With all the shopping, the travelling, the lunches and dinners, the parties and celebrations, Christmas will surely cost a fortune! But in a lot of cases, with a bit of luck and creativity, you can spend less.
Find out how you can save money and still enjoy the Christmas holidays without constantly having to worry about your wallet.
1. House Exchange
Instead of paying for accommodation, why not swap your home with someone who lives in a destination you’ve always wanted to visit? Of course you should do your research beforehand and rely on websites that specialize in home exchange holidays. This way you can assure yourself that you leave your house in good hands.
2. Visit the Christmas markets
Arts and crafts, handmade decorations, seasonal treats…going gift shopping at Christmas markets is a great way to find some incredible things, and often enough you will end up spending a lot less than if you purchase your Christmas presents at your local mall. You will find that many affordable destinations across Europe (like Krakow or Munich) organise Christmas markets from mid-November to the 24th of December.
3. DIY Gifts
If you know your way around arts and crafts, there’s no reason why you can’t make something for your loved ones. Or even if handmade gifts are not your thing, it’s never too late to get creative. There are tons of blogs and social networks with tutorials and ideas for DIY Christmas gifts – don’t be afraid to let your imagination run wild!
4. Travelling on the 25th of December or the 1st of January
If you avoid flying on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve you can save yourself a lot of money and trouble! Aside from enjoying lower fares, travelling when it’s less crowded is more relaxing.
5. Low-cost ski resorts in Eastern Europe
Italy, Switzerland and Austria are the most popular countries for skiing in Europe, but let’s face it, these destinations are hardly low-cost. So why not switch the Tyrolean Alps for the Bucegi Mountains in Romania? In Slovenia and Bulgaria you can also find some spectacular and affordable ski resorts. Krvavec in Slovenia or Borovets in Bulgaria both receive good reviews from skiers and snowboarders.
6. Buy food from your local farmers’ market
If you have the option, instead of going to the closest supermarket, we recommend you travel that extra mile and purchase the ingredients for your Christmas feast at your local farmers’ market. You will be surprised how much money you can save by cutting out the middleman and buying straight from the producer.
7. Last minute Christmas offers
If your Christmas plans are flexible, you can always find some great last minute offers. A good tip is to use Google Alerts – you can enter the keywords that interest you (e.g. Paris Christmas offers) and receive by email on a daily basis a list of results that match your search criteria. It’s amazing what you can discover with a bit of patience.
8. Get sponsored
If you have a blog, you can contact tourism offices or travel agencies and offer to write an article about them in exchange for a night at a hotel, flights or activity passes. After all, it doesn’t hurt to ask!
9. Second-hand shops
Christmas trees, home accessories, tableware, themed clothes…Christmas decorations can end up costing you an arm and a leg if you’re not careful. A good solution is to explore vintage shops for second-hands goods. You will be surprised at how many beautiful, economical and original things you can find.
10. Known all there is to know about your destination
Before you leave, make sure you research your destination thoroughly. Its always good to know where the free attractions are and where you can enjoy a nice dinner without spending all your savings.