Hello, I’m Anne from myyearbydesign.com. Welcome to my first ever podcast. In today’s show, I want to talk about what it takes to make your holiday magical without blowing the budget.
Here in the UK the holiday season is upon us. With all the schools breaking up for the summer, families are starting to think about their summer breaks. Holidays are wonderful but they can eat a big hole in the family budget. All the seemingly small incidentals like ice-creams and beach toys can soon tot up to an eye watering credit card bill.
I set a strict budget for my holidays because I don’t want to go into debt. If you work out the cumulative cost of overspending on holidays over a 10 year period, you could make a serious dent in your mortgage instead. So my husband and I like to plan our holiday to make it as amazing as possible without going into debt.
I became interested in controlling holiday costs in 2008, shortly after the financial crash here in the UK. I found myself in pretty difficult financial circumstances. I work as a freelancer and had a contract designing training for one of our largest UK supermarkets. I loved the work and for two years I had enjoyed a nice steady income and guess I’d got a little complacent as suddenly without warning, all the freelance contracts were bought to an abrupt halt. Overnight I went from feeling reasonably financially secure to having very little income.
My partner and I were due to go on holiday that summer and we knew we’d have to watch what we spent. So my sister-in-law recommended a small wooden beach front cabin at Steephill Cove in the Isle of Wight. It was very reasonably priced so we decided it would be the perfect place for our first low budget holiday. Steephill Cove is a real step back in time to the idealised holidays of childhood with striped deckchairs, buckets and spades and pretty beach huts. It can only be accessed on foot and nestles comfortably beneath the undercliff of Ventnor Botanical gardens.
In early June 2008, we ventured forth taking our car on the ferry from Lymington to Yarmouth. Our beach cabin was clean and tidy but very small and modestly equipped. It consisted of just one room with a bed, table and chairs, a kitchen area and a tiny bathroom. However what it lacked in size was more than made up for by the location. The cabin doors opened out onto a small wooden deck looking out on a charming beach café just beneath us. It was just a few steps down to the beach and at 5.00.pm when everyone went home, we had the beach to ourselves.
I loved our first holiday there, we did so much walking, exploring the Botanical gardens and walking over the cliffs into Ventnor to fetch fresh fish to barbecue each day. We feasted on plump crab pasties from the Crab shack and fresh island produce like tomatoes and new potatoes. We watched the fishing boats come in and enjoyed the sunset from our balcony with only the seabirds for company.
Despite my financial worries, I began to feel incredibly relaxed and carefree. I slept soundly lulled by the sound of crashing waves and awoke refreshed each morning bathed in the warmth of the sun. There was no television or Wi-Fi so we chatted, read and played music and I felt overwhelmed with happiness.
This holiday was a revelation, we spent so little money and yet we had the best holiday ever. What’s more there was no anxiety about getting the next month’s credit card bill and we returned home truly refreshed.
We loved the little cabin so much that we returned each summer over the next few years. I enjoyed packing a few little extras each time to add to the lovely atmosphere. This included floral bunting, a striped table cloth and some fairy lights for evenings on the balcony. We began exploring the other treasures of the island too. We fell in love with Dimbola Lodge, a museum which was home to the celebrated Victorian photographer, Julia Cameron who took ethereal pre-Raphelite style photographs. When dusk fell, we explored Shanklin Chine, a wooded coastal ravine with waterfalls, trees and tropical vegetarian, little footpaths and walkways. It was lit with hundreds of tiny illuminations around tropical plants, waterfalls and walkways – what an enchanting place.
Our holidays on the cove came to an abrupt end when the owners of the cabin sold their house and gardens where the cabin was sighted. Sadly the new owner decided not to rent it out anymore. It was a loss but we were determined to continue having truly magical holidays on a budget.
I became fascinated by what it takes to have a magical holiday but spend very little money so I decided to create a workbook and printable about this topic which I’m selling on Etsy. It’s an experiment really and version one is a first draft which I will refine and add to over time.
So what do I mean by a magical holiday? For me, it’s a holiday that is enchanting or delightful in a way that seems removed from day-to-day life.
When going on holiday, most of us complete the main logistical tasks like booking flights and accommodation but underestimate all the other little steps we can take to make the holiday special. In the workbook I have written, I assume you have booked your holiday and focus on the small details instead. I look at making holiday food preparation easy and enjoyable, I discuss how to create a capsule holiday wardrobe you love and packing a beautifully organised suitcase and travelling like a VIP without the price tag. My goal is to help you feel so prepared for your holiday that you can relax, laugh and reconnect with the happiest, most gorgeous version of yourself.
These days most of my holidays are with my husband as a couple but when his children were younger, we used to travel as a family. I have therefore included ideas for different age groups from toddlers to teenagers and adults. It is my hope that the workbook is thought provoking and inspiring. The idea is that people use the ideas that appeal to them and discard the rest. There are also printables to help you capture your ideas, do your research about things you want to do and what it is you want to take.
If you buy this product and think something missing, I would love to hear from you via the messaging facility within Etsy. I am especially keen to hear from young Mums with babies and toddlers about how they can create a bit of magic, peace and tranquillity. So that’s it for today…my first podcast and my first printable on Etsy. If it interests you, you can find me at Pretty Productive Printables on Etsy and my shop will be open from 26th July. You can also find me at my year by design.com. If you have anything thoughts on this topic, do leave me a message via this podcast. In the meantime, I hope you have a magical summer whether or not you are going on holiday.