Friday, March 23, 2012

Getaways on a budget: How not to break the bank this summer...

If you’re not a teacher, the chances are that your summer holiday is a much-coveted time of year when work can take a running jump and you can dedicate yourself to the pursuit of pleasure. A marvellous concept, by all accounts. However, if you’re not filthy rich and you’re worried that two weeks in Ibiza may mean you have to remortgage the house, read on. There are plenty of ways to amuse yourself of this fair isle that don’t involve spending a heap of cash; here are a selection of budget breaks that won’t leave you weeping tears of anxiety when you get home.
If you’re looking for somewhere to take your family that involves freedom, the chance to explore little-known parts of the UK and, of course, the opportunity to walk on the great British coastline, then researching holiday parks might be the answer. As well as staying closer to home, so your travel costs are dramatically reduced, you don’t have to worry about changing currency - and many parks allow you to bring your pet along, so no more kennel costs. Plus, there’s something rather lovely about enjoying taking advantage of the UK’s gorgeous scenery; who needs sunburn and potentially-disastrous food when the UK has everything you need to have a great holiday?

Of course, many people aren’t content to get close to water - they want to live on it, which is where boating holidays come in. If you’re after a blissfully-serene holiday without all the trappings of modern holidays (overpriced food, air travel, expensive hotels), this is for you. Similarly to many UK holiday parks, some companies will also allow pets, so pack your pet’s lifejacket! (We do not advise this for cats. They are not known for their river-faring ways.)
Back to land-based holidays. For those who are truly seeking adventure on a budget, and who are desperate to get away for a fraction of the cost, try camping. Devon and Cornwall are always popular choices for people keen to get their tent erected, and many campsites offer showering facilities, washing facilities and power points (so you can bring your hairdryer. Hurrah.). If you choose to camp while the UK’s weather is at its warmest, you’ll find that all those warnings of freezing at night are quite untrue - plus, there’s normally a great atmosphere at campsites that means families don’t have to worry about fellow holidaymakers or snooty waiters.
The next idea is still very much in its infancy, despite the amount of coverage it has produced. If you’re keen to see another part of the world (or the UK) for a minimal fee, sign up to a reputable Holiday Home Swap site online (the Guardian’s one is pretty good). Essentially, you put your own home on the site, then find another user who’s willing to ‘swap’ with you for a week or so, in the same time frame. This does mean a thorough clean before your ‘guests’ arrive, but your accommodation will be far more luxurious than a hotel - and you can feel smug at the amount of money you’ve saved on a hotel. Plus, if you’re an avid reader, or love DVDs, you may well find there’s a huge amount of new material ready for you to work your way through...

Finally, let’s take a look at the ‘staycation’; a concept that started in the US during the financial crisis of 2007. This is, in basic terms, just enjoying staying at home and doing all the things you’ve been wanting to do, whilst enjoying some time off. This kind of holiday may not be ideal for those with children seeking stimulation, but for couples who love each other’s company, and who are happy to enjoy a good book in the garden after catching up with some weeding, it’s ideal. It’s easy to sneer at the staycation, but anyone who has experienced the euphoric joy of finally clearing out the garage, or cleaning out their sock drawer, will know better. Besides, if you have a less-than-enjoyable time, who cares? It’s not like you’ve wasted any money...

Vicky Anscombe is an Online PR and Social Media Consultant for Norwich-based SEO company, Further. She has been camping at least three times and thoroughly enjoyed it, and has plans to try a home swap for herself.


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  2. So very true. Thank you for your response.