‘Leave The Au Pair At Home’ And Other Advice For Travellers On A Budget


Monique Crawford
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If, like me, you’re prone to the Seasonal Sads, you probably escape every winter to warmer climates. There’s just something so deliciously restorative about the likes of Lake Como, Monaco, Bora Bora, Seychelles, and those quaint little seaside resorts of Oman. Feeling the sun warm my skin whips away my winter blues quicker than you can say ‘exotic-looking locals’. 

But, with inflation on the rise, we’re all feeling the pinch. So, here are my top five tips to help you get the extra mile (and meal) out of your yearly vacation fund.

1. Make economy first-class

Try a budget airline. ‘Risky’ I hear you thinking. ‘Adventurously sexy!’ I retort. Flying with a budget airline is a chance to immerse yourself in another world. And, quite frankly, the gamble is a real thrill. Will you make it to your destination, or will you land shacked up in a cheap airport motel? Will the name of the person sitting next to you start with ‘Sh’? (88 per cent chance it will.) Just how ‘cheap and cheerful’ will the wine be? 

“With houses starting from as little as $650 a night – they’re practically a steal”

How budget you want to go is completely up to you. If you’re not feeling adventurous enough to go for the full budget experience, you can always book yourself two (or even three) cabin-class seats for some extra room and it’ll still be considerably easier on your pocket than first or business class.

Pro tips:

Pack a silk scarf or shawl. I always pack my Hermes as carry on. You can wear it around your neck, over your eyes, or draped over your knees if it’s a little cool in the cabin. 

2. Swap the hotel for a house

Nothing beats a little rustic charm and what could be more rustic than having to pack and wash your own towels on holiday? Consider swapping the hotel for a home. You’ll appreciate the extra space and the cheaper bill. And, if your homestay doesn’t come with a housekeeper, with Uber eats now all around the globe, you can still get your favourite bottle of Burgundy and meal delivered straight to your door. Added perk? You can do regular person things, like play Scrabble.  I’ve rented homes in Aspen, Joshua Tree, Venice, and more. With prices starting from as little as $650 a night – they’re practically a steal.

3. Offset with Insta

 You’d be surprised at how much of your holiday expenses you can offset with a painless post here or there. Sure, it helps if you have a naturally dewy and youthful complexion like mine. But, with the right natural light, angles, someone who knows how to wield an iPhone camera (your assistant or junior, perhaps? They’ll love the experience and getting paid in all the latest beauty and fashion products), and the latest pack of filters – the feed can feed you (and anyone else you want to impress). Why not throw in a TikTok while you’re at it to really maximise your ROI?  Think of it as your cost–neutral holiday. Easy peasy.

4. Travel eco-friendly

Swap the car for a two-wheeled cruiser. Riding a bicycle slows your pace, lowers your cortisol levels, and allows you to better soak up all the sights, sounds and smells on offer. Or, why not try taking public transport (just pack your hand sanitiser). Although it might feel a little grimy, my sources tell me the schadenfreude is well worth it.

5. Leave the Au Pair at home

If you have kids, leave the Au Pair at home. What you save on their return airfare, accommodation and food, you can splash on champagne and at local boutiques. Think less money in the hands of conglomerates and more into the local economy. It’s basically giving to charity while taking a break from your laptop. Plus, think of all the extra jobs and errands your Au Pair can run for you while you’re gone. It’s genius.

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