How do you take a holiday if you can’t afford one?

Posted on: April 16th, 2012

Freelancers generally take far fewer holidays than corporate employees – for the simple reason that we don’t earn any money when we go away. (Well, unless you are on a paid monthly retainer, in which case you will have to put in the extra hours either before you go or when you come back.)

And, in the current climate, it’s likely that we are all taking fewer holidays than ever. So here are a few ideas showing how you can take a well-earned break, even if you can’t afford to go away.

Take a series of day trips

Going on five separate day trips will give you a good break from work and from your desk. But don’t forget to tell your clients you are taking a week off – if they know you haven’t actually gone away, they might try and sneak a ‘Can you just’ by you.

If I were going to take five day trips from here in London, this is what I’d probably do. (Weather permitting.)

  • Visit Hampton Court Palace and walk back as far as possible along the river, until I get tired.
  • Take a train to Brighton and spend the day by the sea.
  • Become a tourist in my own city and take a boat to Greenwich to visit the Observatory and the Maritime Museum.
  • Spend a day among the dreaming spires of Oxford.
  • Trip to Windsor Castle and Windsor Great Park/Virginia Water Lake.

Enjoy a really low-cost, yet fun, week without going very far

Or, if you really don’t have spare finances to pay for train trips or entrance fees, here’s how I might spend a low-cost week off.

  • Set myself a photographic assignment and spend the day taking pictures.
  • Visit a museum and an art gallery. (In the UK they are free.)
  • Go rummaging with a friend in vintage clothing shops and Camden market.
  • Spend a lazy day reading and watching old movies.
  • Persuade my husband to take the day off, as well, and cycle around Richmond Park with him, enjoying a picnic along the way.

Obviously what you end up doing depends on what your interests are. But you should be able to take a break that’s fun AND inexpensive.

Just remember to be disciplined about not looking at your email or taking your laptop with you etc. Otherwise you’ll easily get sucked back into work mode.

What kind of holiday are you planning this summer?

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