Going anywhere nice for your holidays? How about the back garden?

So where are you off to on your holidays? Given the massive price increases of hotels and flights, the answer might be your back garden.

We were away the other week in the Hodson Bay Hotel in Athlone. It was a nice trip, just not sure it was €300 per night nice which is the price you will pay for one room for 2 adults and 1 child during the summer.

Hodson Bay Rates for Aug

I thought it was just a case of price increases down south but up north it is not much better. For 2 adults in the Salthouse Hotel in Ballycastle, it will cost you over £500 for a weekend. I love Ballycastle, it is one of my favourite places but not at £270 a night.

Now to defend the hotels they are responding to demand. The Hodson and The Salthouse have very little availability over the summer so it is your classic demand and supply – you want a room, you are going to pay for it. Hotels will argue that the prices of goods have risen and so have wages if they can get the staff at all.

Also, there are still more reasonable prices around if you look. The Marine Hotel in Ballycastle has rooms for £125 a night. We normally do Airbnb and don’t forget the humble B&B.

With local prices being quite high you might be tempted to go abroad but there the picture is even bleaker. Flying at the moment is even more awful than it normally is. Staff shortages are causing big delays at airports. The wife ran the Manchester Marathon last month and it took her longer to get through security at Manchester Airport than it did to run the Marathon.

And there is the question of if you will even get on the plane, flights are being cancelled all over the place due to shortages of crew. If you are a couple and are flexible you can take a chance going abroad but if you have kids you would be mental. What kind of holiday is it if you are worried about being stranded at Malaga Airport at 2am with 3 screaming kids?

I am only going to places you can drive to, I can’t face dealing with Airports. Last year we took the Ferry to Scotland and that was a lot less stressful than flying. But I found holidaying in Scotland very similar to Ireland so I am happy enough to stay local this year and save £400 on the cost of the Ferry.

I find I never sleep very well in a strange bed, especially the first night. It really winds me up paying hundreds of pounds for accommodation to get terrible sleep so I think this year we will do more day trips. Our road system has really improved, you can go to most places in Northern Ireland in less than an hour and a half, making day trips a feasible option. We were in Dublin last week and once we left Dublin it only took us an hour and a half to get to Belfast – amazing.

I also think if you are doing a day trip you can take the money you would have spent on accommodation and use it instead for a fancy restaurant. Or be a tourist at home, use the money saved by not going away to go to all the local places you would never go to because they are super expensive.

There really are some wonderful places around Northern Ireland. The other week we went to Gosford Park in Armagh, it was an amazing place for kids, with over 6 different playparks.

Or for the cheapest day out in Ireland go for lunch in Little Wing in Hollywood, then go for ice cream on Seapark Beach. Throw in a cup of tea or coffee and you will still have change from a tenner.

What is your favourite day trip? Do let me know in the comments as I am looking for suggestions 🙂

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