Up until Lockdown my wife and I had one guilty indulgence to our otherwise frugal lives: vacations. We would go on 2-3 decent sized family holidays a year, and especially on at least one extended cruise where they provide free childcare on board.
With Carnival cruise lines shut down until November and land holidays on sale but of questionable safety standards until the virus is contained, we decided to stay put and try a Staycation.
What’s a Staycation?
With Coronavirus shutting down the world travel industry I think a lot of us have come to understand the term. In case you were in doubt though, here’s what Oxford dictionary had to say on the matter:
A holiday spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.
On this occasion my wife was the brains behind this idea, because I wanted to go abroad anyway and drive to France at the very least, or risk it and take a package holiday.
However with schools re-opened in the U.K. and access to nursery for my youngest son, it turns out we could stay at home and travel out for activities at significantly lower cost, so we decided to give it a try.
I have to admit, as the Frugalist Investor, my ears pricked up at the potential cost savings involved in enjoying the time at home. Throw in a few trips out and you’d be surprised what you can do!
We’ve managed to host two barbecues, catch up with friends, go horse riding, and hang out together without the kids. The time isn’t over yet either and I plan to work on the blog, finish two books, and start studying for my final process improvement exam in September. Furthermore the few days off has allowed me to re-finish the deck and put the final touches on the garden.
All in all, a good alternative to a package holiday so far. What has it really saved us, you ask?
How it saves you money
To compare the “pre” and “post” benefits I have endeavoured to research a standard cruise holiday and land holiday and a base line, for four people (two adults and two children).
I have then compared that to a Staycation, which again is for two adults and two children. After all there are events and expenditures that we incurred while staying home and having a good time here. Have a look at the following table:
|Cruise Holiday||Package Holiday||Staycation|
|Upfront holiday cost||£2788 (£899pp/4)||£2055 (£685pp)||£0|
For the cruise holiday I’ve used a 7 day Mediterranean cruise with Princess , sailing from Barcelona to Rome in April 2021. That’s representative of a good average cruise. Personally, we prefer Cunard with an inside room but this is a good average cost for a cruise per person.
Meanwhile for the package holiday I’ve chosen Malta (which is brilliant) for 7 days with 2 adults and 2 children through Jet2 Holidays. Again this is a good, average holiday with amenities for kids and all-inclusive.
The savings amount to £3233 when our Staycation is compared toe-to-toe with our cruise holiday. It blows it out of the water – there is no drive to Southampton, no boarding of the cruise ship, no spending and no insurance while at sea. Instead if we stay at home we can spend on Argentinian prawns for the barbecue, steak, gourmet burgers and a nice bottle of wine.
The saving is still a cool £2450 when compared to a package holiday.
Other Resultant Savings
As it happens I have managed to put the finishing touches on my deck and have built the remaining railing, then stained the surface with varnish to ensure that it survives the wet weather.
The deck cost me nothing but materials to build. By building this myself, I have actually added value to the house, because the yard has a custom fit deck that follows along the house and makes the garden look bigger.
I have read a book (the Victorious Mind) that in turn has motivated me to be clearer about my goals, which has me back on writing for this blog with more regularity. That focus means the blog has a greater chance of reaching more of an audience and extending the message to more people.
Last but not least: I have time to study towards my Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt accreditation. The accreditation is value-added for my firm – it is also one of the most vaunted designations within process improvement, particularly when it is matched by registration with the governing body (in this case the BQF). In short, this is great for my career.
We miss our holidays, don’t get me wrong! The point here is this: you need to embrace opportunities to generate a win-win, or in rare cases, a win-win-win. For me this is very much the latter. The Staycation is cheaper and more efficient than either of the holidays (win); it allows me to do more with my time instead of being stuck at Airport queues. I can spend time finishing the deck, and getting on with studying and reading that moves my career forwards (win 2); finally because of the wealth of time I have with the kids at school and a whole day to myself, I can write on this blog, and hopefully benefit other people (win 3).