Fancy going home for the weekend?
Missing your Mum’s cooked dinners, or certain home comforts? As an expat, you are probably thinking of home, as the festive period is rapidly approaching. Prior planning and research several weeks in advance is what’s needed if you want to minimize costs and hassle.
As with any holiday planning or travel arrangements, it is always advisable to plan us far ahead as possible. Take advantage of seasonal offers, and use price comparison websites such as Opodo and Expedia to hunt for the best flights. The times of the cheapest flights may be less convenient, but a potential €100 in your pocket is surely more convenient! If you have a fair grasp of the local language, it’s also a good tip to start your search with the web pages from the country that you are flying from as this often provides prices that are lower than those from your destination country.
A few points to consider:
- When do you need to go home? Why? If there is a wedding or family occasion, ok. If not, does the trip have to be the date you want?
- Do you have to fly to your local airport? Could you fly elsewhere and take a train or get a lift?
- What is the total amount you will pay? You need to consider the total costs including taxes and baggage etc. Can you travel lighter? Only pack essentials and take them as hand luggage. Many of us returning ‘home’ will still have an old cupboard full of clothes that can be used just for the weekend instead.
- Students and interns: If you are returning home to pick up supplies and your winter clothes etc., have you considered receiving a care package, and a Skype date in lieu of a flight plus baggage fees?
As many workers in Spain know, a public holiday, or ‘puente’ is something to love and cherish, but these are the worst times to book flights and transport. You may have to pay astronomical fares, and must give due thought to the reduced public transport services on these days. Check that you aren’t missing out on any arrangements with friends, or more importantly, work commitments – important meetings, deadlines and functions. Is it worthwhile using one of your 22 or 23 holiday days to go? Could the day be put to better use around Christmas or Easter, for example.
For those of you who with the option of driving home, car-pooling is becoming increasingly popular, with companies such as BlaBlaCar.es proving a huge hit amongst Spanish and Portuguese people.
Remember, you may want to climb every mountain and cross every river in order to see a loved one, but for those with limited cash in their pockets, if it means living for a month on rice and peas, give your weekend at home serious thought.
Image: Provided by cmor15, flickr.com