Friday, 9 May 2014

Frugal Friday...

...and a wee update on our planned "cost neutral" jaunt later in the year this week! We're moving beyond the planning stage into the actual booking of things now - all very exciting, and I'm writing this down as much to crystalize everything into one place for us, as for you lot to read. As usual with this sort of thing it suits us to break it into sections...

Accommodation - is now booked - a little two bedroom self catering bungalow-type place on the island of Benbecula. Bargainous price of £250 for the week and that includes all electricity as well as towels, bedding, and a rather well fitted out (by the look of it) kitchen. We ideally wanted somewhere with a real fire - either peat or coal or log, we weren't fussed, however seemingly that sort of thing adds in the region of £100 to a rental at that time of year - fancy that eh? Real fires are of course glorious, but £100 of glorious? No, probably not.

Barra Airport...
Travel: we were hoping to fly up from Stansted, and fly back from Stansted - as we only live around a half hour drive (at the most) from Stansted, this was the most hassle-free method we could think of, but with not all that many flights into the Hebrides each day, we knew it would be touch and go if we could make it work. Flybe have now released their flights for December, so we checked out Glasgow > Benbecula earlier this week and found that the prices were far above what our tight budget could cope with. Time for thinking caps! MrEH proved once again that he's a champion thinker by suggesting that we flew to a different island - well why not, eh? Sure enough there were flights available to take us from Glasgow to Barra, and if THAT place rings a bell, then it well should, as that's the place where the plane lands on the beach! Taking a flight that lands there has been on our list for a long while, so this really does work for us on a lot of levels. So the flights were booked - £40 each - and now we just need the rest of the travel to fall into place. Using the parking at the airport for the car for the week is looking favourable - as is coming back via ferry and train if the Benbecula flights don't reach a sensibly priced level. The key thing we've bought ourselves is time though - the flights have already doubled in cost just 24 hours later, so clearly moving fast for them was the right thing to do. There is a concern around ferries and bad weather, but it's a risk we're just going to have to take, realistically.

Loganair/BA Twin Otter on approach...

Our budgets:
£300 Accommodation - Done this for £250 SAVING £50
£300 Travel - So far, £80 flights, £70 diesel (home > Glasgow > Home) Still to book: Parking, overnight accommodation, trains (back to Glasgow at the end of the week) Ferries. In theory we could still *just* do this to budget. 

£200 car hire - I've had a quote back for £168 for the full week SAVING £32
£60 - tank of fuel for the hire car - no way on earth we can make a saving on that BUT the hire car is diesel and we may not use the whole tank...! 

 Our "Extra Hebrides Holiday" savings account (aka the "virtual sealed pot") is currently running at a balance of £689 meaning on the current figures we've only got in the region of another £100 to find for this exciting adventurepretty good eh? As planned we'll raid our groceries account for food and general spending - so we're not counting that within the budget as such. 

The only airport where the runway is washed twice daily!

We're very excited about this extra jaunt to our very favourite Islands. It'll be lovely to see the Hebrides - at least that bit of it - at a different time of year, but also to catch up with friends, and over Hogmanay, which should be a very cheery time indeed to be about there. It will be all the better if it can be paid from saved and effectively *free* cash that we don't notice the going of - who knows, in years to come we might be able to do something similar with our VSP money again, either to pay a chunk of our main holiday expenditure, or to finance another short break somewhere else, who knows. A holiday is always an exciting thing to plan, but a free holiday is even better, don't you think?! 


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