When booking a family holiday, it can be a big decision, self catering or all inclusive? As all inclusive becomes more and more popular, as a family we still enjoy going self catering. We find it means we save money, and we also enjoy the variety of being able to eat all kinds of local foods. It can be tricky to make sure it is value for money though, so here is how to stay on a budget when self catering.
Research local prices
The internet is your best friend on this one, check Tripadvisor for local restaurants first of all. Then check if they have websites, as often they will have menu’s and prices online. This is a brilliant way of working out the general price you will need to pay for a meal. That way there are no nasty surprises when you sit down to eat. Another helpful tool to use is Facebook. Quite often if you are staying at a large resort/hotel, there will be a Facebook group dedicated to it. Use it to the full! Ask questions, find out about local prices. I joined one for our recent holiday to Gran Canaria, and it really was invaluable.
Make a plan
Obviously one of the joys of being on holiday is that your days are more relaxed, no need to make too many plans, so we often like to go with the flow when it comes to activities and where we eat. However, we do like to make a loose plan as to how many meals we think we can realistically eat out whilst away, meaning we can stick to our budget. This doesn’t mean we get there and plan which restaurant we’ll eat at every night, and what time haha, but it means we know for instance, 5 out of 7 nights we’ll be eating at a restaurant. There’s nothing worse than getting to your last couple of days and realising you have no money left for anything!
Take food from home
It can often help taking things from home that you know you won’t need much of, for instance, dried pasta, salt, pepper, or food you already have at home, tins of tomatoes. Obviously this depends a lot on your baggage allowance, tins are heavy and you need to have enough room! I also always decant some fairy liquid into a smaller container to take, as well as a tea towel and a washing up sponge and cloth.
Small things add up
10 euros here, 10 euros there. Without sounding like an annoying middle aged budget-er, these things soon add up. Buying things like ice-creams and cocktails is fun, but can really eat into your budget when self catering. Especially when you have children, it can be easy for these expenses to run away without realising. We always make sure we buy a load of ice-creams from a local supermarket, this means we always have some back at our accommodation. Also making sure to carry lots of water with you means you’re not having to stop at bars for one or two when you get thirsty. I’m aware this probably makes us sound so boring! But please believe me, we do have ice-creams and go out for drinks on holiday occasionally, but by saving money on these things, we then have more money for the things we want to spend it on, for instance a special meal on the last night.
Doggy bags for the win!
Quite often whilst we’re away, I just want to eat all the food whilst we’re out. Pizza, Pasta, Tasty chicken, Tapas…the list goes on. However, what usually happens is that I end up ordering what I think I want, then quickly realise there is no way I’m going to finish it all. Here is where the humble doggy bag comes in. I’m never keen in England to ask if I can have something to take leftover food in, but there doesn’t seem to be that taboo abroad. If anything it means you loved their food so much you don’t want to leave any! It’s a great idea as you can use leftovers for lunch the next day, and get to have the yummy food on two occasions!