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Budgeting for a holiday (a necessary evil)

Wednesday 27 June 2012

I know, I know. This isn’t the Financial Times (though would they publish an article about planning a holiday? Probably not… unsurprisingly, I’ve never read it). But planning a holiday budget is important. I’m not going to blab on endlessly about the state of the economy. Mostly because I’d expose myself as the ignorant moron I am, but also because you know it all. We know we’re all poor. We know we can’t buy houses, or gold ponies, or jet packs.

I’ve resisted, for a number of years, the idea that I’m tight. And I still don’t think I am. But I am rather a Sensible Susan when it comes to money. I’ve never had a credit card, and I would rather get by without one. I don’t spend beyond my means. I’m not bragging (who would?) but it does mean that I’m a good person to lecture you about being a little more frugal.

Really, it’s simple. Don’t spend what you don’t have. Don’t plan on coming home and then living on beans, because you won’t.

When you start thinking about a holiday, sit down and ask yourself, in a very serious tone of voice, how much you can spend on this. Or how much you want to spend.

And then spend it. It really is that simple.

But please, I beg of you, be realistic. Don’t spend money on flights and accommodation, and allow yourself a budget of €10 a day to get by on. Because you can’t get by on this, and you won’t. Unless you’re in India, and even then you’re pushing it.

I’m all for budget travel, but you need to be honest with yourself, because it all adds up. You get a coffee, an ice cream (or three) and then lunch and dinner. You’ll accidentally go shopping. You’ll get cocktails. You’ll get many cocktails.

Whatever you think you’ll spend, it’s a fair bet you’ll spend more. I would actually double it. So be honest with yourself. Go somewhere a little closer to home. Go for a week, rather than a fortnight. Better to live it up for a shorter amount of time, than to spend a second week crying into stale bread because you can’t afford to eat. Or worse, breaking out the credit card and then crying into the bill when you get home. It’s not worth the stress.

Personally, I would avoid choosing an all-inclusive option in order to save money. Because if you have an iota of sense, you’ll be sick of the hole by the second day, and dining out locally anyway, where the food will be a million times better.

There are lots of ways to save money on a holiday, and I’ll be posting ideas throughout the summer, but it’s something you need to think about right at the beginning.

Trust me. I’ve never been wrong about anything, ever.

Have you ever been stuck for money abroad? Or do you have any failsafe budgeting tips?


  1. Hmmm, don't think in India as well you can get by in €10 anymore. Very expensive now, I am Indian btw.

    1. Ooh, really? I've actually never been to India, alas. When I was in Kenya I met a girl who thought everything was extortionate (when I thought it was dirt cheap) compared to India, where shed just been.

      Do you think everything has gotten more expensive there? Including budget places? Or are there just more expensive options? I've seen loads of luxe hotel openings in the last few years.

      Do you get to go over pretty often?

  2. Hi Nicola, I moved to Dublin in 2009 and when I went back home in 2010 I couldn't believe the prices. But I am talking about shopping clothes, shoes and eating out in fine places, y'know. But you can always find budget places to live but not as cheap, I actually wouldn't know coz I was never a tourist in my own country. If you ever decide to go to India let me know. We get many French and German backpacker tourists in India so I am sure they live on budget. I might be going next year Autumn.


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