October is the new July as savvy Brits book autumn getaways to save money.

Young couple shopping online outdoorsImage: Young couple shopping online outdoors

In a Nutshell

Contemplating an October escape? We’ve found that nearly four in 10 UK adults will take a holiday in the last three months of the year, up from one in three in 2022. Find out why Britons are turning to autumn holidays and how you could enjoy a great break without breaking the bank.

Despite cooler temperatures, autumn holidays are hot for 2023. According to recent research we’ve conducted1, October has overtaken May, June, and July to become the third most popular month for a holiday this year, behind August and September, with 48% of UK adults saying they’ve been priced out of summer holidays.

This trend is further supported by the highest Google searches for “autumn sun” in five years, as Brits look for cheap holiday deals outside of the traditional travel season.2

Parents are being particularly affected by the financial pressures, with 28% taking their children out of school early to make the most of cheaper term-time deals and 5% doing this for the first time this year. Even those who haven’t done so yet are considering it, with one in five saying they would if it weren’t for the risk of being fined.

The data shows that the off-peak savings can be significant, with flight prices dropping by as much as 88% between October half term (21-28 October) and just two weeks later (4-11 November).3 This could be a major financial incentive for those looking to take a break, with a return trip to Lisbon, Portugal, costing £272 in October and just £34 two weeks later. Other popular holiday destinations, such as Madrid, Rome and Athens, also see significant price drops.

According to Akansha Nath, Head of Partnerships at Credit Karma, “One in five holiday goers are paying for their autumn holiday using credit, which can be an effective way to manage their expenses and pay them off over a number of months. Plus, using a rewards card can be a great tool to earn rewards or cash back on travel spend. Paying with credit can also protect you if there’s an issue with your holiday and you need a refund. Remember to only borrow what you can afford and pay back the minimum amount each month.”

Here are her top tips on securing a great deal on an autumn break:

  1. Use fare comparison sites – In addition to searching directly on airline websites, flight comparison sites such as Skyscanner or Idealo can help to identify the best deals on international travel. These platforms specialise in sourcing and comparing international airfares, offering travellers a view of available options, and helping them secure the most budget-friendly flights for global adventures.
  1. Explore alternative airports – When planning international travel, broaden your airport search beyond major hubs. Exploring alternative airports near your destination can often yield significant cost savings, as these smaller or regional airports may have lower fees and less congestion, resulting in more competitive airfares.
  1. Consider nearby countries – Don’t forget to explore nearby countries or cities when planning your next adventure. Sometimes, just a short train or bus ride away, you can discover incredible destinations with more affordable transport and accommodation, giving you the chance to explore new places and reduce your carbon footprint without breaking the bank.
  1. Use travel credit cards – Consider getting a travel rewards credit card that gives you miles or points every time you make purchases. These rewards can add up over time, turning everyday spending into substantial savings on your future travel, making your trips abroad more affordable and accessible.
  1. Clear your cookies when searching for flights online – Clearing your browser’s cookies before searching for flights can help you find better deals because airlines monitor your past visits and search history to adjust prices. This method allows you to start with a clean slate and potentially save money on airfare without the risk of increasing prices.

Bottom Line

The rise in autumn holidays is a sign of the financial strain many households are feeling due to the cost-of-living crisis. But with careful planning and budgeting, holidaymakers can enjoy a great break this autumn without breaking the bank.


1 Credit Karma commissioned Opinium Research to interview 2,000 UK adults between 22 and 26 September 2023.

2 Google Trends analysis conducted on 19 September 2023 for the term ‘autumn sun’ showed that there was a significant peak in people searching for this term during the summer of 2023 when compared to the past five years. 
3 This audit utilised Skyscanner as the primary data source to obtain flight pricing information. The research specifically focused on determining the cost of a return ticket for a single adult traveller, based on searches conducted for specific travel dates. It should be noted that the selected flights were chosen without any time-of-day restrictions, with the primary criteria being to identify the cheapest available flight prices for both departure and return dates. The audit was conducted between 17 September 2023 and 18 September 2023.

A snapshot of the findings:

  • Nearly 40% of UK adults going on holiday in 2023 will do so in the final three months of the year, up by 10% from last year
  • More than half of Brits (57%) would rather holiday in off-peak months like October and November to save money
  • Half (48%) of UK adults said that going on holiday in the summer has become unaffordable.
  • Travelling outside of school holidays this autumn could save holidaymakers up to 88% on flights to popular holiday destinations like Rome and Lisbon