Whether you prefer strapping on your skis, hitting the waves or strolling round the golf course when you travel abroad, you can generally expect to be paying a hefty price for the pleasure. Here’s a look at some of the more costly holiday activities to show you how you can get the most from your money.
Ski on a budget
The cost of a week skiing can mount up, especially with the additional costs of buying the correct gear and weekly lift passes. Choose your destination and accommodation wisely, to cut down costs and keep to a budget.
The cheapest destinations tend to be Eastern European countries such as Bulgaria, Slovenia and Croatia, which offer inexpensive accommodation and lift passes. Book self-catering or all-inclusive accommodation and pack your own lunches for the slopes, as these will help you budget your trip more effectively.
Lift pass prices can vary depending on when you are going skiing. They are usually cheapest for pre-season weeks and near the end of the season, whilst peak weeks like school holidays will generally be more expensive. You will often be able to find lower priced lift passes for children and seniors and families can also make the most of any reduction if booking as a group.
Some of the best deals and offers come towards the end of the season, so time your trip for March for great value and quiet slopes. If you’re booking a year ahead aim for the week before Christmas, but check the expected snowfalls first. If you’re likely to be skiing again it can be cheaper to invest in your own gear rather than frequently hiring. However, be wary of additional airport charges for flying with ski gear as these differ with each airline. To make getting to the airport easier and cheaper, drive your gear yourself and park with an external airport parking company such as Heathrow parking specialist Purple Parking, who regularly offer a range of great deals and are much cheaper than the airport’s own car parks.
City break on a budget
Even a short city break can prove costly once accommodation, dining and entertainment have been taken into account, particularly as costs can be much higher in cities compared to country retreats.
Short-haul European cities such as Paris or Amsterdam are cheaper and easier to reach, especially if you can travel there by ferry, train or even by car. Make sure you budget for road tolls as the cost of these can mount up.
For exceptionally low-cost options for dining, entertainment and shopping, consider heading slightly further afield to Eastern European cities such as Budapest in Hungary, Tallinn in Estonia or Prague in the Czech Republic. These beautiful regions offer stunning architecture and a fun atmosphere with relatively cheap prices.
Many of the most reasonable deals for Europe will be during winter outside of school holidays. If you don’t mind wrapping up, these colder months can be an ideal time to take a city break.
Choosing a hotel outside of the centre will also cut accommodation prices, with just the small additional cost of a bus or train journey. This has the added benefit of allowing you to see more of a city than the central tourist district. Or consider renting an apartment, particularly if travelling as a group, as you can cook for yourself and save on expensive dining bills.
Golf on a budget
Some of the top budget destinations for golfing holidays include the Algarve, Turkey and Spain and there is a wealth of options within a short-haul flight of the UK with a variety of great deals on flights and accommodation. Destinations outside the Euro will help your money go much further and booking a golfing package holiday can also save you cash.
There are also some fantastic golfing options in the UK and Ireland which you can drive to, meaning you can enjoy a break away from home without having to spend on flight costs at all.
Do your research ahead of booking and take advantage of any deals courses may have. Most destinations have cheaper courses and tee times available, so perhaps avoid some of the more popular ranges if you’re on a tighter budget.
Save yourself the cost of hiring clubs by bringing your own. If you’re flying overseas, make sure you’ve checked out the baggage allowance first, as some flight companies charge to bring bulky gear on board. It’s worth considering the combined price of the flight and the additional baggage, as sometimes more expensive flights can work out cheaper once costly extras have been taken into consideration.
Cruise on a budget
Cruising is often viewed as an expensive holiday option, but with accommodation, entertainment, food and drink included in the initial price, it can be a great way of ensuring you keep on top of your budget and escape too many additional costs.
Destination-wise, there are plenty of options for Mediterranean cruises which are likely to be much cheaper than longer-haul destinations like the Caribbean, whilst still including gorgeous weather and stunning sights. In fact, they offer the perfect opportunity to visit a series of idyllic destinations without having to incur too many additional transportation costs. You will usually need to take flights to and from your cruise’s initial and final port, which will be cheaper if you stick to short haul.
Staying in a lower deck room or inside cabin will also help to cut costs. Avoid the additional shore excursions or tours, which can often be over-priced. You can easily book these yourself or use local transportation to explore on your own terms.