I love living in South Western Australia, and one of the reasons is because of the seasons, four distinct times of the year with varying colours, temperatures and rainfall. But when the rains begin and the wind starts to howl, then many people’s thoughts turn to heading north to the sunshine, perhaps to Coral Bay or Broome or The Kimberley, and even further north to Europe.
So my thoughts are turning to summer in Europe, and Cass Brookes, a freelance journalist is guesting today giving us ideas and money saving tips about how to plan and budget for a winter break away from WA.
Planning and Budgeting for a Dream Holiday.
By Cass Brookes
It’s summer in Europe and those of us with our winter woollies on in Australia may be looking at the Northern Hemisphere with some degree of longing.
Perhaps you are thinking of taking a dream break in one of Europe’s exciting cities? I wonder if you are after romance, serious shopping or just some of the most decadent food on the planet?
Europe is also known for its cities of wealth; I think of Paris and Milan in particular, and then a feeling of concern creeps in about actually being able to afford the lifestyle when I get there.
However, the simple answer is that we can travel to Europe on a budget and live the life of luxury. We just have to be canny in our planning.
How to plan and budget for a dream holiday – without breaking the bank.
There are things you can do in preparation – such as searching for the best travel deals, looking into any loyalty points you might have accrued with airlines, and re-assessing your finances. Look at the best credit card deals for the time of year you are going to travel and have a good hard look at your bank accounts, as well as your current credit card standing.
Once you have your budget in mind, you can get ready to start planning your holiday.
Decide what you want to experience.
Like most things in life, knowing what you want to get out of your holiday will most likely determine its success. So with the time limits you have, set realistic expectations, and then allow for a little serendipity to creep in when you are there.
If you are looking for a city break filled with high end designer shopping, exquisite cuisine and Italian Opera then your research will obviously be different to that for a beach break. Do your research wisely to maximize your time, and if it’s a beach break you’re after with restaurants nearby, then make sure that’s your main focus and ensure your hotel is close to the beach and the nightlife so you don’t end up spending lots of money on taxis.
Start by deciding where you want to visit. If shopping is the key then I think Milan has to be on the list.
Did you know that some of the best beaches can be found in Portugal? Here you’ll find white sands and private beaches for hire – not to be missed if you want to give the heave ho to the busier beaches of the Costas in Spain for example.
When doing your research, sticking to your budget is important, so that you can come home and hopefully plan your next trip rather than worrying about paying off the last one.
Have a look at off peak travel.
We all know that the summer months are generally more expensive than winter, spring or autumn, so why not consider holidaying during these less popular seasons or on the cusp of a season? If you are planning to take the children with you then this may not be possible, but if it is just you, the girls or the husband jetting off, then why not consider booking your flights and hotel off peak?
Not only will it save you money that could be spent at your destination, but also if you can afford an on peak holiday but in economy class, then you could perhaps book a first class, luxury flight off peak. You will probably find that they work out at about the same price and what better way to start your dream European break than in first class sipping on a glass of champagne?
Use up those points.
If you have a credit card that offers points for things such as air travel and cash back, why not consider using these towards your holiday? And some credit cards may offer you travel insurance too if you purchase an airfare with them, so check the fine print and find out what’s on offer – but don’t just assume that you are covered.
Remember, the less you spend on travel itself then the more you can spend in the stores and bars or on exciting trips.
Finally, by saving money before you’ve even left for your destination, you might consider all the ways that you could spend the money you’ve saved when you arrive! Personally, I’d want to visit the Arc de Triomphe and also splurge at the original Burberry store in London.
It makes me excited just thinking about it. The one thing that Europe does guarantee is bundles of luxury all wrapped up in decadence!
Author Bio: Cass Brookes writes for the travel and retail industries. When not writing, she enjoys exploring new and exciting destinations.
Are you going on holiday this winter? Where are you planning on going and do you have any money saving tips?