Monday, 26 July 2010


I have just been on my first holiday in 3 years. For Matt, his first holiday abroad (with the exception of a school trip) ever.

It couldn't have come at a better time. Matt had just finished his uni exams, I'd been working almost constantly since January, and we've already moved house once this year. I 2 week break was very much needed.

We are incredibly fortunate to have a place to stay in Spain. My parents have had a villa out there for the past 5 years and with such a short drive away from the airport, the only things we had to pay for were the flights and food.

The flights were booked back in February. Coming in at just under £250 for the two of us, they weren't the cheapest flights available, but as Matt is still at uni we could only get flights after term had finished. Still, I could hardly complain. We booked train tickets to Gatwick in advance (£2.70 each!) and I also checked online to find the best deals on foreign currency. I went with the Post Office as they didn't charge commission. Daily expenditure would be budgeted for a meal and a treat at a restaurant (either pudding or alcohol) and we set aside money for the supermarket to buy cereal and milk for breakfast, and meats, cheeses and bread for lunch.

The first week was spent sunning it by the pool. Reading, tanning (albeit, not much - I'm very pale), learning to swim (something I didn't know about Matt - despite having lived with him for a year). Evenings started at 9pm due to the hot weather, but that really helped financially - less time to get drunk = less tempted to spend money on drinks. And we were so relaxed that we fell asleep not long after midnight and slept well through until late morning.

In the second week my parents my little sister arrived. To be honest, if the holiday had ended at this point I think we had relaxed so much that our bodies had already recharged, and we would have felt refreshed enough to go back to work. But this next week was full of activities. Swimming in waterfalls (the coldest water I have ever put my foot in), boat trips across the Mar Menor, drinking Chocolate Granizados (the most delicious thing in the world... ever), seeing Roman Ampitheatres and splashing about in the water with Matt and Lisa (who became BFF's by the end of this holiday).

Being away for two weeks has done me the world of good and I cannot stress how much better it is to go away to a foreign country when you go away on holiday. If you can find the money to do it - do it. Even if it's only for a week in a hotel with a pool. No phones, no internet, no newspapers. Just you, the sun, and the water. Matt suffers from insomnia yet slept solid while we were away. The complete lack of distraction and total switch off not only helps your body physically, but mentally, it makes you feel as though you're living a bit better. And that, I think, is key when it comes to feeling more positive about living on a low budget.

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