As I write this, the sun is shining (given that I’m in England, it may be raining again by the time I finish this sentence) and the shops are in full summer swing, with inflatables and swimwear galore.
It’s no secret that in our household, we love to travel. Heck, we even got married in New York! From city breaks to beach holidays and festivals, we work hard all year round to be able to enjoy a sacred week or two away together. So when Holiday Gems* set me a little challenge, I was happy to oblige. They asked how many holiday essentials I could buy for just £50 and kindly provided me with the means to do so. As a girl who is rather frugal anyhow, I looked forward to seeing how I could fill my suitcase on a tight budget.
So last weekend, I headed out to my local high street and got to work (work, ha! As if shopping is a chore). Given that we have a trip to sunny Barcelona on the cards soon, the timing of this challenge was ideal and I decided to focus on what I’m going to need for a week of sea, sand, and sightseeing.
Swimwear is pretty important when on the beach (unless you’re on a more ‘alternative’ kind of beach. Whatever floats your boat) and I often struggle to find bikinis that will accommodate both my top and bottom half. I invested in several high-end bikinis and swimming costumes last year so, given that I already have the basics, what else would I need?
Toiletries & First Aid (All from Superdrug)
Suncream – Malibu £3.99 per 200ml
The top priority when travelling somewhere hot is of course, sun protection. Being pale and freckly, I do tend to burn rather quickly (even in England) so have to be extra careful when we go abroad. There’s a huge variety available on the market, ranging from just a few pounds to over £25. Given my budget, I opted for one on the lower end of the scale. It complies with safety standards and the SPF 30 will help to keep my skin safer whilst hitting the beach.
Plasters – £1.29
I always, always take plasters with me when travelling. From shoes that rub to unexpected cuts and such, they’re a must have!
Paracetamol – £0.45
I don’t speak Spanish, so I don’t fancy taking my chances by asking for painkillers in the local drugstore; you just know that I’d end up naively walking out with laxatives by mistake! (although I’ve always encouraged the kids to try and speak the local lingo when away. It did backfire when my youngest started reeling off French pleasantries to the locals on one holiday. The only issue was that we were in Ischia, Italy. A for effort though)
Aftersun/Body Lotion – £4.99
There’s nothing nicer than a cool shower after a sweaty day of sightseeing and this refreshing Garnier mango fragranced cream helps my skin to feel soft and revived.
Aussie Hair Leave In Conditioner – £3.99
After years of using straighteners and blonding treatments, my hair is rather damaged so I make a conscious effort to try and protect it as much as possible. Plus this Aussie range smells divine!
Vaseline Lip Protection – £1.99
This little beauty is always in my handbag at any time of the year and Vaseline is a brand that I swear by; I have a weakness for the special ranges that they occasionally launch, such as ‘Paint The Town Red’ and the recent collaboration with Lulu Guinness. This one has SPF15 and will keep my lips moisturised too.
Deodorant Wipes, Bastille Dry Shampoo & Tresemme Hairspray Miniatures- 3 for £3
The wipes are brilliant for a quick refresh whilst walking around, dry shampoo is a saviour for greasy hair and great for adding thickness before tying it up in the heat and this hairspray boasts extra hold so helps to banish those pesky flyaways!
Gilette Razors – £2.49
I’m all about freedom of choice and if you want to ‘free the fuzz’ this summer, go ahead. Personally, I like the feeling of smooth pins so it’s important for me to keep them hair-free and disposable razors are great when travelling as I don’t have to worry about bringing them back home with me.
Clothing & Accessories
Sunglasses – £1 per pair Primark
I wear contact lenses and have incredibly sensitive eyes, so for me, eye protection is another priority; red, watery eyes are never a nice look. I found a pair of cute retro specs for just £1 in Primark! After looking around, I decided to pick up two more pairs in different styles. I don’t know about you guys but I am always losing or breaking sunglasses so am reluctant to spend a lot on them anyhow.
Hat – £8 Peacocks
Again, being an ‘enhanced’ blonde means that keeping my hair protected from the harsh rays is important. This cute hat will help me keep my locks under wraps and I love the vintage, Audrey vibe.
Beach Towels – 2 for £8 Matalan
These towels are classy, bright and an absolute steal! Perfect for marking your territory on the beach or sunbed before breakfast.
Flipflops – £0.90 Primark
These vibrant, lightweight flip flops were another bargain and are ideal for popping in your bag, all ready to hit the beach for a few hours and dipping your toes in the sea.
Tote Bag – £2 Peacocks
Cheap and cheerful, this light cotton tote bag is ideal for taking around the local town, somewhere to store all of the little souvenirs you may collect along the way (my personal weakness seems to be fridge magnets. Yeah, I know…) The pineapple motif adds some extra seasonal fun too!
Popout Map – £3.99 Waterstones
My friend introduced me to these bad boys a few years ago. Initially, I laughed at her for being so organised but after a few uses myself, I am now a complete convert (thanks Claire). These maps are compact and so handy for navigating new territory. Adam and I did have an interesting moment with our pop out map on a trip to Amsterdam though!
Thank you to Holiday Gems for setting me this challenge. It made me realise that you don’t have to spend hundreds of pounds getting ready for a week in the sun after all, leaving more money
for a few Pina Coladas in the savings pot for our next adventure.
*In collaboration with Holiday Gems