Today I want to discuss low cost ways to make your holiday more luxurious.
For me a luxe low budget holiday begins with finding the right accommodation. If you want a relaxing poolside and beach chill out holiday, there’s nothing wrong with a package deal at a hotel . However if you want to shape your holiday environment, independent self-catering accommodation gives you so much more freedom.
Finding charming self-catering accommodation with a pretty outside space and a reasonable kitchen is always my goal. With a limited budget, most of our money goes on the accommodation. That doesn’t mean we rent expensive places, far from it. But we do want somewhere with a bit of personality, not a bland, highly sanitised apartment fitted out with Ikea cutlery and crockery. It’s different if you’ve got young children but now that it’s just my husband and I, we can choose somewhere quirky and fun.
We tend to use Air BnB I scrutinise the photos and read the reviews thoroughly before booking. By choosing carefully, you can have a truly memorable place to stay. The character of the accommodation helps create a distinct flavour to the holiday. I love a place with a stacked bookshelf, a record player with a pile of vinyl and a cupboard full of board games.
If you can make your accommodation the star of your holiday, you will spend less on going out. If you have accommodation you love, you can have some beautiful times at home. Character properties usually have interesting crockery, glasses and fun artefacts which all add to the sense of novelty and adventure.
Going self-catering means we can spend our money in a way that will gives us the most pleasure. For example if you are staying in a bed and breakfast or hotel room, you will probably need to buy lunch out. Café sandwiches can be expensive and are rarely as nice as those we could make for ourselves. I would rather make a sandwich in my own kitchen and spend my money on that delicious seafood paella in the glorious beachside bistro.
It’s the same with drinks. Why would I pay up to £10 for a single gin and tonic when we can make our own gorgeous drinks at a fraction of the price they would cost in a bar? I drink very little at home but on holiday it’s a treat to enjoy a Pimms, a gin and tonic or maybe even a cosmopolitan. However it’s not a treat to pay up to £20 for one round of drinks for two of us.
These days I enjoy the challenge of being my own bartender. You can get great presentation and serving tips for drinks on YouTube and it’s so much fun to experiment. With a generous slug of alcohol, a good quality mixer, plenty of ice, fresh mint and lemons or limes and you have something as good as any bar could offer.
We take drinks and pretty dishes filled with garlicky olives and spicy nuts onto our sun terrace. It feels so indulgent to sip delicious cocktails or soft drinks and watch the sunset in our own private bar.
When going exploring, we usually pack our own food. This could be as simple as a little box of dried fruit and nuts for a short walk or a more elaborate picnic for a day trip. The picnic might include fresh bread, pungent local cheeses, pates and fresh fruit. We also take our own soft drinks; I put a jug in the fridge and infuse it with mint and cucumber and we tip it into our water bottles for a hydrating drink during a long, hot walk.
We have lots of picnics on holiday and because of this I have invested in some beautiful picnic ware. This includes a lightweight picnic blanket, pretty melamine plates, cutlery, a drinking bottle and a cool bag with ice blocks along with pretty embroidered napkins costing pennies at car boot sale. Because we picnic so frequently I want it to feel like a special experience and having pretty picnic ware really elevates the experience.
Having said all this, we do treat ourselves on holiday we just avoid spending on lots of wasteful incidentals like sandwiches and cold drinks. We tend to eat breakfast and lunch at home or take things with us to have a picnic.
I like to spend my holiday money on experiences that are truly special, ones I couldn’t easily re-create myself. I would rather have a couple of truly memorable meals out than lots of average ones.
We spend a couple of days finding our bearings before choosing where to have our special meals. We check out Trip Advisor, food hygiene ratings, if they are available and also seek suggestions from locals. When we do go out to dinner, we dress up and enjoy a pre-dinner drink or two at home first. Because we don’t go out every night, we enjoy the experience so much more.
For me, part of the pleasure of the holiday is being able to relax in a new environment. I like to take home spa products with me and give myself a pedicure and a facial. It’s fun to take a bit of extra time putting on some makeup, spritzing some perfume and assembling the perfect outfit.
It’s also a treat to get lost in a book or two. At home I tend to read books related to my work so it’s fun to read a light-hearted, uplifting novel on holiday.
Trying on someone else’s music tastes is also something else I enjoy. I love to discover exciting new music whilst I’m away. This creates a theme tune for our holiday and it’s great to play in when we return home to take us back to it.
When you think creatively, there are so many lovely ways to create a bit of holiday luxury on a budget.
So that’s it for today. If this topic interests you, you can visit my Etsy store and take a look at my ‘Make your Holiday Magical’ workbook and printables set. Go to Etsy and search myyearbydesign without any spaces and you will find it there. You can also read my blog at myyearbydesign.com. Thanks for listening. If you have any tips of your own, I’d love to hear them so do leave me a message via this podcast. Bye for now!