy and backs it all up with 24/7 customer support.

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