Having a Holiday on a Budget

suitcase and laptop
We all like our holidays, but they can be expensive

There is a lot of information on the internet about reducing spending on your holiday e.g. house-sitting, accruing credit card points to get flights, but this is not for everyone and it’s not something that I have got around to exploring yet. What I have done though is to try and reduce our spending on our regular holidays. I therefore thought that I would share with you some ideas about how to cut your spending.

Holiday in a cheap area

Our holiday destinations are somewhat random due to the fact that Mr Simple bought a load of ordnance survey maps a few years ago when they had a two for one offer. Many of them remain unused. Recently I have started selecting a few and getting him to choose one. I then arrange a holiday in that area. We find that accommodation in the north of England often tends to cost less than in the south.

house in the trees
Renting a house lets
Self-cater

Stay in a house or flat rather than a hotel or bed and breakfast e.g. with AirBnB. This is usually cheaper per night. It also allows you to cook some of your own meals instead of having to fork out for food every evening. Since trying to cut our household costs I have started shopping at Tesco, whereas before we used Waitrose. As a treat for holidays I do the shopping in Waitrose. In that way, even though we are catering for ourselves some of the meals/snacks/treats are nicer than we usually have.

Stay in small accommodation

Last year we stayed in a one-bedroom cottage. It had one main room downstairs with the lounge and kitchen area. The eating area was a breakfast bar with stools. The bedroom was small with very little clearance between the end of the bed and the wall. Mr Simple had to shuffle around to his side all the time, including the in the middle of the night when he needed a wee. I did offer to swap sides with him, but he said that he wouldn’t be able to sleep if we did that. The size of the cottage made us appreciate our much larger home when we came back from that holiday.

knife chopping herbs
Cooking for yourself is so much cheaper than going out every night
Cook your own meals for the majority of the week

We tend to have a meal at a pub on the way to our holiday accommodation, as it breaks up the journey. It feels less tiring when you’ve had a break. Also, you don’t have to cook a meal when you arrive, as you’ve already had your main meal of the day. We then have one day during the week where we visit a town and have a long lunch. We then stop for food on the way home. Outside of these times we cook meals in the cottage.

Plan your meals

Menu plan thoroughly so that you take as much of the food that you need as you can. You can’t take everything as some things e.g. bread, will go off, but you can take the majority. If you plan well you won’t have to pop out to the local shop. That is likely to be expensive and may involve using petrol, to get items that you have forgotten. Cooking is so much easier when you have a plan, which is also the case when you are at home.

Hiking is a great way to explore the local area and is free
Do free activities

These include walking in the countryside, cycling and birdwatching. If you followed our staycation last March you will know that Mr Simple and I enjoy these activities, which are usually free. If the countryside isn’t your thing then maybe try city/town walking tours or parks. You can usually pick up a leaflet from the local tourist information office. They often take you to interesting parts of the town that you may not discover on your own. When Mr Simple and I are on holiday in France I have often dragged him around the town to work up an appetite for dinner.

Check what is provided

Before you go check with the cottage owners what is available in the accommodation so that you take everything that you need. Be as specific as you can. A couple of years ago I asked if they provided toilet roll, to which the answer was ‘yes’. When we got there they provided only one roll, which obviously didn’t last for the week. Now I ask, ‘Do you provide toilet roll and if so how many?’ They probably think that I am a bit of a pain, but previously we have ended up having to buy more when I had loads in the cupboard at home that I could have taken with us.

If they provide it – use it

Often I take food items with us, only to find that they are provided. We always use these first before using our own ones.

tea and cake
Enjoy your treats back at your holiday cottage
Take plenty of treats

Buy treats to have in the cottage so you’re not tempted to stop at a café for tea and cake on your way home or go to the pub every evening.

Go out for lunch instead of dinner

When you go out for a meal make it lunch rather than dinner. You will find that restaurants do a cheaper lunch menu, usually with slightly smaller portions, but in my book that’s good as I can then manage three courses. This is one of my favourite things – lingering over a long lunch.

So there we are, just a few ideas for keeping more of those pennies in your pocket when you go away. I hope you found something useful and I would be interested to know how you keep your spending under control when you are on holiday.

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