Action holidays on a shoe string

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A lot of people marvel at the fact that I have so many holidays and I often get asked how I do it – the answer is simple. When it comes to going away, I am a massive tight wad! I like to shop around to get the best deal and would rather stay in a B&B than a 5* hotel. After all, the more I save, the more holidays I can squeeze in.

So here are some of my top tips for saving money on your holidays:

Before you go:

- Shop around and negotiate: Small family run B&Bs may be able to do a discount, for example, if you are staying for a few nights. For them, it’s much better to have rooms filled with paying customers than an empty room. Make a spreadsheet of all the different options and add up flight costs and certain things that other packages do and don’t include to ensure you are getting a true price comparison.

- Decant all your cosmetics and toiletries into travel-sized containers and take perfume and cream samples with you (I have a collection that I have been given, got free or came from Glossy Box). I also pinch the shampoo and conditioner from hotels (when I go for work trips) and re-use them.

- Take home comforts that you can’t live without (marmite, teabags etc) with you. Chances are buying these abroad will cost double the UK price.

- Look in unusual places: Earlier in the year I went to Romania and I found that deal on Groupon! I saved 50% on the price of the holiday.

- Think outside the box: If you are in to hiking, climbing and mountaineering – think outside the box. For example, rather than the Alps, consider the Dolomites. The lifts are much cheaper as is the accomodation. Tenerife is also fantastic for walking and hiking, with such well marked out routes that even the most navigationally challenged person would be able to find their way around.

- Make use of budget airlines: Yes I know you have to queue up for ages with the great unwashed, but who cares? As long as you get there right? Some great budget airlines that I use are Monarch, Easy Jet and Wizz Air.

When you get there:

- Eat out less often: It may seem mean, but if you have a kitchenette make use of it. You don’t have to be an amazing chef, you could just get some beers in and a frozen pizza. You are guaranteed to save yourself a small fortune and you are also much less likely to overindulge by ordering that chocolate pudding!

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- If staying in a hotel, make yourself lunch from the breakfast buffet. This is a bit sneaky I know, but I justify it as I usually eat a small breakfast whilst other people may be going in for second or third helpings. You have to be organised and take a lunch box/sandwich bag with you, but you can easily spend £10-20/day on lunch in a restaurant.

- Why buy when you can hire: Lots of people buy expensive kit, never use it again and it ends up on ebay. Most outdoor companies that run adventure holidays will let you hire kit at very reasonable costs. Not only does it save you space/weight in our case, but it also saves you money and gives you the opportunity to try before you buy.

Some of favourite budget holidays:

- Dolomites, Italy (10 days): 1 week Via Ferrata and 2 days in Jesolo and Venice – total cost approx £650. Monarch fly to Venice for as little as £39.

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- Atlas mountains, Morocco: 2 days in Marrakech and 5 days hiking and summiting Mount Toubkal – total cost approx £650. Try Trek Hire UK.

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- Tenerife: 5 days relaxing/2 days hiking (half board). Try Easy Jet.

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Do you have any money saving holiday tips to share?

sian

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