Holidays less ordinary: cheap holiday ideas for when the beach just won’t cut it.

7 Feb

Hola, Skint pals, guten tag and boujour to you too!

Why am I showing off my incredible command of three major European langauges, I hear you ask? Oh, okay then I’ll tell you . . .

Today I bring you the second part of the Skint mini-series focusing on getting the best deals from your summer holidays this year. Last week I shared some of the best ways to snag a city break on a budget and today we’re looking at holidays less ordinary - great summer holidays which are not only cheaper then your standard package break, but are way more interesting too. frugal holiday ideas butlins monorail

See, so many of the cheap summer holiday deals are a little, shall we say, dull? A fortnight on the Costa Brava has its place, but sometimes you want to think outside the beach a little. But unusual holidays are pricey, right? Surely last-minute packages are the best budget option?  Not necessarily, mes Skint amis!

Sometimes unusual and cheap get into bed together and when they do – ooh, it’s good. Here are four cheap holiday ideas that will keep the snooze factor at bay.

A holiday to boast to office colleagues about, which costs less than a fortnight on a Spanish beach – yup, we’re living the dream over here today . . .

Say hi to the sandman

One of the stand-out days of my life? The day I went to the start of the desert. In Morocco we hired the services of a local guide to take us from the town of Ouarzazate into the desert. We climbed dunes; were taken to a rocky outcrop used by Hollywood to shoot several major films; gave a lift to some women returning home with their shopping, and spent the evening having dinner with our guide, his wife and their three-week old daughter. At night, the stars are the most amazing you’ll ever see and I vowed then to go back for a proper holiday. As soon as the little Skints are just a bit bigger, we’re off. You can camp out in North Africa’s deserts in standard tents, with camels for transport, and hiring a guide will let you see things you’d never have come across otherwise. The price of these holidays can work out cheaper than your standard European resort breaks. Try to support the local economy as much as you can by hiring local guides rather than going through a major operator, or use a responsible travel firm like this one , which lets you stay with local families. Several cheap flight operators fly to Marrakech, then share a Grand Taxi (old Mercedes that seat six) with other travellers heading south, splitting the cost depending on how far you’re going.

Camp it up

You know I love camping. Way back I worked a couple of summers as a campsite courier, cleaning tents, welcoming holidaymakers and making emergency dashes to the hypermarket for more beer. Now I return with the family, because for me camping offers the best kind of holiday – one that’s a total break from daily life. No high street, few cars, just lots of cycling, wine, lounging and chatting to new friends long into the night.  And it can be pretty cheap too. Eurocamp, one of the biggest of the catered camping firms, has a number of deals on its website right now, especially if you can travel in early summer. Here’s the link.

We are sailing . . .
Looking to slash both travel and accomodation costs? Why not combine them in a crafty fashion? A sailing holiday is a novel way to pile on a big group of family and friends and it can work out really cheaply. Meander through canals and rivers at a leisurely pace. Drink wine as you go. Life is but a dream. Don’t worry if you haven’t sailed before – the training’s all part of the package. I’ve never done this type of holiday but have pals who swear by it. Plus, you get to sing that Rod Stewart song A LOT . . . Digging around today I found some deals on barge holidays that might be a place to start. Can’t vouch for it as never used this firm but if you’re thinking of a sailing holiday you might as well get the deals, right?

Take a staycation

If you really lack the cash to travel anywhere but still want to get away I recently met someone who swapped home with an acquaintance in the same city! An easy, free way to experience a change of scene – would you? Even if you don’t have an eligible swapee in your home town, you can still have a true holiday at home. Plumping for a staycation lets you do all the things in your town that you don’t normally get around to doing – seeing that museum exhibition; checking out the arthouse cinema; visiting that new café. And at the end of the day you get to sleep in your cosy bed. There’s one rule though – no chores allowed. No cleaning, apart from the essentials, no using the time to visit the dentist or get the car serviced. You’re on holiday, remember – your mission is to relax and have fun.

 What idea do you have Skint pals for holidays less ordinary? I’d love to know. Share them please? Bonus points for those who pepper their comment with some franglais/spanglish . . .

Skint x

PS – I haven’t been paid or perked for any of these links to holidays providers - just like to share the holiday feeling . . .

Photo credit: Hows

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