Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Frugal holiday ideas

In the past we've gone on holiday when we have felt like it with no thought to the overall cost incurred. In this new world of ours we've had to re-think our holiday strategy. Instead of simply booking some flights, checking into whatever accommodation we feel like and eating wherever suited us we've had to find cheaper options.

Rent a house : Here in New Zealand there are a few websites with reasonably priced houses and holiday homes for rent (e.g., and are some examples). This option is great for family holidays (lots of room for kids to run around), romantic getaways (nice and private) and for group holidays (grab another couple or two and have a grownup break away). Properties through these sites range from basic, cheap dwellings through to luxurious, more expensive places. Sharing with another family or friends can bring the cost down to a more reasonable level.

Camping : I have to admit I am not a fan of camping. I am used to my creature comforts (bed, shower, toilet, chairs) but for a cheap trip away this would be a good option. Of course we don't have all the camping gear for this type of holiday but I know we could borrow what we need from friends and family. Here in New Zealand there are plenty of options for camping sites from proper camping grounds / holiday parks with full facilities through to camping out on someone's farm or booking into a DoC (Department of Conservation) camping site (they have over 250 vehicle-accessible sites with a range of facilities from none to full-on). See for details. DoC also have cabins and lodges available at reasonable prices.

Home swap : This idea appeals to me. You may decide to swap houses with friends or family living in a different area - this could be at no cost apart from transport. There are also some sites to help with this option - and are a couple of examples. I haven't tried a home swap before but would be keen to try it at some stage.

Food : To save money self-catering is the way to go. I know this may seem like it's not much of a holiday for the cook of the family but this is an opportunity for everyone to pitch in and do their bit. If you stick to simple meals, salads, picnics and barbeques this doesn't need to be so onerous. You could also cook some meals ahead and take them with you - a big pot of soup or a casserole would be fantastic for dinner on a winter holiday.

Activities : I am a fan of relaxing holidays, spending time with the family and generally chilling out. My perfect holidays are those where walking, swimming and lazing in the sun feature predominantly. Personally I am not into rushing around, going to all the tourist attractions, etc. We spent time on our family holiday last year playing cards and board games - there was no television which was fantastic.

In this crazy, busy world we live in, holidaying simply becomes more important. Holidays that give your mind and body time to relax help bring sanity back into your life. Mmmmmm, must start planning our next break away.

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