Holidays need not be costly. Though a two-week tour of the Caribbean, fortnight in Dubai or 30-minute gambling spree in Monte Carlo might require the GDP of a small Eastern European country to finance, holidays on a budget are a possibility. More to the point, they can also be heaps of fun. Listed below are a handful of some of the most creative and entertaining ways to holiday on a shoestring.
Who can resist a road trip? Even in Britain there are superb routes for travellers. One of the best is Beverley (East Riding of Yorkshire) to Pocklington via Spurn Head, Bridlington and Driffield. The 135-mile journey cuts through the heart of the northern English countryside. Travellers can expect plenty of straight roads, quaint villages and remote hillside vistas. There is even an ancient monolith, which stands at an impressive 26 feet.
Routes in Scotland and Ireland are arguably even more impressive. Scotland features everything from tranquil lochs to rugged mountains. Touring the Highlands is one option, but many tourists prefer to visit the Outer Hebrides, which can be accessed via ferry and is home to numerous areas of outstanding natural beauty. In Ireland, the triangular route linking Limerick, Dublin and Galway provides spectacular views of this majestic land, while a trip further north can take visitors to the world-famous Giant’s Causeway.
Any trip abroad can be expensive, but if a foreign adventure is combined with a road trip, huge savings can be made. Visiting the United States, for example, is notoriously pricey, especially if tourists head to New York, Las Vegas or Florida. Whereas a package holiday in California can cost many thousands of dollars, cheap flights and a good car rental can be sought separately. While still relatively expensive, tourists can substantially cut the cost of heading to the States by taking a coast-to-coast road trip. Along the way, travellers can eat in roadside diners, soak up the sun and take in sights such as the Grand Canyon. Road trips in Europe are also relatively inexpensive.
What cheaper way to explore a new land than by taking up an offer of free accommodation in somebody else’s home? House-sitting has become a popular way to reduce the threat of burglary while the owners of a property are away for a few weeks or months. The arrangement began as a means of providing help for friends and family, but now professional house-sitters can be hired to look after a home, ensure that maintenance is kept up to date and perhaps even look after pets. Some people are uneasy about the idea of looking after someone else’s home while they are away, but the arrangement can provide the perfect opportunity to explore a new area, region or country.
Holidays are often more fun in groups, but they can also be significantly cheaper than heading abroad alone or in pairs. Air travel is typically one of the cheapest aspects of heading abroad, especially if the destination is on the European mainland. Accommodation,however, can be expensive – unless the bill is split among a group of travellers who do not mind sharing rooms. Substantial savings can be made by equally dividing the cost of accommodation, food, drinks and entertainment among all members of a group.
Why pay for a holiday when someone else, typically a not-for-profit organisation, is willing to pay for you? Volunteering abroad is not exactly a holiday in the traditional sense, as it demands a great deal of hard work in conditions that are not always ideal, but the experience is one that can easily surpass the greatest of holidays.
Volunteers are often flown out to remote corners of the world and put up in basic accommodation. They may be called upon to provide a service in the area; for example, volunteers might help rebuild a school or teach English as a second language. As noted above, volunteering does not usually provide much luxury, but it can allow people to explore the world, develop skills and help those in need, for little or no cost.
Whatever type of holiday is chosen, travellers should not be willing to rack up a huge debt to explore the world. Relying on loans and credit cards to travel abroad merely postpones financial hardship. Reality soon kicks in and many travellers who rely too heavily on credit are forced to deal with the consequences on their return, often seeking professional help from debt management firms.
What to do when money is a problem…
If you’re unable to go on holiday because your budget is being stretched to the limit when it comes to paying for everyday essentials like rent, household bills, debts, travel and food, then you could get some help with your finances.
Some people find a simple restructure of their expenditure is all it takes to get back on track. Setting budgets is also another great way to cut back on spending and free up a little cash to repay debts.
For those with bigger financial problems, getting out of debt may seem like a long way away. But with the right help, a debt management company could help you set up an affordable repayment plan that’s based on what you can realistically afford.
Your dream holiday can become a reality – and all it all starts with changing your financial habits.
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