I share my top tips on what to do & eat, to spend a week away on the cheap, whilst still having fun!
This week I’m on holiday with my family (that’s my Mum and two brothers in their 20’s). We’re in Devon, UK. It’s a late season break, which is good. Between ploughing money into my business, paying the bills, moving slowly toward
needing a new car, and preparing for increased energy bills in Autumn, it needs to be cheap!
- Do budget for food. Basically, don’t eat out all the time! This might sound obvious, but so many spend a FORTUNE of food they could have bought and cooked themselves. I realise in a tent, cooking is quite restrictive, but just like you’d do at home, search out the local superstores BEFORE you go, if possible. An Aldi, Lidl, or Morrisons are always great.
- Check if you can get petrol at local supermarkets, and the current price, rather than a branded chain. Having come to rural Devon, there are not many large local supermarkets close to us, and petrol is higher (currently £1.32 p/l onwards, compared to about £1.23 p/l in the Midlands, or £1.28 p/l in North Wales currently).
- If you do eat out, try fish & chips, a local, independent cafe, or a Weatherspoons! In Devon, there’s one in Ifracombe, which is great for eating on the cheap.
- Food shop on the way back from somewhere (avoid spending extra petrol, and stop cool things getting hot), in the evening. Most supermarkets reduce bread etc, at night, so it’s just like shopping at home. Also, just cos you’re on holiday, not everyone else is, so avoid school/work rush-hour!
- Dry and canned goods like pasta are cheap, flexible, and can last two of you about a week. They’re also not bulky, and don’t need to keep cool-handy if you’re in a tent.
- Buy cheap bread, paste or cheese and make sandwiches every day. When you feel hunger rising, you’ll be fully prepared, even if you’re on a boat trip, and won’t have to spend time trekking round somewhere you don’t know, looking for a decent well-priced meal.
- Remember to take sarnies with you for when you first arrive-most people forget they’ll be hungry, and have no food on them. Taking some basics really won’t hurt.
- Top up on petrol before you go-motorway petrol is expensive!
- Do activities on the cheap-going to the beach, swimming in the sea, walking, sight-seeing, and visiting museums are usually free. Crabbing, seeing local festivals, fete’s and markets, petting farms, and playing sports at a leisure centre are usually fairly cheap, whereas boat trips, cinemas, and places with paid admission can soon drain your budget.
- For paid places, use a National Trust card (£34.50 per year for 18- 25’s, or £69 per year for adults (2018 prices). It might seem alot, but when I tell you that at Bodnant Garden, North Wales, where I work, is £13.20 per adult (2018 prices), with the most expensive place I been to being Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire, at £19.80 per adult, it soon works out. Take sarnies-NT places are NOT cheap!
- Pilfer local tourist info centres, or pick the brains of anyone who might have local knowledge-they’re a hive on what’s cheapest/best for budget. Also, there’s usually at least one leaflet with discount vouchers! You can also find them online (people use Ebay to sell unwanted Alton Tower’s tickets, for example), or you can get discounts from cereal packets, or bank/vehicle recovery deals (eg: The AA offer discounts on lots of things for Gold Members)
- A football, Frisbee, or swing-ball provide hours of entertainment. Use green spaces & get active!
- If you are on a static caravan site, it’s most likely there will be FREE entertainment, swimming pool, demonstrations, or cheap activities-so check it out!
- Always check reviews, prices & opening times if you can. You don’t want a miserable holiday!
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