Save money on holidays

We just returned from yet another great short vacation that cost us next-to-nothing. Sounds interesting? Here’s how we did it.

The two most expensive things when you’re vacationing is travel and boarding costs, meaning airplane tickets and hotel bills. To cut the overall cost of our vacations, we have found alternatives to these two areas.

First, we pick a destination that requires no flying. Instead of buying airline tickets (Vienna-London, two persons for €99 p.p. = €198 for two), a 600 km drive would amount to the same*), which gets you to a lot of interesting places and lets you stay flexible and mobile once you get there. Compare with different airplane tickets and you could drive even further.

*) I calculate the car’s cost per kilometer as €0,33 based on total historical cost.

Second, we enjoy camping and have found that it is considerably cheaper than a hotel. It’s also a lot of fun because we are pretty much “offline”, barely aware of the busy life back home. We cook simple meals (thus saving even more money) and enjoy the outdoors as much as we can, and we talk and play board games when the weather is too rough to enjoy. We get a lot of personal time this way, which we don’t always get back home.

Granted, we’ve invested in some good camping equipment over the last two years, like a large, high-quality tent, a portable gas cooker and lamp, some pots and plates, and fold-away table and chairs. All of these things will last us many years, so the cost per use is really quite low — and becomes lower with every use!

In the colder part of the year, we often find a privately rented holiday flat, still avoiding hotel costs and having much the same freedom as when camping.

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