For me, 2017 has been the year of travel. Finishing off an extended working holiday in Australia I have hopped home via New Zealand and Bali. I got asked a lot what I missed most about the UK when I was living in Australia. Things like tea and toast with my parents and tat tie scones spring to mind but a massive one is the accessibility of Europe. I mean, it’s just RIGHT THERE. I had failed to appreciate it before, but after nearly 3 years abroad I am back and vowing to utilize it as much as my wavering bank account will allow. There is talk of Paris in December, Iceland is booked for November and within four weeks of arriving home I was in Barcelona.
Up until this year my financial control has been pretty horrendous. But I have learnt that if you make enough plans and book enough things, you back yourself in a corner with no opportunities to stray into the realms of impulse spending. You simply must stick to the budget, both in day to life and also when on holiday. Now when I say budget I don’t mean holidaying in a 45 person dorm room and eating cold beans straight from the can, I just mean being sensible. One cannot spend half their life on holiday if they eat in 5 star restaurants every night.
Peppered with pretty photos of European aesthetic, here are some pretty straight forward tips to planning and enjoying a holiday on a budget.
ONLY BOOK CARRY ON BAGGAGE
7kg is enough, I promise you. It’s enough. Not only will you save yourself 30 bucks before you’ve even left the country but you pack light, have very little room for shopping and aren’t tempted to buy 500000000 bottle of duty free goodness on the way home. Limiting your clothing also means less stress over what you’re gonna wear every day. Amen.
BOOK OUTSIDE THE CITY
As much as the hustle and bustle of one of the most cultural cities in the planet is attractive there’s nothing better than rounding off a hectic day sightseeing and going HOME. We booked an apartment 40 mins outside the city, a beautiful train ride around the glittering coast and a short walk around the sandy coast of Stiges, a small fishing town, to our little white washed laneway. That feeling of coming home, slipping off your dusty sandals and putting the radio on is what a holiday is all about, zen.
BOOK SELF CATERING
As much as hotels really are the epitome of “holiday” the rise of Airbnb has seen holiday makers looking for the “home away from home” experience as opposed to a holiday based on service. Don’t get me wrong, having somebody else make your bed is sometimes the best thing on the planet but if we’re talking budget we’re probably going to have forgo the Ritz this one time. Scour Airbnb or Stayz to find a good deal, read the reviews and look at locations on a map, geek out land research like a dad for an hour or two and find the deal that suits you best.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO COOK YOUR OWN MEALS
We did our fair amount of eating out (vegan tapas yes plz) but there is absolutely no shame in cooking your own evening meals on holiday. We dragged the dining table into the street and sipped prosecco, nibbled on olives and cooked up the simplest salads and pasta dishes. Passing dishes out the window and crying with laughter as the locals sat outside smoking and playing cards, smirking at the funny foreign girls having the best time. The only downside to cooking is the washing up but just make sure you’re always the chef thus exempt from washing duties forever.
GIVE YASELF A DAILY BUDGET
You don’t need to take your pocket calculator and account book out and about with you everyday, just work out what you want to spend over the course of the week and divide it by the number of days you’re there. In Barcelona my daily budget was 30 euros. Which meant every morning I left with 30 euros in the bag and when it was gone it was gone. One day I bought a new purse, the other day we had a 8 dishtapas dinner with wine followed by more wine. Not only do you not come home with a suitcase full of crap but you don’t get post holiday regret when you check your bank balance.
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
If you’re like me and there’s only so many historical buildings that can enthuse you then get creative. 5 minutes on the Google machine and I had booked us a drop in yoga class on the docks near the city beach for a bargain price of 5 euro. Dragging ourselves out there for 9am was a mission since we were a little bit worse for wear after the previous days sangria but 60 mins of sun drenched down wards dogs and we were revived, relaxed and felt 100% more justified to drink beer in the sun for the rest of the day.
WALK, DON’T TAXI. STAY AWAY FROM THE TAXIS.
The best way to see a city is by walking. So walk. And use your iPhone to track your steps so you can feel really smug afterwards and eat your weight in olive oil, balsamic and bread. There were some days we would walk more than 10km, sightseeing, window shopping, drinking espressos and people watching or just trying to find the train station to get us home.
ALWAYS HAVE WINE IN THE FRIDGE
Budgeting can be pretty stressful so please don’t forget that holidays are supposed to be FUN. A minimum of 3 bottles are required to be chilled at all time. You may drink anytime after 10am but please be aware of your H20 intake and wear weather appropriate SPF.
TOTAL COSTS for 4 days, 4 nights ;
AIRBNB – £130
EACHFLIGHTS – RYANAIR – £71
SPENDING – £300
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