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How to do a mini break on a budget

Going on a mini break with the kids, with the other half, or even by yourself doesn’t need to break the bank. Transport, accommodation and food are the main budget busters but with so many options to choose from, you can tailor your trip to suit your needs.

When it comes to a mini break, the clue is in the name – ‘mini’ – only a few days, so you don’t want to be spending more than half a day travelling. The UK’s proximity to mainland Europe is an absolute blessing when looking for a short trip abroad and within just a few short hours you could find yourself immersed in a completely different culture.


If you’re looking to have the ultimate freedom during your mini-break, then getting behind the wheel on the continent is a great option. You can create your own itinerary, on your own time schedule, and there will no doubt be some spectacular sights and scenery to explore on route.

A popular, quick, and cheap option when travelling to Europe is to take a ferry crossing to France. The crossing takes around 90 minutes and there are usually 23 departures each day so you have the flexibility to travel whenever suits you. The journey is an adventure in itself, and if it’s sunny then it’s definitely worth sitting on the top deck and waving off the famous white cliffs of Dover.

From Calais you are only three hours away from admiring the wonders of Paris, an hour and a half away from exploring the cobbled streets of medieval Bruges or three and a half hours from visiting the historic beaches of Normandy.



Finding budget friendly accommodation in the city with a family can be a pricey game to play, but if you avoid peak summer time and plan enough in advance then the cost can be dramatically cut. A popular choice is to rent an apartment, shop like a local at the market, and cook your own meals to save money on restaurant bills.

If you’re willing to stay a little out of the city then camping is a great option. You can either take your own equipment in your car or rent a pre-erected tent which means no assembly is required upon arrival – leaving you more time to explore your surroundings.


For many, trying the local cuisine is an essential part of any trip so make sure that you do your research before you go – find out what days the local markets are on, look for vouchers for local restaurants online, have a picnic in the park at lunchtime.

There are plenty of delicious options that won’t cost the earth. If you find yourself in Paris, is there really anything better than a freshly baked baguette anyway?

Image credit: Charles Clegg

Disclaimer: This post was written in association with P&O Ferries

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