I’ve been extremely lucky these past few months and years – I’ve had the freedom to travel pretty much when I liked, where I liked. My work gives me a great annual leave allowance, and whilst we have been saving towards some big life goals, I’ve been able to balance that pursuing my passion of travel.
But those big life goals have come around quick this year and are staring me straight in the face. It’s obviously amazing – we get to finally finish off our house renovations which have been a big four year project, but it’s an expensive endeavour, and it does mean that booking so many long weekends in Europe is off the cards for a bit.
But that doesn’t mean that the adventure has to come to an end, or the fun. Here are all the things I’m going to be doing when the travel has to stop.
Explore more of the UK
There is no denying that it can often feel cheaper to hop on a flight to Europe when you live in the UK, but actually having done the maths that isn’t always the case. Once I’ve added up travelling to an airport (budget flights never leave from my closest one), airport parking or the train (the Stansted Express is so expensive it really hurts me to use it), changing up money into Euros or something else and then the taxi or bus rides at the other end it can all get a bit expensive. It’s only recently that I’ve been taking those things into account in my budget, and I was shocked at how much it added up.
Seeing more of the UK, on balance will be a little easier on my pocket, and my holiday allowance. Just recently I’ve managed to book discount train fares to Leeds because I’m signed up to the train operators email list, and with so many budget hotel chains in the UK I’ve found it quite easy to find a place to stay within budget. If I’m only going Saturday or Sunday I tend to be able to fit in my eating and drinking into my usual every day budget.
The other great thing about travelling around the UK is with things like an English Heritage or National Trust membership I can get into lots of great places for free for just a one off cost. These make great Christmas and Birthday presents, so its definitely one to bear in mind if you are trying to keep it close to home for a while.When life goals are conflicted, you have to give something up. What happens when travel has to stop?Click To Tweet
Stay at home, but not inside
When I’m at home for a while, I can be really terrible at wasting away my weekends and literally hibernating away under a blanket. That makes me yearn for a break and I end up booking something because I’m so fed up of being at home. This is easily remedied though – I could just decide to leave the house and see what is on my doorstep.
I don’t live far from central London, and obviously there is much to explore in the capital, but also right on my doorstep I am close to some incredible nature walks, wonderful independent restaurants and some unique pieces of history (I live very close to the Battle of Britain WWII Bunker). I’m going to start planning my weekends like I would plan a European city break to make sure I am seeing the best of what I’m surrounded by.
Go on a day trip
Whilst my budget may not stretch to as many city breaks that stretch over a few nights, I might be able to squeeze in a couple of day trips and because of where I live, I have plentiful options open to me. I’m going to be using some hard earned Avios points to book a day trip to Luxembourg, and I’d actually love to go to Calais on the Eurostar. By minimising the time spent travelling, I’m also minimising the amount that I’m spending.
I also always look out for deals – I managed to book via the Eurostar Snap deal a return train to Lille for £50, and as I was only there for the day, I didn’t need to worry too much about taking lots of spending money. Throwing in a free walking tour, and I think I spent less than £100 for the whole day.
Get cooking, using inspiration from my recent travels
Food tourism has become a huge part of my breaks away, and whether that is going on a food tour or restaurant hopping my way around a city it’s the central thing I try to experience. I love food and drink, but I’m not a fantastic cook. If I’ve got way more time at home now, why not perfect a few recipes from my time away?
This year I’m going to try and cook the most perfect frangos, inspired by my trip to Lisbon (I’m also going to attempt to make the little custard tarts but I’m not sure how I’ll fare with that one). Tapas is on my mind too, so I’m going to try my hand at something both Spanish and Catalan to remind me of being in Barcelona. Finally, I definitely want to try and make my own fresh pasta and maybe whip up a gorgeous cacio e pepe from Rome, so watch this space!
Seek out the freebies
No matter where you live there are always free things to do and see – and that doesn’t have to mean a walk around your local park! I’ve done free walking tours all over the world, seen inside amazing free museums and walked around some incredible churches and cathedrals. It’s amazing that there are so many free to enter buildings right on our doorstep and you don’t have to travel the world to get to them.
Added to that, places like Meetup.com and Eventbrite often advertise free events which are also fun to attend – things like seminars, walks and talk where you can learn anything you like. I love using travel as a learning experience, so this is a great alternative if you are anything like me.
Whilst I am sad about having to slow up on the travel fun, it’s going to be pretty exciting seeing how I can combine my passions in a different way this year. Do you have any tips for me? Leave them in the comments!
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*all of the pictures in this post were taken at Kentwell Hall in Suffolk