Welcome to part two of Skint’s guide to saving cash on holidays this year. Personally, my holiday planning is no further forward – mainly because I keep getting engrossed in other writer’s blogs. Oh, and I got some great news: one of Skint’s posts has been named as a Post of the Week by top US finance site, Budgets are Sexy. This generated a ton of new traffic to Skint in the City, and the ensuing excitement overshadowed the holiday planning for a few hours. New readers, who are now followers as a result of that link – welcome! It’s great to have you here.
Now, down to business. In yesterday’s post I shared a couple of ways to snag free or cut-price holiday accommodation. Well, the good news, Skint pals, is that there’s plenty more where that came from! Here are some other ideas for saving a bundle on your holiday accommodation:
Supersize it. Renting a big cottage or villa with a group of pals can work out cheap as chips per head. This is an especially good thing to do with friends who live in other parts of the world/country, as it’s a chance for a reunion as well as a cheaper holiday, so synchronise your diaries and get planning! You’ll save on everything, from rent to food to car hire: it’s a great excuse to buy crates of wine boxes and jumbo-sized bags of crisps. And because you’re going away with friends you’ll likely want to cook and eat together round a big kitchen table – much cheaper than a romantic getaway a deux, where you end up forking out for restaurants every evening. Big sociable meals, plenty of booze and maybe some board games or tall tales round the fire -sounds good to Skint.
Instead of looking on the websites of tour operators to find a villa, go to community sites such as Gumtree to find local people who are renting out their holiday homes. It’sguaranteed to be cheaper than going through a holiday rental firm.
Hi-de-hi – Try a holiday camp. No, hang on, you – stop laughing at the back! Holiday camps are enjoying their biggest ever revival, with some chains reporting a thirty percent rise in bookings since the rcession struck. Major investment programmes, which include swish hotels as well as chalets and fancy new pools and saunas, have seen holiday camps soar in popularity with a younger crowd. Special, themed events like Northern Soul Weekenders and mini festivals like All Tomorrow’s Parties are giving holiday camps previously-unheard-of street cred too. All the old favourites are still there though: the bingo and the boating pond and those dinky little trains that take you round the site. Oh, and holiday camp breaks are cheap cheap cheap – low enough to take a risk without losing much. Why not give it a shot with a group of pals and spend four or five days reliving your childhood? I think the knobbly knees competition has been ditched, so you’re safe to bare all too.
Work it baby – Yeah, I know we go on holiday to escape the daily grind, but a working holiday can be a brilliant get-away-from-it-all, whilst learning new skills and making a difference at the same time. From conservation projects to volunteering as a steward at Glastonbury just think where you want to go, then see if you can get there for free by volunteering. I know a couple of students who worked at Glastonbury last year, and now most of the major music festivals recruit stewards, who normally work a shift or two with plenty of time off to see bands . See this site for a round-up of how to snag work at the UK’s top festivals.
Holiday at home – If your budget – or lack of planning skills – prevents you from getting away at all there is another option. Staycations are the new jetting off – or something like that . . . Basically, you take a week or two off work and instead of queueing at airports then getting eaten alive by mozzies you relax at home. I do think for a staycation to really pass muster you have to give yourself some treats, like stocking the fridge with goodies, calling a halt to the cleaning and organising a babysitter for at least a couple of nights – or full days – and get some time to yourself. Then just take advantage of all the free stuff your home town has to offer. Arrange to meet friends, go to matinee showings at the cinema, do a spot of vintage shopping and check out the museum exhibitions you’ve been meaning to catch for weeks. For a staycation to really work I think you have to be uber-disciplined about not doing any work in the evenings, not plugging the computer in and not tidying the house too much. With the money you’re saving on travel you can afford to splurge a bit on nice food and drink and some extra help with the usual household chores. Oh, it’s sounding like just the ticket . . .
If I’m going anywhere this year I really must get it sorted pronto. Will update you soon – together with the third part of Skint’s cheap holiday guide – hasta luego!