So I am very excited because over the weekend I managed to book and pay for our Summer holiday in cash and the total including insurance came to £638 ! I think for 2 adults and a teenager, who counts as an adult, that is a good price for 2 weeks away in Europe. We are going to this lovely place in Northern Italy called Aviano and can make lots of day trips from there, including Venice !
I had £680 in the holiday account on Friday when I received an email from DFDS the ferry company advertising a 20% discount. I waited to talk it over with MrShoestring and decided to book the ferry crossing that evening. Sure enough, we got the discount and it brought the price down from over £100 to just over £80. I think the early booking ferry discount is still available for the Summer and this level of discount for dates during the school Summer holidays is rare, so if you are thinking of going abroad with a car I would take advantage of it.
Next I started to work out where we would stop on the way down to Italy, I noticed that a lot of the cheap places on AirBnB were getting booked up so with the help of the ViaMichelin website I worked out the cheapest route and travelling times. Once I had that, I looked for cheap flats available for 1 night. The most expensive price I had to pay for the three of us was £48 a night and the cheapest was £34. This compares very favourably with a night in a hostel in a dormitory and gives us a whole apartment with a kitchen and a bathroom, so cooking for ourselves will be no problem.
Finally, MrShoestring and I looked at AirBnB places close to where we wanted to stay within a particular price range and in the end chose the cheapest one as it was also very nice. The good thing about AirBnB is the flexibility so we were able to book 9 nights in a lovely, apartment for just £339 including the fee for the service. This is for the last week in August and the first in September, so not quite the highest season. You might be saying that camping would be cheaper, which is what I first thought, but campsites during the Summer holidays are quite expensive and were quoting us well over 30 euros a night plus the tourist tax added on top.
Lastly, I looked for the cheapest European breakdown cover and travel insurance as although we have these things as part of packages elsewhere the cover is not that good and MasterShoestring is not covered by the travel insurance. I managed to get travel insurance as a single trip for £15.69, which was cheaper than on MoneySaving Expert, so I was well-pleased. The breakdown cover was £36.75.
Best of all, I have paid for the entire trip with cash that we have saved up now, all we have to do is save for the fuel and tolls now. The whole trip cost much less than I was expecting, just last week I thought that it would be over £1000, so I am very pleased that it has cost significantly less. Now, I'm off to learn a bit of Italian for free using books from the library and the BBC website ! Ciao !