I read Past Bedtime



Hello, I'm Isobel!



Welcome to I Read Past Bedtime, a blog for 20-somethings finding their way in the world.


Go on, have a poke around.


10 ways to feel like you've had a holiday when you're too broke to go abroad

As much as I am massive fan of all things Great Britain (see my recent holiday to Yorkshire), I was somewhat dismayed upon checking my bank balance to realise that, even if I wanted to, I haven’t the funds to go abroad this summer. I blame Dominoes.

Still, the universe loves an enthusiast, so I set about finding ways that I could create that ‘ooh yeah ah’m on holiday’ vibe from the comfort of my own home.

Read on for 10 of the best ways to feel like you’ve had a holiday when you’re too darn broke to go abroad.

1. Get a spray tan

Everyone knows that the only real reason for going on holiday is to have top tan bragging rights when back in the UK. Cut out the costly middle-man and treat yourself to a spray tan at the beautician nearest you.

I have actually done this and feelings of summer joy increased tenfold.

2. Get ye to a village

Summer in the city is depressing AF. Everyone’s hot and bothered and the tube smells of armpits. Now, if there’s one thing that screams summer, it’s a fête. Find your nearest quaint village and eat your heart out on those holiday vibes. Top activities to watch out for include the tug of war and winning your own crap back on the tombola.

3. Get into a series

Who said holidays were for the body? Take yourself on a mental getaway by immersing yourself in a new series. You’ll come away having experienced a greater range of emotions than if you’d really been away (especially if you watch something as cutthroat as Grey’s Anatomy).

4. Play McDonalds Monopoly

Ok, I know I said summer holidays were all about the tan. But deep down we know I meant the tan and the food. Why gorge yourself on an all you can eat inclusive when you can play McDonalds Monopoly daily for a fraction of the cost? I have an almost spooky success rate with free chocolate muffins. Just sayin’.

5. Buy a Paddling Pool

We’ve been blessed this year with some genuinely hot British weather. After recovering from the initial shock, the first thing I recommend doing is buying a paddling pool. It may not be an infinity pool in a luxury villa, but it’s a damn sight better than a hot bath on a winter’s night.

6. Head to a festival

Obviously not Glasto, you penniless fool. If you ask me, the joy of festivals is 99% drinking cider at 11am and feeling at one with nature and 1% listening to some cracking music. With this in mind, there’s a wealth of budget festivals to be enjoyed that are significantly cheaper but no less fun than a city break in Barcelona. Hamswell festival is a good place to start. 

7. Make Summer Cocktails

Some drinks just ooze holiday feels. Pimms, I’m looking at you. But why limit yourself to the vanilla of the summer cocktail world? An Aperol Spritz is the perfect drink for the thinking woman’s summer evening. Just add attitude.

 8. Head for the chippy

You don’t have to be sunning yourself in Brighton to enjoy the summery taste of scampi and chips. Take yourself to your nearest fish vendor and eat your heart out. Literally. The taste of salt also creates the illusion of seawater. Double whammy.

9. Picnic

I make no apologies for how many of these are food-related. It isn’t summer until you’ve lost your patience to an impertinent wasp that just won’t leave your snacks alone. The fastest way to achieve this? Picnic. With jams.

10. Embrace the power of the maxi dress.

As much as we have enjoyed some top quality sunshine this summer, there’s also been a good dose of freezing weather and downpours. Make like the lawn and embrace the changeable weather by investing in a maxi dress. The style and print says ‘summer come at me’ but the length says ‘I fully expect it to rain at any moment’. Your summer essential in material form.


So there you have it! 10 ways to feel like you’ve had a holiday on a shoestring. Try out all 10 and then try telling me you wish you were in Ibiza right now.

What are your tips for the ultimate staycation? Share the love in the comments below.

Like what you see here? Subscribe for posts like this to your inbox every Wednesday and Sunday.