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How to save money on half-term holidays

croatiaWe’re not going away for half term. In idle moments I do dream about a short break to a nice European city – I fancy Copenhagen or Vienna. But the boy doesn’t do culture. He wants to spend half term in bed or playing football or Fifa. Well, at least that’s cheap.

However we did go away in the summer. It was our first holiday for ages and the first time I’d ever taken him away on my own abroad without travelling or staying with friends. And it was fine; more than fine. We did lots of research and went to Croatia – not only was it outside the Euro but it was less than two hours’ flying. We were in the very northernmost bit, close to the Slovenian border. Not that we travelled around seeing the sites. Basically we swam, played tennis and mini-golf and ate lots of squid. We had a great time and it felt like we were at the centre of a European crossroads – hardly any Brits (brilliant) but loads of Germans/Austrians/Nordics and Russians (who cheat at mini-golf, we found). We met our first Icelandic – the trump card if you’re collecting nationalities, I guess. That we met him when he helped the boy when he slipped over in the gent’s toilets probably is something to gloss over.

But of course the cleverest thing about our holiday was that we escaped the Euro. When we were there, the rate was roughly £10 equalling 8 kuna – it’s now more like £10 equalling 8.45 kuna. We found things were pretty good value – food was cheaper than in the UK as was wine but ice cream and fizzy drinks more expensive. Friends who went on holiday at the same time to Euroland report eye-watering prices for everything. According to M&S Bank, the most affordable holiday destination for families going away at half term is Opatija, Croatia (further south than we went) where a trip for a family of four would cost £3,676 including spending money. Interestingly, it found that picking a different resort in the same money saves lots of cash: such a trip to Dubrovnik would come in at £3,996. The most expensive for a typical half term trip would be Lanzarote (in the Euro, of course) where it would cost £5,988 for four (but if instead you went for Gran Canaria it would be £904 less). So, pick your resort and save money – and keep an eye on the currency. Of course, currency exchange rates shouldn’t be the main factor in deciding where to go. But it should be one of them, surely.

And see our travel money guide here.

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Wednesday, 24 April 2019