I went and got our holiday spending money changed into Euros today. I got them from the Post Office as, unlike most banks, they don’t charge any commission so the service is free. I was amazed to find that it is practically one euro for one pound – last time we went away it was around 1.5 euros for a pound! We really are going to be cutting it fine, though I’d much rather be shoestringing it abroad than shoestringing it at home on my week off so I can’t really complain.
An investigation of the chest of drawers in our bedroom has revealed insect repellant, two padlocks and a plug converter so we don’t have to get/replace any of those before we go. Due to the new budget controls (largely self-imposed and mainly due to the last minute holiday planning) I am thinking that these are going to be the main areas where this holiday will be different from the previous ones:
- Excursions: We would usually book at least one excursion when we are going away for a week even though we make our own plans for the rest of the time. I doubt there will be any room in the budget for organised excursions this time so I have been making an extra effort to look into things that we can do. I have found quite a few good ideas, in particular a boat across to a neighbouring island that costs only a few euros.
- Car hire: We have always hired a car or a scooter for the week because we like being able to get around by ourselves at our own pace. If we are able to, we are planning to hire a vehicle of some kind for just a couple of days instead so we can be as independent as we like. The rest of the time we will use the bus service which apparently is quite good. I like the idea of having a car for at least one evening so we can go to a different part of the island for the evening. We did this by moped once. This was not a great idea – unless your idea of fun is being lost in the mountains with hairpin bends on the road, surrounded by olive groves on a bike that could be overtaken by a lawnmower at 2am with no idea how to get back. Well, actually, that is kind of my idea of fun in some respects, but its not an experience I’d really want to repeat…
- Time on the beach/by the pool: Husband and I both like to chill out reading, listening to music and having a swim. The trouble is we both get bored of it pretty quickly. We usually manage a few hours on the first day and then only an hour or so a day after that. We’ll probably be doing a lot more of this than usual as it is free!
- Eating out: Despite always booking self-catering accomodation (hotel rooms make me feel a bit claustrophobic) we’d eat out for just about every meal. I have no idea what the prices will be like where we are going but we will definitely have to make more of an effort to make meals ourselves.
- Buying souveniers: I love buying momentos from wherever we’ve been. Even sat here, writing this, I can spy a print I bought on a narrow sidestreet in Florence, an oilvewood bowl purchased in the hills of Angelokastro, a piece of the Berlin wall…well, no souveniers this time! The only thing I am planning to treat myself to is a fresh stash of oilve soap. It is really expensive to buy over here and really cheap to buy over there!
Right. I’d better go and get started on the massive pile of laundry that needs to be done in the next few days…
From the challenge-a-day list:
- Nifty thrifty: get currency changed for free
- Making use of what I already have: finding odds and ends to pack (plug converter etc) and checking that they are in working order & don’t need to be replaced
- Planning: researching cheap & free things to do when we go away