Friday, 14 January 2011

Frugal Holiday Plans

The television is wall to wall at this time of year with advertisements exhorting us all to plan and book our summer break. In common with many this year, I'm having to tighten my belt, but I love a summer break, it gives me something to look forward to and affords a week away from everyday routine, cares and worries to recharge the batteries.

Now I'm never terribly extravagant in the holiday department, every year at this time my DH and I discuss where to go, we toy with the idea of venturing abroad this year and promptly discard it with "well there's still so much we want to see here - maybe next year." This leads to a discussion of possible holidays to the south of the country - not an area we have visited a great deal, so largely uncharted. Then one of us will invariably say, "if we go there though we'll only wish we'd gone to Scotland!" and so will begin the planning of another week in Scotland.

This year though the discussion centred less on where to go and more on whether to book a holiday at all - after all neither of our jobs are secure - what if one of us or worse, neither of us has a job?

After quite a bit of debate we decided to book a cheap self catering property that we can afford to pay for in full this month. The idea being that the accommodation is booked and paid for, we will have to buy food to eat whether at home or away and while we are working we will squirrel away a little each month for diesel.

OK - I've done this before when the girls were young and we had many many happy holidays on a strict budget. First thing is to decide a rough area where you want to go. A couple of years ago we toured Scotland by motorbike. One of the areas we visited was new to us - the Ardnamurchan peninsula. Ardnamurchan is situated on the remote west coast of Scotland, it is a long, narrow peninsula along the shores of Loch Sunart and marks the most westerly tip of the British Mainland. Our stay at that time was brief, but we vowed to  return so we decided that this will be where we holiday this summer.

One of the views taken on our previous visit to Ardnamurchan

The next thing to be decided was budget. We set this at a maximum of £250. Now when you consider we need to book within the school summer holiday period you will appreciate that this is a rather small sum of money - but I was confident that I could do it. I realised we'd be hard pressed to find a cottage for that sum, but reasoned that a caravan might be a possibility. I knew we didn't want to book onto a caravan site as we look for peace and quiet on our holidays so it was off to search Google for a farm caravan.

Googling "self catering caravan Ardnamurchan" threw up a few possibilities. The first choice had decided to suspend the letting of their caravan, the second was fully booked over the summer holiday period, but I struck third time lucky and was able to hire one of the two lovely caravans below - and come in under budget at only £190 for the week!

The caravans are set on a farm and each caravan sleeps up to four people, with one twin and one double master bedroom, and each unit has a shower room. There is a  large and comfortable lounge, equipped with colour TV and a gas fire which opens into a fully-equipped kitchen with a gas cooker, a fridge and a microwave. Gas is included in the rental and all linen and towels are provided.

Having booked the accommodation I'm beginning to feel quite excited - just need to plan the food now. It might seem a little early to be planning food, but if I plan a menu now, I can buy a little with each grocery shop and so cut costs while we are there.


  1. Now that's planning. We went camping last year and had the most amazing time, it was cheap and cheerful. We got away from it all and spent quality time together as a family of five. I don't think a 'great holiday' means spending out hundreds and hundreds of pounds. Have a wonderful time, fingers crossed all will be well and your planning ahead will mean a few extra pub meals xx

  2. Forgot to say that we are camping again this year and are all looking forward to it :0) x

  3. That's brilliant value for school holiday time, my friends really resent paying through the roof for their annual break and will be very impressed by your find. Bet you can't wait. xxx

  4. Oh what a great find. It looks like a beautiful place and you've got it for such a bargain price considering it's the school holidays.

    We do a similar thing every Easter and I absolutely love it. There are just so many places to explore - who needs to get on a plane?

  5. What a beautiful place and a real bargain too! I like how you planned it all out, I am a bit slap-dash and then give up and promise to try again next year - I should take a leaf from your book and focus!!

  6. It looks a beautiful place! Well done you for finding a bargain.
    Holidays don't have to be the most expensive to be the best....I'm sure you'll have fab time my lovely.
    Hope you're gonna show us the piccies!
    Karen x x x

  7. That's a great find! I love the Ardnamurchan area, it's gorgeous! We need to find something cheap for holidays too, we're thinking about going to one of the islands camping, but the ferry's so expensive! :) x

  8. Oh Wow... We'd love to visit Scotland..maybe we'll wait for your holiday snaps, and follow your lead :0)
    I think you got a bargain with that caravan, it looks like a lovely place to stay...
    Have a great weekend. x

  9. Well now, isn't that something great to look forward to. We're going back to the west coast this August if all goes to plan. I absolutely loved our visit there in 2007 - Arisaig, Applecross and Ardnamurchan - triple A rated!!! However, I'll certainly be packing my thermals and hotwater bottles this time, an unforseen expense in '07 on the coldest camping trip in living memory lol;)


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