On A Budget: Easy Holidays.

From the book in progress, “On A Budget: The good housekeeper’s guide to economizing.”

The previous excerpts were on supermarket grocery shopping, time management, mending clothing, cooking and vouchers and coupons. This one is from the chapter “Holidays”.

2.- Staying at home, revisiting old favourites and exploring.

These are the options we first consider when we want to holiday on a budget. They’re often considered boring or difficult and can sometimes work out more expensive than a holiday abroad if they aren’t done right. So first we’ll address the issue of entertainment and then we will cover the costs.

To make the most of a staycation, as they’re sometimes called, we need to first consider what it is that we get out of a holiday abroad. If you go abroad for the entertainment of a big city, then think of the big cities in your own country that you have access to. If you go for a country retreat, then consider the countryside in your own country. Next we consider what we like doing. If we enjoy clubs and restaurants, then we need somewhere with vibrant nightlife. If we enjoy hikes and trails, then we need somewhere with mountains or at least hills. Whatever you’re looking for, you’re likely to find an equivalent that is nearer and cheaper. Make a list of places you’d like to go.

The next thing to ask ourselves is whether there is any way to make the accommodation easier. You may have a friend or a relative living in the sort of place you want to visit. Or you may have found a voucher for a hotel chain online. Anything to help you narrow down your list to something specific for this holiday.

Now you’ve found a few places where you can do what you intend to do and can stay cheaply, the final stage is to fill in the days. You may go to Cardiff for the nightlife, but what will you do during the day? Where do you want to eat or spend your afternoons? You may go to Cairngorm’s National Park to enjoy a country getaway, but what exactly do you plan on doing when you’re there? By filling-in the holiday you make it more complete, you add things for any other people you’re going on holiday with and you can start to already make plans to have fun without spending an arm and a leg.

Of course, you can work off your same list for several years if needs be, as you will likely uncover many new places to explore in your own country. This way we can make the most of our research, rather than returning to our usual holiday habits next year. It also makes for a more interesting holiday than going to the same place abroad every year, so the excitement of novelty should be enough to motivate you to carry on exploring your list.

The other option for years to come is to revisit some of your favourites. Say you spent a week in London, or a weekend visiting National Trust buildings. If you enjoyed that exact stay, you could repeat it again. Go to the same places, find ways of making them cheaper or easier and explore them some more. This is something people often do when going abroad but rarely get the most out of, as it’s hard to solidly explore a place when you’re relying on tour-guides, anglophone areas and maps to introduce you to new things. For example, I know many people who always go to the same place in France or Spain or Italy for their holidays. Same hotel, same restaurants, same activities. They’ve made it into a habit and don’t seem to enjoy it as much any more. And to boot it costs them a small fortune to go there! Meanwhile, Jon and I sometimes revisit places we’ve been before, but make sure that there’s something new to see, something we missed or that we haven’t been there for long enough so we can find it exciting again.

But the most important aspect is the exploring. Without exploring, anything can become dull, especially if it’s a repeat visit. Think of the difference between staying at a B&B for a few days, seeing a museum and going for a walk twice, and going to the same village twice, but staying at the B&B, seeing the museum and going for a walk the first time and eating at a local restaurant, going fishing and seeing an art exhibition the second time. Even if that isn’t exactly your cup of tea, I’m sure you can see how the double-visit that’s exactly the same would get boring, whereas the two different visits help you make the most of a place.

Likewise, whilst visiting major monuments and going to well-known events the first time you go somewhere is always good, doing it repeatedly gets expensive and boring. When visiting Cardiff, seeing the Christmas market, a rugby match, eating in some of the Asian restaurants and participating in the night life may be a good way to go for your first visit. After all, to visit a place and not experience what it’s known for could be a regrettable experience, especially if some of those things are things you usually enjoy anyway. However, the cost of Christmas shopping, stadium tickets, well-known restaurant food and clubbing every night will burn a hole in your wallet. Once you’ve experienced all of them, exploring can help you make the most of a place.

The easiest way to get to know a place in greater depth and explore is to think of it as a home from home. Go shopping for fruits and vegetables to snack on, visit local pubs and inns, check out museums and art galleries of all classes, go to shows and events, join a course for a few days. Treat it as though you lived there part time. This opens up many more possibilities that you may not have even considered in your home town. For example, if you rarely have time to go to a music event, why not go during your visit to a different town? Or if you’ve always been interested in taking an art course or going hiking, then, again, do it whilst you’re on holiday. There is more to everywhere than the tourist attractions and by enjoying every aspect of a place you can make the most of it.

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2 thoughts on “On A Budget: Easy Holidays.

  1. Pingback: On A Budget: Kids’ Clothes. | Your Slaviswife Is Evolving

  2. Pingback: On a budget: Do you need a car? | Your Slaviswife Is Evolving

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