Planning a Weekend on a Budget
I think it's surprising how much you can do for a small budget. When people travel in England the average cost per day, per person is £117.00 I looked at this price and my mind went wild. What if it was possible to travel for this much including travel for an entire weekend?
So I attempted it.
I travelled to Wales for 3 days and 3 nights and spent £120.68 on travel, food and accommodation - not too far off the suggested daily travel cost. Whilst on this trip we had one climbing day and two mountain days - so a full packed weekend for a little over what was an average price per day.
Arguably the most important aspect of going away is choosing the right location. When I’m thinking about a trip I bear in mind a budget, travelling distance, the time (in days) I can allocate and the activities I can do when I arrive. Particularly at times of year that have unpredictable weather, I plan to go to locations which are fairly adaptable in terms of activity. For example, if I want to climb in March the weather could be a glorious spring day, buckets of rain or a full-blown snowstorm. So my favourite locations are those where I am able to hike as well or potentially indoor climb worst-case scenario.
My top two places are:
1. North Wales
2. Lake District
For a well rounded balanced location. Travelling in England is not something to be disregarded. It may not be exotic but it can be a very cheap get-away and a lot of fun!
I try to select places that are easy to travel to by bus or train but when this isn’t possible and I have to go by car I endeavour to travel with others. Not only does this reduce my footprint but you are able to split the journey and the petrol - plus you’ve got company! Try to avoid travelling at peak hours and days as this will bump up your price painfully!!!! The money spent on petrol was divided by two in the case of my trip as there were two people and a lot of gear in the car this came to roughly £25 per person.
When it comes to accommodation, nine times out of ten I’m only going to sleep there. Whilst it would be lovely to stay in a luxury spa hotel - that is just not affordable. Ideally, I try to camp, stay with friends and family or in a youth hostel. There are some fantastic youth hostels in the UK, normally always clean, with a kitchen and friendly staff. A kitchen is super handy as then you can prepare your own food rather than fork out on eating out. If your afraid of staying in a youth hostel my first point is DON’T BE!
They are normally filled with like-minded individuals who all want to enjoy seeing places on a budget. Normally you will meet some cool people. I once met a lovely woman who was spending the first year of her retirement walking the coastline of England! On the trip to Wales, it cost me £66.50 for three nights in a twin room. This was more than the cost of a dorm in this hostel, however, due to the amount of gear we had brought we considered the cost for a private room worth it for keeping our gear safe! We stayed at YHA Llanberis.
Before we went away, I purchased a selection of food from Asda. This had plenty of nuts, dried fruit and chocolate for day time snacks as well as a selection of breakfast foods and evening meals too. I brought a loaf of bread to make sandwiches for during the days and easy yet filling meals for the evenings. Jacket potatoes are an awesome budget meal - easy to cook and tasty after a long day in the mountains!!! Food came to a total of £29.18 for the three days - and that included a cheeky hot chocolate at our beloved cafe ‘Petes eats’ in Llanberis.
Honestly, I don’t think it is possible to be too prepared for any adventure - particularly in the UK. The weather is always subject to change and when you are out in the wild anything can happen - let’s be honest. Expectation versus reality couldn’t be more accurately represented than on a mountain adventure. We all have visions of the sunny blue sky photos in our shorts and sun hats when in reality we are covered head to toe in Gortex, wrapped up in Marino well base layers with so much wind rain and hail that it's probably impossible to even get a camera out! So not only do I prepare for different activities, but I also prepare for the weather of every season. What the weather is like at 7.30 am when you leave is unlikely what it will be when you return later that same day.
Well in advance I ensure I have the correct maps and guide books. I usually like to put my gear into dry bags according to its use. I do the same for when I’m out hiking. In preparation for any adventure I usually carry my top 20 essential items:
1. Walking boots - don’t get these out the box on the day of your hike. Make sure these are well worn-in prior to setting off on your trip.
2. Maps and guidebooks
4. First aid kit - basic items: foil blanket; plasters; paracetamol; plastic gloves; blister plasters; Vaseline (helps cloth blood); hand warmers;
5. Layers (which are breathable, my favourites are Marino wool!)
6. Good socks!!! This seems silly but trust me small trainer socks just aren’t going to hit the nail when you are on mile 20.
7. Down Jacket - keeps you nice and cosy even sunny days can get chilly.
8. Rain Coat - I’m now considering why this didn’t number one!
9. Waterproof trousers
10. Water bottle - refill not landfill.
11. Climbing gear - normally rope, harness, shoes etc.
13. Comfy breathable clothes to climb and walk-in.
14. Swim stuff - wetsuit, wet boots etc.
15. Walking poles - doubles up as poles to build a shelter from in an emergency.
16. Head torch - make sure you bring spare batteries.
17. Flask - always bring a warm drink out with you. You never know when you might get chilly.
18. Phone - actually important for an emergency.
19. Orange rescue bag - I have never had to use it but even the best sportsman has accidents. It is good practice to bring this with you.
20. Emergency light - again I have never had to use this but would always bring it.
I think equipment is the one thing if you can afford to spend money on - DO! This is the stuff that will keep you warm and safe when you are out adventuring. Ensure that you test all your gear before and after use so that it doesn’t fail on you when you need it most! For this trip we had already bought all our equipment - after the trip, we have a few bits and bobs to fix before our next adventure, but generally, it all lasts a long time.
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