Going on holiday does not have to cost the earth. In this guide, we will take a look at ways to save on villa holidays in Europe, so you can soak up some sun without breaking the bank.
Villa holidays are expensive, aren’t they?
The word ‘villa’ invokes images of large expensive houses with luxury facilities and an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
While there are villas out there like this, there are also many bargains to be had. In reality, villa or ‘gîte’ is just another word for someone else’s house.
Villa holidays are essentially just self-catering holidays abroad. And it is here that there are some big savings to be made.
No need to eat out every night or to spend more than you should on expensive cocktails in local bars. You can save money by buying your own food and drink and enjoy it while watching the sunset from your villa.
Plus, if you know where to look and when to go away, you may end up paying much less than you had originally budgeted for.
Pack your own essentials
Some villas come with essentials such as toilet rolls and foil included. Others don’t.
Having to go to the local supermarket when you arrive to buy everything from cling film to cooking oil can be costly. And unnecessary.
If you are driving to your villa, why not pack a box of essentials and save yourself time and money?
For example, take any dried herbs you use regularly to cook meals. Foil, cling film and kitchen towels are also useful.
If you want to be extra frugal, take a picnic set so that you can take your own lunches if you go for a day out.
The more people, the bigger the savings
Villa holidays are great for big families, as they can be much cheaper than paying for lots of hotel rooms.
Plus, you will probably have more space and much more privacy.
If the villa you like the look of has too many bedrooms or if you fancy something with a bigger pool but cannot afford the extra money, consider going on holiday with your friends or family (or both) and splitting the cost.
Just make sure that you plan who is going to do the cooking and washing up each night. There is nothing worse than a self-catering holiday that is ruined by arguments about who has and who has not done the dishes!
Holiday outside of peak season
Villa holidays in peak season can be costly.
If possible, try and book to go away outside of the July/August rush. A gîte in the South of France, for example, can be more than three times more expensive if booked for a holiday in August compared to September.
Consider driving to your villa
The beauty of booking villa holidays in Europe is that you can drive to many places. France, Germany and even Spain are within driving distance of the UK.
As well as saving on baggage costs and seat reservations, you also get the opportunity to see lots of places that you would miss if you were in the air. Win, win, we say!
Consider using holiday rental sites where you book directly with the owner
Booking through a tour operator can often be much more expensive than booking your villa holidays directly with the property’s owner.
These days, with the internet, booking a property in this way could not be easier.
Just enter where and when you want to go. Add any specific requirements you have (such as a pool or ‘pets allowed’) and you will be given a list of potentially suitable properties.
Don’t forget to haggle…
Haggling can feel a bit awkward but it can work, especially if you are booking your villa quite close to the date you are intending to travel.
Try and think of why you would make a great guest and why they should reduce the price. For example, if you will only use two bedrooms out of the three, this could save the owners money on cleaning costs.
Conclusion: Villa holidays do not have to be expensive
By using the internet to find your villa and planning how you will get there and what you will need when you arrive, you can make villa holidays a low-cost break to suit almost any budget.