Are you sitting somewhere in the sun, sipping ice-cold beer and racking your brains about ways to save money on holiday?
I am. We arrived on Skiathos and started our holiday last Friday. We are not what you’d call extravagant and still the money is flowing through my purse like a mountain river: fast.
So, I’ve started thinking about how to spend less without threatening the quality of our holiday.
You know me, guys, I consider being frugal only when it is frugal artistry and it doesn’t compromise quality.
Before I tell you what I came up with (and keep your excitement in check here) let me mention that if you are British – or you earn wage in Britain in GBP – being frugal matters little. Whatever you do, you holiday will cost you more than last year. Why?
This is part of the price we Brits have to pay for our democratic choice to leave the EU – a much weaker currency. Just so you know that I’ve checked, exactly a year ago one GBP would have got you 1.42 euro; today, one GBP would buy you 1.15 euro.
Yes, your beer costs approximately 20% more before you even start being frugal. This is true about everything you pay for: food, entertainment, car rental…all of it.
Now that this is out of the way and we all understand that it doesn’t matter how careful we are with out money we’d spend 20% more than we planned to spend, let me tell you my to four tips to save money on holiday.
I’m assuming that you have already booked flight and accommodation and your main spending is on food, booze, transport and fun.
#1. Save Money on Holiday: Food
It didn’t take long to figure out that our main spending here is on food. We all have to eat, right?
We need our protein and we have a son in his teens with us – it takes quite a bit of food to keep him full and happy.
The only way to eat well and to save on food is to go for a combination between cooking simple things and eating in restaurants.
You want an example?
Tonight we have steak and tomato salad that cost 12 euro for the three of us. In a restaurant the same meal would have cost no less than 60-70 euro.
We are not losing out on the local cuisine: we’ve decided to go to restaurants twice a week (and just so you know, I have a Greek cookbook and John claims that many of the dishes he tries in the local restaurants have nothing on mine).
I reckon that this strategy – a mixture between cooking simple and nutritious food and going to restaurants – will save us close to 600 euro over the two weeks.
Not too shabby, I think.
#2. Save Money on Holiday: Booze
This is a tricky one. Again, you’d do best to buy your booze in the nearest supermarket.
What is the fun in drinking it alone, on the balcony (or in your room)?
I don’t do that. I have a drink at the bar; I have one drink per evening (this suits me right since I’m a cheap drunk anyway).
If you want to save on drink, you should also stay away from cocktails – these are delicious but very expensive and full of sugar.
#3. Save Money on Holiday: Transport
We didn’t hire a car on holiday twice in two decades and we regretted it: having the means to get about gives you a lot of freedom and has great effect on how much you pay on fun and entertainment.
We like to explore when we go places. This is why we hire a car.
This year we hired our car before we left the UK; this way, we saved in the region of £400 pounds for two weeks hire.
As you can see, we ended up with the most ugly car I’ve ever been in; it is also severely underpowered. Still, we can go to the supermarket and to different beaches.
I’ve always fancied hiring a motorbike but John is not that keen; may be I’ll do this when I get my licence.
#4. Save Money on Holiday: Fun and Entertainment
Do you know the best part about being on a Greek island?
Fun is everywhere and it doesn’t have to cost much.
This island has many beaches – we have a list of the ones we would be visiting again.
I’ll be walking the dogs in the dog shelter again (man, this is a hard one – my heart broke last year and I wanted to take them all back).
The rest needs to be planned – having fun is great when it is planned.
John and our son want to go on a daylong yacht experience – not cheap but good father-son fun and bonding. (I’m not going because a day on a boat is my idea of hell).
Our son would probably do some water skiing and diving.
And of course we will have a lot of fun playing in the sea.
Once you’ve accepted that your holiday expenses would be approximately 20% higher than this time last year – because of the weak pound – there are still easy ways to save money on holiday.
You just need to use a bit of planning and imagination; that’s all.