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Can’t afford a girls’ weekend away? Five alternatives

carnival ladies peacockFancy a trip away with the girls? If you're going abroad, it's going to cost 20% more than it used to because Brexit and all that nonsense means the buying power of the pound has dropped. For some, that’s going to make chillaxing with friends unaffordable this year. So here are some ideas from SMM to cut your holiday costs while still allowing you to have quality time with your mates.

1. Stay in UK
Okay so the weather might not be all that reliable but, without the hassle of kids, you can do anything. You’ll save an enormous amount on air fares and the UK has some really fun cities to hang out in. My number one choice is Manchester. It's an amazing place which also deserves our support in the wake of the recent atrocities. Cool bars (ie the Living Room), stylish restaurants (try Australasia) and you can relive your student/bohemian past in the coffee shops of the Northern Quarter. Great shopping, interesting regeneration of old warehouses and, best of all, the bars welcome a diverse age range so you don’t feel your seniority and it’s all about a third cheaper than London. Book train tickets in advance and you can get some brilliant deals.

2. Go out of season
A get-together doesn’t have to be in the summer. Prices are much cheaper in the spring or autumn. Staying in the UK, for example, you could get a four-bedroom house (sleeps 8) in Porthcothan, Cornwall (one of the Poldark beaches) for a whacking £1,800 per week in the second week of July. Fast-forward to the second week of October and it’s £1,050. (See www.cornishhorizons.co.uk.) Plus at this time of year, the sea is still warm, really. Get a body-board and a wetsuit and indulge your inner surfer. Ditto for southern Europe where the Mediterranean is balmy and most of the bars and restaurants are still open.

3. Go camping
This is the really budget option but, with a bit of imagination, it can be really fun. Beg, borrow or steal the camping gear and bring the kitchen sink if you need to: a proper table and a candelabra  can make all the difference to an evening meal if you can get in the car. Pick a site that’s not too commercial (but with proper showers) and that’s preferably close to a lovely pub for Sunday lunch. Stock up on booze, you’ll need to drink copious amounts of wine to keep warm/sane. The expedition will make memories you’ll be discussing for the next 20 years, hopefully around a far-flung hotel pool once the pound’s recovered.

4. One night only
Pick a fancy restaurant convenient for everyone and go out on the town. Bunk up in a local Premier Inn and stay up all night chatting. Trail home after a full English and collapse into bed. Sort it all out on Monday.

5. Go to someone’s house
Persuade the person with the largest house to offload their partner and kids for the weekend and host the event. Each guest should bring a sleeping bag, as much vino as they can carry, a playlist and a dish of something. Share out the cooking and the washing up, turn up the music, open the fizzy and enjoy!

Still thinking of going away? Check out the SMM guide to the best foreign exchange options here.

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Tuesday, 18 December 2018