Save money on a self catering holiday

Hello Dear Reader,


Huelgoat Market


I’ll be blogging about this all week. It’ll help me get ready for going away for the summer.

When we get on the ferry in the summer, the atmosphere is palpable. Families have saved all year and for most of the travellers, that two weeks is the only holiday the family will have. Many are laden with everything they need, from tents, boats, bikes and others have two suitcases full of clothes in the boot. Many families are travelling in convoy with extended family, siblings, all the children and three dogs. They may well be going to self catering accommodation in France, which can be found very reasonably if you do your research and find a good deal. Many gites will take pets which will save you hundreds of pounds in dog minding fees and they are family members and it’s great to go on holiday with them.

So, here’s five frugal things to do or take with you to save money on a self catering holiday.


Choose inland accommodation instead of coastal. This will save you a lot of money if you are travelling in a larger group. You will be able to find a cheap studio beach side apartment in the school holidays if you’re a couple or just a family with two children and no pets. If you want to go in a group, take your pets and have plenty of space then rent inland. An hour from the coast will be the cheapest.


Take food with you for the first couple of days. You might not have any idea where you are, where the supermarkets are, what time the cafes open or know when the shops do and don’t open. In our village, the shops open Sunday morning but some of them, along with the bank, are closed on Mondays. Take a cool box with easy to cook food: bacon, eggs, butter, bread, squash for the kids to drink, biscuits, snack, some crisps, a homemade quiche or cake wrapped in foil, so you’ve got something ready when you get there. Pack a couple of litres of UHT milk, teabags and coffee so, you can open the door and make yourselves a drink when you get there. If you’ve just driven miles, you’ll be glad of it.


Take plenty to keep yourselves and the kids amused: books, games, jigsaws, cards, a laptop loaded with films will mean you can have ‘down time’ without having to add in the expense. You may not want to go out every day and you can buy most of the above in charity shops. I take a jigsaw every time, it’s daft to think as an adult but I find it relaxing on a warm evening to sit with this on a garden table as it’s light a warm until 10pm.


Research where the cheaper supermarkets are such as Lidl or Netto. Simply search, or and use the search to find them near you. They are the cheapest supermarkets in France and are especially good for fresh produce.


French markets are not very cheap! They mainly sell the best of local produce, which is nice to buy but not if you’re on a budget. Supermarkets are cheaper and budget supermarkets even cheaper again. Also, don’t drastically change your shopping habits. I never see the point in having a self catering option and then eating out every day. You have the facilities so shop for a few days at a time and meal plan in just the same way.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more money saving ideas for self catering holidays in France. Now, if you always self cater with or without a passport and never leave your home country, here’s your chance to share those self catering ideas for holidays. What do you take with you so you don’t have to rush off and shop immediately? What do you do to save money on your holiday?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx



22 thoughts on “Save money on a self catering holiday

  1. When we travel down through France to our holiday destination, we always prepare a huge picnic and freeze as much as is possible before we go. Included, are many frozen drinks (water and juice), as they act as ice and gradually thaw, ensuring refreshing and cold drinks being available. The idea of freezing the food is so that it stays fresher for longer and we save a huge amount of money by not puchasing food and drinks at the service stations where prices are extortionate. Whilst on our camping holiday, we will also always try to shop at Lidl if there is one near us – I really do live Lidl!


  2. Not quite a self-catering holiday, as I stay in inexpensive hotels, but my trips in the American Midwest (where I also live) are usually just 3-4 days. Most of the hotels have a fridge and microwave in each room. I will usually have yogurt and fruit for breakfast. Lunch is sandwiches with ingredients bought at the local supermarket. One dinner might be eaten out, but it will be a local, family run place. Picnics are often done.


  3. When we went to France last year with friends – we followed the advice you give in your post today. We rented a beautiful farmhouse inland and as there were two families paying for it we halved the cost. We made a meal plan and split it between the two families, and then we took as much food and drink as we could carry. I packed meat into a freezer box and it remained frozen until we unpacked at the house. We took a packed breakfast for the journey down to the port and a packed lunch and flask of coffee to eat whilst we were on the ferry. I made sure the kids had packed balls, inflatables, games and their iPads and we planned our days out carefully. We always took a packed lunch and flask and enjoyed meals back at the farmhouse around the pool of an evening. We had a fantastic holiday and because we saved so much money we were able to go again in the October half term.

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  4. If I know the facilities have a freezer then I make 3 basic meals up. Usually a curry, bolognaise and chilli. I make extra so I can serve them with the normal for example spaghetti bolognaise, making sure I have enough to serve on top of baked potato the next day with cheese. If we’ve out walking all day it nice to have a bath or shower while a meal is in the oven or on the hob!


  5. We take an 1100 mile trip by car at least once a year. We take a case of bottled water, tea bags, a gallon of brewed tea, a few root beers, chicken salad made at home, precooked and frozen meats of some sort, several bags of frozen veggies in a bag that you can cook in, carrots, celery and cucumbers, jar of sauerkraut, gluten free crackers, gf instant oats, precooked bacon, eggs to scramble in a cup in the microwave, small potatoes to bake in microwave, butter, berries, nuts, fruit and nut bars, apples, cheddar, deli ham and turkey.
    I also have a hot water pot I can heat in the car, so I keep a couple of pouches of gf survival soup meals I can make with hot water in a pinch if we run short or too late driving.
    Start the week by eating chicken salad and end with deli meats and cheese because those are the travel days. We need few dishes, little washing up and I don’t get gluten poisoning, lol.
    We do usually have one or two cheap Denny’s breakfasts on travel days for a treat if it’s in the budget.
    Love this idea for a series!


  6. When I was a single mom, I’d take my two children on a camping vacation each summer. We cooked all meals on a camp stove, but I allowed one meal eaten out for the whole week. I let the children pick the day and what restaurant we went to. That made it special to them. Cooking most of the meals saved a lot of money that we spent on museums, etc.


  7. We go on canal holidays. We take all our food with us as we may be nowhere near a shop and I always take my slow cooker. I prepare our food in the morning and leave it to cook whilst sailing along and watching wonderful scenery and wildlife


  8. Thanks, Froogs. You’ve given me some great ideas. We are travelling to France in a couple of months. We’lll be there for four weeks. We can’t take much food with us as we will be making the long haul flight from Australia. We will definitely be taking our favourite brand of tea and tea bags because we really love a cup of tea and don’t want to struggle to find one that will hit the mark.

    We have always much preferred holidaying in places that have a kitchen. So much cheaper to have breakfast at the unit or house or cabin than go out to a cafe every day. Also we prefer a slow, quiet breakfast. Which you cannot have in cafes.

    Most of our holidays have been in Australia but when we’ve gone to NZ and to London, we get places where we can self-cater. Even if we buy meals from supermarkets that are easy to put together. It’s cheaper than eating out.

    All that aside, I am excited at the thought of eating out in France. Unlike you, I am not likely to return there for a long time.


  9. Meant to add, we always pack a thermos and lunch when we go on a road trip. Distances in Australia mean you normally drive for hours and hours, like most of a day or more, or fly. We do road trips at least three times a year, travelling around 600 to 800 km one way. You have to stop for a break. Much better to stop at a nice park and eat home prepared lunch and nicely made tea. Sometimes we’ll pick something up at a country bakery but we hate fast food – the poor quality and the cost and the smell. Our fav is boiled eggs, lettuce, mayo and fresh bread rolls with biscuits to finish. A nice garden bench in a garden with our own table cloth and china mug. Relaxing, satisfying and cheaper.


  10. Truthfully I have always had self catered holidays. Meals out are fun and I tend to enjoy those at home as I have more luck finding cheaper meals at home.

    A packed esky or cool box always travels with us. Once I even took a week’s worth of roasts. This was deliberate as my family loves roasts and they are easy to prepare.


    • Wow, that’s dedication! Your family are very lucky. I usually manage a few portions of Bolognese or veg stew/ratatouille. We also take home-grown veg picked the night before we leave and try and back-up some eggs for a few days from our chickens.


  11. Lidl in France sells mostly French fruit and vegetables. Excellent. I live all year in SW France and find, yes, some things in the markets are a lot more expensive than in the supermarkets but not everything. Fresh soft fruits, strawberries and rasberries, are often a lot cheaper than Lidl or Netto. I think something between 12 and 18 euros for a three course meal with a quarter litre of wine and coffee is excellent value. It’s worth looking carefully and finding somewhere that cooks the local food. How very sad to feel that it is beyond your means for the occasional treat on a holiday.


  12. We ‘twigged’ how much cheaper and more suitable for us it was to ‘take our own’ when our kids were little and we had very little money. So for a day or part day out at a National Trust property or the beach, riverside etc., we always took at least a flask of tea and some home-made scones with jam. The price of ‘cream teas at stately homes is horrendous and you don’t get enough tea, in my opinion. We still do this now, although there’s usually only us two, but when we travel from the Midlands to Edinburgh, to visit family, I fill a flask with home-made soup and take quiche, salad in a box, home made bread and fruit cake, also tea or coffee, fruit etc. It’s quicker, easier and more relaxing to pull over at a picnic area or field, rather than a service station café. And of course, saves loads of money. I prefer to know what I’m eating and if I’ve had to resort to ready-made from a cafe, usually feel it’s not doing me as much good as my own food.


  13. I think prepping a picnic for the journey is part of the joy of holidays, and in France is much more ingrained into the travelling experience than in the UK these days. Fingers crossed it won’t change too much, I though notice more motorway service-style shops cropping up in France these days and little cabins selling frites-mayo. But it’s great to stop at an ‘aire’ and just chill.

    Good stuff Froogs!


  14. We always take a lot of our own food, including garden veg picked the night before and eggs from our chickens. There is nothing quite like a “car picnic” according to my son. He has grown up enjoying them as part of the journey and think would be surprised if we did anything different. We do buy the occasional ice-cream when out and about, but at £3 a scoop – makes your eyes water – tends to be a very occasional treat and usually reserved for my son and, if I’m feeling generous, my husband!


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