Thursday, 18 July 2019 00:00


take a break over winter

You may have buddies or family members jet setting off overseas this time of year to take advantage of the Northern Hemisphere Summer. You might even experience a pang of jealousy as you look at their photos on Facebook or Instagram. 

Beat the Winter blues 

Not all of us can readily afford the time off work or the cost of a big overseas trip (though we can certainly work toward such adventures with a savings plan and accumulation of holiday leave).  But in the meantime, what to do when you are left behind in the middle of Winter? Why not embrace this time of year and plan a mini-break for yourself. Simply create your own fun a bit closer to home. Even a just one or two nights away from the regular routine can help to reset the mind, reduce stress and introduce you to some new experiences. Plus planning a weekend away gives you something to look forward to, the anticipation of the trip keeping your Winter blues at bay. Taking a break in Winter can be wonderfully rejuvenating and lighter on the wallet too. Here are some simple ideas to save on while on a Winter escape:

Holiday Close to Home

Avoid the costs of a return flight and seek somewhere close to home to have a restorative few days away. It’s tempting to think the further away you venture the more of a holiday it is, but you may find a rustic rural town or a chic coastal village offers just the peace and quiet you seek, and for much less than typical holiday destinations. Holidaying away from the typical travel spots means you encounter an authentic experience minus all the tourist traps, waiting in lines, and overpriced food and accommodation. Plus you are supporting the economy of a small community.

Travel During Low or Shoulder Season to Save

While your friends overseas are battling large crowds and peak season prices, you can travel off peak allowing you to save. Australia’s mild climate makes it still very pleasant to explore even mid-Winter. The cooler months are actually a lovely time of year to travel, there’s less traffic on the road, shorter queues, and a good excuse to get out your favourite coat and scarf. Keep in mind, even in Winter, accommodation from Sunday to Thursday is usually the cheapest, with weekends almost always being more expensive.

Stay in Self Contained Apartments instead of Hotels

Air bnb is now the world’s largest hospitality company, operating in over 190 countries and has a market value of $35 billion. As a business it is disrupting the traditional hospitality model, with tourists choosing to live amongst the locals instead of staying in hotels. Not only is it a great way to save money in many cases, there is the added attraction of avoiding the tourist traps and connecting with local communities. Self contained accomodation also gives you the facilities to cook your own meals, settle in and feel like you are in a home with a lounge and dining space (compared with the minimal offerings of a hotel room). Research and reading plenty of reviews is the key to to finding a nice place that ticks all the boxes.

BYO Snacks and Meals

If you do score a place with its own kitchenette and fridge you can opt to bring supplies to minimise the amount you spend on takeaway and eating out. Even just a box of cereal and milk and snacks for when you’re out and about will help to keep costs down. Of course, your idea of a mini vacation might be to NOT cook and check out the local cusine. Consider going out for brunch and then dinner, rather than breakfast lunch and dinner. By opting to have a big brunch you’ll still be maximizing your daylight hours for exploring and only paying for two meals instead of three. 

Enjoy the Great Outdoors 

When choosing somewhere to stay, pick a location with some natural wonders nearby – be it coastal or rainforest trails, mountain hikes, a nearby lake or river along which to stroll. Getting away is all about clearing the mind and letting go of ‘to do lists’ and there’s nothing like reconnecting with nature to remind you of life’s simple pleasures (plus it's nearly always free). But if checking out the leading tourist attractions is more your thing, its likely entry prices to most places will be a tad cheaper over the cooler seasons, and you’ll have less traffic to contend with and fewer people in the lines.

Make time to just Chill

In the evenings, cozy up in your accommodation in front of a fire and read a book or kick back in front of a film. If there’s a bath sink into the tub and soak away your winter aches. After a few days you’ll feel refreshed and ready to face the dreary cold back home for at least few more weeks.  

Alison Gallagher is a freelance writer, resourcefulness expert and entrepreneur. She has been featured in various publications including Stellar Magazine, Australian Health and Fitness Magazine, and Cleo Magazine. Alison is particularly passionate about sharing practical tips on how to live simply, sustainably and seasonally.