The Sun '£9.50' Holidays
Stay in UK holiday parks from £44 per family
The Sun calls these '£9.50 holidays', but in reality they're never quite this cheap. That doesn't mean it's not a decent deal though – you can bag a four-day holiday park break for £44 simply by collecting tokens from The Sun newspapers.
You'll need to collect 10 tokens or code words, printed in papers every day from Sat 9 Jan to Tue 2 Feb, for holidays between Feb 2021 and Nov 2021. They start from £9.50 per person and you have to pay for a minimum of four people. You also need to watch out for extra charges – this guide explains how to sidestep those to save £100s on a family getaway.
Coronavirus cancellation rights
If you've already booked a Sun Holiday for this year, see its coronavirus info & FAQs. Travelling at the moment is a little uncertain, so here's what The Sun says are your rights if you need to cancel:
If you decide you don't want to go, unfortunately, you can't request a refund or rebook for a later date.
If someone in the holiday party has coronavirus, you can request a refund or rebook. You'll just need to prove they're in medically certified self-isolation (ie, have a doctor's note).
If you can't travel due to Govt restrictions or local lockdown, you can request a refund or rebook.
If your park is closed due to coronavirus, you can request a refund or rebook. The park operator should get in contact with you directly.
However, even if you're not able to get a refund, the amount you've shelled out is likely to be small compared to the normal cost of a holiday anyway, so you may choose to take the risk.
Are they really £9.50?
The Sun's headline of '£9.50 holidays' looks stunning, and with park holidays costing in the £100s, the savings can be huge. While undeniably good value, truthfully, they're never actually £9.50 all-in. The sections below explain why you'll end up paying more:
Though the basic cost is indeed £9.50 per person for three or four nights, when you factor in extras, it mounts up.
For example, you always have to pay for at least four people, even if only two of you are going. So you'll pay at least £44 to get this offer – £38 for accommodation and £6 for 10 newspapers (from 60p). If you're booking by post, you'll need to factor in an additional 66p for a second class stamp to send in your form.
All 155 parks across the UK and Europe have a service charge that'll add £13.50-£60 to the total cost. The service charge covers the holiday home's cleaning, gas and electricity.
However, you can avoid paying a service charge by looking for dates which are "No extras" dates – listed as either "Pay only £9.50" or "Pay only £15" – or "FREE service charge" dates. These will be listed under each park in the in-paper brochure and on the online park pages.
Some parks also have a peak charge on top, where you could have to pay an extra £4.50 or £7 per person, per break during select dates. These are also listed under each park.
Bed linen and blankets are not included at any of the holiday parks. You should take your own, otherwise most parks offer bed linen and blankets for hire.
The cost of bed linen varies across the parks. The Sun told us that it doesn't quote these prices, so you'll need to check with your park operator if you don't want to bring your own.
Most tent accommodation includes pillows and blankets, but check with the park beforehand. It's also worth knowing cots, cot sides and high chairs may also require a supplement.
Parks offering entertainment programmes may charge for optional entertainment passes, about £2 to £32.50 per person, per break.
Some parks offer free entertainment on selected dates, so look out for mention of these dates listed under the park when choosing.
We've asked The Sun if all entertainment facilities are open and it's told us this varies across parks, but they're expected to be open in time for the holidays.
No meals are included in the price, so save by self-catering. Some parks have catering facilities for breakfast and evening meals (listed as half-board), but this will be charged on top for between £14.53 and £19 per adult, per day and up to £8 per child per day.
We've asked The Sun if all catering facilities are open and it's told us this varies across parks, but they're expected to be open in time for the holidays.
How to do it (step-by-step)
Buy the paper, collect your tokens & form
To book your holiday, you need to collect 10 unique tokens or code words, from 10 different days' papers, printed every day from Sat 9 Jan to Tue 2 Feb in The Sun (60p on weekdays, 85p on Saturdays) and The Sun on Sunday (£1.30).
Therefore, the last day you can start collecting is Sun 24 Jan.
You can book online from Sun 17 Jan using the code words on your tokens, or by printing a booking form and filling in the info described below. These holidays are always popular, so have everything ready to roll as soon as you get the 10th token.
In the case of postal bookings, The Sun says it will try to get you a holiday of your choice, but it can't guarantee it. If your postal application is unsuccessful, you should be notified by Fri 19 Feb and have your payment returned. If you meet the conditions, fill the application in correctly and book as early as you can, you have a greater chance of getting your chosen break.
Choose your preferred dates & parks – though you may not get to decide exactly when & where you go
If booking by post, you can't always pick the exact location or dates of your holiday. You'll be asked to specify FOUR dates and FOUR parks you'd like to visit, and one of those will be allocated to you. If you’re booking online, however, you’ll be able to check all options and book a specific location and date.
Choosing a park
The accommodation includes caravans, chalets, apartments, tents, lodges, bungalows or cottages at over 150 parks in the UK and Europe (search the full park listings on The Sun's website). You'll need to pick a shortlist of FOUR preferred parks, but ultimately you won't be able to choose the exact park (unless you book online), and quality does vary, so do check reviews on sites such as TripAdvisor first.
Pets are not included in the basic price, so if you want to take a dog, it'll cost you extra and you'll have to check dogs are welcome at your chosen location. You can add dogs and pay the extra when booking online, but not via postal applications. Though some parks do allow you to add dogs after you've made a booking, so it's a good idea to check directly with the park.
It's also worth noting the parks will not accept bookings from parties where everyone's under 21, and it's always down to each park's discretion whether to accept all-adult parties at all.
Choosing your dates
The hols can be taken on selected dates between Feb 2021 and Nov 2021. Weekend breaks are three nights and weekday holidays are four nights.
Friday-Monday (three-night breaks) can start: Hols from £9.50 Feb 5, 12, 19, 26 Mar 5, 12, 19, 26 Apr 16, 23, 30 May 7, 14, 21 Sep 3, 10, 17, 24 Oct 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 Nov 5, 12, 19, 26 Hols from £15 Apr 2, 9 May 28 Jun 4, 11, 18, 25 Jul 2, 9, 16 Aug 20, 27 Monday-Friday (four-night breaks) can start: Hols from £9.50 Feb 1, 8, 15, 22 Mar 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 Apr 19, 26 May 3, 10, 17, 24 Aug 30 Sep 6, 13, 20, 27 Oct 4, 11, 18, 25 Nov 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 Hols from £15 Apr 5, 12 May 31 Jun 7, 14, 21, 28 Jul 5, 12 Aug 23
Note: Not all parks will be available on these dates.
Book online or send off the form
As soon as you've all 10 tokens or code words, book online at The Sun, by entering your 10 codes and paying via credit/debit card. There's a £2.80 charge per booking, but if you can't travel for any reason and are struggling to get a refund, you could claim a chargeback if you pay on a card.
The other advantage to booking online is that you're told within minutes whether you've been successful, and you can play around with your booking until you get what you want, whereas by post, you get what you're given and you can't change it.
Or... post the form and tokens to: UK Holidays in The Sun, PO Box 1811, Colchester, CO2 8LF.
If you book by post you must pay by cheque or postal order and remember to include the basic charge of £9.50 per person. So, the total would be £38.
The application closing date for both booking methods is Fri 12 Feb.
For postal applications, parks will send holiday confirmation directly by post or email by Fri 12 Mar. If you're unsuccessful, you'll be notified by Fri 19 Feb and your payment will be returned. If you have not heard anything by then, call 0344 543 9743 (calls cost the same as a landline). Make sure you keep a record of your selected parks and dates.
WARNING! You're unable to make amendments or cancellations after you've sent off the form. Only book if you're sure about the four dates and parks, and make sure you read the terms and conditions that IPSO (Independent Press Standards Organisation) enforces.
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