The Cost of a Holiday
We used to go on holiday several times a year, and then Covid struck. Our last foreign trip, before the Malta one we have just returned from, was to Romania to see my girlfriend’s family in August 2021. The trip before that was to India in February/March 2020. We landed back in the UK just before the first lockdown. We were very lucky.
The Romania trip wasn’t a normal holiday as we only had to pay for flights. Accommodation and food were all provided, and we had money in Romania for spending. So, it had been over two years, a pandemic, a European war, and Boris-fucking-Johnson since our last proper holiday. I was curious how the cost had impacted my finances. I started this blog in late 2019, and the India trip was already paid for by then. So, let’s get down to brass tacks.
Cost of Travel
2 x return flights from Manchester to Malta = £316
2 x train tickets from Sheffield to Manchester airport = £35
Taxi from Manchester airport to Sheffield = £75
1 night in Radisson Blu at Manchester airport & dinner = £257
7 nights at 1926 Hotel & Spa, Sliema, Malta = £869
Poppy’s stay at the cattery whilst we were on holiday = £117
Malta, airports and other related spending = £1,330
Total Cost: £2,999
To be honest, that’s not too far off what we hoped for.
Quite a few things were conspiring against us with this trip. When flying to Malta from Manchester, you can fly EasyJet, Ryanair, or sometimes Air Malta. Ryanair are just absolute shits as an airline. They’ll charge you for looking at them the wrong way. I’ve flown with them once; and never again. Air Malta are inoffensive but their flight times are inconvenient. EasyJet are decent in my opinion; no-frills without being full-on dumpster fires like Ryanair. The only drawback flying with EasyJet is you have to be at the airport for 03:00 for the Manchester-Malta route.
We don’t drive, and trains and coaches don’t run at times needed for us to arrive at the airport on time. So, we either get a cab or we stay at the hotel. I tend to prefer the hotel as it means you can roll out of bed and be at the check-in desks a few minutes later. It adds cost though.
We also chose to travel on dates when there would be rail strikes, meaning our return train was cancelled and we paid for a cab to bring us home.
In terms of spending whilst in Malta we didn’t scrimp, nor did we spend lavishly. As people who don’t drink alcohol or smoke, our cost of living is reasonable. We like our food, but we don’t splurge on fine dining every meal of the day. Whilst in Malta we had one meal that came to over one hundred euros. The rest of our meals came to between fifteen and thirty euros.
Our next holiday…
Our next trip is Paris in a couple of months. This is just a few nights away and we are travelling on the Eurostar. We were going to catch the train to London and then transfer for the second leg of the journey, but return tickets to London are coming in at £300. So, in a change of plan we are travelling to London the day before, and stopping in London an extra day after, and travelling by coach. All in, still cheaper than the train tickets.
FIRE and Holidays
There are some FIRE followers who say you should avoid paying for holidays whilst pursuing FIRE. I get the point, as the £3,000 we paid for this holiday could have boosted our savings. However, one has to think about mental and physical health. A break in the sun recharged our batteries and is an investment in ourselves. There’s only so long a person can go without a proper break if they want to avoid slipping into difficulties with their mental state.
Now that Covid restrictions are being relaxed, we are going to try and resume our usual pattern of travelling. In 2023 I will be turning 40. Originally I was aiming to FIRE by 40, but it’s looking almost certain that it will be 2024, possibly 2025, before I can FIRE due to the pandemic, a European war, and Boris-fucking-Johnson.