Do you feel too busy or cash-strapped to take a holiday? We’ve been doing some digging to find some of the best low-cost locations for self-employed holidaymakers.
Our seven handpicked locations in the UK and Europe are all close enough for a long-weekend break, so you don’t have to abandon your business for too long.
Take a day or two off and hop over to Lithuania’s cheap but chic capital, or pick a summer weekend for a Croatian beach retreat.
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Devon boasts beautiful beaches, cute-as-a-button villages, and plenty of rugged moorland. Whether you want a beach break, a hiking holiday or just a chance to eat cream teas and sip on local cider, Devon is a good bet.
Try a site like LateRooms for cut-price guesthouse accommodation in somewhere like Torquay or Kingsbridge (starting at around £30 per night), or find a private Airbnb room in quirky town Totnes from around £20 a night. There’s a direct train from London to Totnes that takes under three hours, but be sure to book your ticket in advance to save cash.
Cardiff is one of the UK’s more affordable cities, and there’s plenty to recommend, including a modern waterfront, a castle, and a free National Museum full of art and natural history.
You can get a bed in a dormitory room for a Cardiff hostel from around £20 per night, or a private room in an Airbnb place for closer to £30 per night. If you’re looking for a flat all to yourself, prices start at around £60 per night.
Oxford is a place of dreamy charms, with cobbled streets, beautiful architecture and fascinating museums. It’s also crammed with cosy pubs and there are pretty walks along the river and around some of the college grounds.
If you drive there, using one of the long-stay ‘park and ride’ options is probably your best bet, as parking in the city centre can be tricky and expensive. You can also take the train, which takes about an hour from London. A dormitory bed in a hostel starts at around £20 per night, or a private Airbnb room starts at around £30 a night.
If you’re looking further afield, consider Vilnius. It’s a cool capital with a beautiful Medieval old town full of colourful buildings and baroque architecture. It’s also famed for its greenery - it’s a city full of parks, squares and gardens, and it’s surrounded by hills. Plus, there’s a wealth of trendy bars serving Lithuanian craft beer, and some impressive street art.
You can snap up a Ryanair flight for less than £25 each way (it takes two hours and 40 mins). There are well-reviewed studio flats on Airbnb for under £30 per night, or you can grab a bed in a hostel dormitory room for under £10 a night. And as it’s one of the cheapest capitals in Europe, food, drink and travel are all super-affordable.
Athens is full of archeological and architectural gems, but it also boasts a buzzing nightlife and a thriving contemporary art scene. You can also explore some of the Greek islands from Athens, with Aegina only an hour away by ferry for tasty seafood and a visit to the famous Temple of Aphaia.
EasyJet flights start at under £35 each way, and you can get two nights in a dormitory hostel room for around £20. If you want a little more luxury, you can get a small Airbnb flat for around £30 a night. And as far as cost of living goes, it’s one of the cheapest city destinations in Europe, with a three course restaurant meal for two setting you back about €35.
Dubrovnik’s a real charmer, with a picturesque old town and beaches for lounging with a book or taking a dip in the sparkling Adriatic. If you want to escape the busy beaches of the city, you can take a bus further along the coast, or even a boat to one of the nearby islands. Other Croatian destinations are worth considering too, including Split and Zadar.
You may be able to find flights to Dubrovnik for around £30 each way with easyJet, and two nights in a hostel dormitory may only set you back £20 or £30. Alternatively, you may be able to find a small apartment for as little as £30 per night. Croatia is very popular with tourists so food and drink prices aren’t super-low, but you can still have fun here on a budget.
Lisbon’s a very cool city, offering delicious food and al fresco dining, a lively nightlife and plenty of sunshine. It’s a great place to just wander round, stopping for the odd coffee and pastel de nata (Portuguese custard tart) and admiring the street art.
Portugal is a good choice if you’re travelling on a shoestring, as it’s one of the cheapest destinations in western Europe. Budget airlines fly there, and a dormitory bed in a hostel starts at around £10 a night. Airbnb apartments start at around £30 - £40 a night.
Do you have a holiday booked this year? Let us know your plans in the comments!