Is it better to save money more or to travel more? An update on our 2019 bucket list

In November I wrote a post about our 2019 travel plans and bucket list.  That was over three months ago and now we are well and truly settled into 2019 I want to write an update on our travel plans and thoughts.

Is it better to save money more or to travel more?

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I started by saying we’d have a limited travelling year as we give our emergency fund a big push.  My target this year was £10,000.  We already had £3000 saved and we’re now up to £5000.  I’m always torn between the best thing to do.  I have the travel bug really bad and feel we never know what’s around the corner.  Something tragic could happen any day and I don’t want to regret not travelling more.

But, at the same time, I get so anxious about money.  I’m self-employed so income is never guaranteed and I always worry about one of us getting ill or losing our jobs.  Plus, in 2018 we had total car repair bills of £3000 for the year!  Something we managed to pay for thanks to our savings, but it’s made me further off my savings targets and of course anxious that we might get more repair bills like this and need the funds saved just in case.

I feel like life’s too short to not travel.  We’re also only here once and there’s so much to see and experience.  But I also feel I need to be sensible and have a good batch of savings to cover all sorts of eventualities.

It’s a never-ending battle in my head!

SAD makes me want to travel

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I definitely suffer with seasonal affective disorder and so the winter has been really long and tough for me.  I had a very low January and anxiety has been through the roof about all sorts of things for a few months now.  I do notice I am like this in the winter months.  Last year I was bad and so I made sure to take vitamin D supplements since then on a daily basis.

They didn’t work!  I was worse than ever this winter and realise I need warmth and the sun to be happy!

This has not made my plan to limit travelling this year go very well…

I’ve felt so desperate for summer, sun and warmth that I have been scouring holiday websites and dreaming up holiday plans!

I’ve got as far as entering our information a couple of times and then not clicked through to payment as I battle with my conscience because I promised myself I would save so much this year.  To save more or to travel more?

We have, however, made a couple of plans later in the year.

Two winter staycations for 2019

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Last year we had booked two festivals for 2019 to take advantage of the early bird prices, but we hadn’t planned any holidays.  Now we have booked two holidays and one of them is an item from my bucket list!

We haven’t planned or ticked anything else off yet.  I feel like we’ll all emerge from hibernation once the weather starts warming and get cracking!  Hence why this blog has been at a bit of a standstill.  But I hope to fill it with lots of days out and travelling stories once we get out and about again.

To recap, my bucket list for 2019 is:

  • Learn to ski
  • Visit Snowdonia, Wales
  • Visit Stonehenge
  • See the fireworks at Alton Towers
  • Visit more beaches
  • Go away at Christmas
  • See an air show

Here are the new things we have planned:

1.      Twixmas break at Bluestone

When I wrote my last bucket list we hadn’t yet been to Bluestone for a Twixmas break, but as soon as we were there I was looking online at the prices for 2019 as it was so great for the children!  I can imagine it is so magical for them and we only have a few years left of that.  I also really enjoyed going away for a few days at Christmas.  It was great to have something to look forward to and a break by ourselves.

I really wish I could have booked it when there as they offered a £50 discount if you book whilst there and the three night break was £430, so we’d have paid only £380!  We were umming and arring so didn’t book it whilst there.  We also wanted to see if Ben could book it off work.  Three weeks after returning I looked online and the price was around £560 already!  Yikes!  Ben still couldn’t confirm if he could have it off work as his boss says it’s too far away (!) so I have booked it anyway, rather than waiting as the price will go up again or it will be fully booked!

So I am definitely going with the kids to Bluestone resort again this year and Ben might be coming with us if he can have the time off.  Either way, I’m really looking forward to it!  It was such a great experience for the kids and plenty for them to do no matter what the weather or even if we didn’t want to pay for any extra activities.

2.      October break at Pentewan Sands Holiday Park, Cornwall

Bella has said several times that she’d like to stay in a caravan, so we are going on our first UK caravan holiday as a family!  Well, I say caravan, but really they are mobile homes!  When I was little I used to stay in a real caravan and it was a tiny thing with no separate bedrooms and bathroom and we had to fold down the table to sleep on it every night!  But we are calling it a caravan and Bella is very excited!

I saw my uncle had booked for perhaps the third time to go to Pentewan Sands with his wife and their four children, so I thought it must be good!  I had a peek on the website and could see why they keep returning.

It’s a five star holiday resort on a beach with play parks, soft play, indoor pool, children’s entertainment, a café, a local pub within walking distance and plenty of countryside for walks.  I was sold!

Even better was the price.  We are going in October in the holidays and it was £400 for a seven night break in a three bedroom holiday home.

For five stars, being on the beach and all the kids facilities, I think this is a steal!  Previously we’ve paid £700 for a seven night break in Cornwall in a holiday lodge on a park that had nothing else there – not even a playpark for the kids.

So compared to this, £400, or £57 per night, is a steal.

Sunnier plans…

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Of course, these are autumn and Christmas breaks which means the weather is not going to be on our side.  That said, I’ve known the weather to be really sunny in the October half term a few times, so we could be lucky.

With feeling so low and craving the sun so much over the past couple of months, I am very tempted for a sunnier break this spring.  We’ve been toying with different ideas ranging from getting a ferry over to France in the Bongo, doing a last minute package deal or looking at Airbnbs in Portugal!

I’m also quite tempted to take a short four night break myself in term time.  It’s so cheap to get a last minute package deal during term times and a lot cheaper to just go myself rather than paying for all four of us!  I’ve also never had a night away from both the children and Ben, so I think it will do me the world of good to just have a few days to myself not worrying about anyone else and having a proper break from everyone!  I do find it hard to never get any time totally alone, so I might become a solo traveller to get some real quality time to myself once a year!

I shall keep you updated.

 

Do you have any great holiday plans?

Do you think life’s too short and to travel as much as possible, or do you think it’s sensible to have substantial savings in the bank first?

 

Read these next:

How to pack light for a family road trip

Victoria’s ultimate travel bucket list

How to save money on family travel

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Images from Canva

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