Travel Money Diary | £3.3k Family Holiday to Crete

Today, we’re taking a look at a Travel Money Diary for a 7 night family holiday to Crete.

But first, let me explain what this is all about.

What is a travel money diary?

Cheap Holiday Expert’s Travel Money Diary is where I ask holidaymakers to anonymously share exactly how much their holiday costs and how much they spend whilst on them.

The hope is to bring more transparency to this often unspoken side of spending and allow us all to think about how much we’re paying and whether it’s worth the cost!

Who is Cheap Holiday Expert?

It’s me, Chelsea! And this site is the place where I share all my top tips and tricks to help you save money so you can travel more. You can also follow my updates over on YouTube and Instagram too.

Fancy sharing your own travel money diary?

If you’d like to track your own costs for an upcoming trip and share anonymously, email [email protected] with the subject ‘Travel Money Diary‘ for the template.

But for now, let’s crack on with this week’s getaway.


Just a quick one to say that these are real accounts of real people’s holidays meaning that they’re not my thoughts or experiences and therefore I’m not endorsing any companies or actions detailed.

I told you it was boring.



Aeronautical Engineer


How many holidays do you go on a year
2 longish breaks if possible

What’s your general attitude to money when it comes to holidays?
A fairly relaxed approach but always try to make sure I get good value for money and definitely love a bargain. Due to having 3 kids, having multiple bedrooms is important to so our choice is normally restricted and tend to look for villas or apartments on complexes.

What kind of holidayer are you?
Combination of sun worshipper and family friendly. Last year was the Algarve, Centreparcs and Disneyland Paris. Pre kids it was all about sun, luxury and food!!

Do you usually have a budget when booking your holiday?
Not really, just wouldn’t do anything or go anywhere that I didn’t think was good value.

What’s your budget for this holiday?
Don’t have one. It’s such a long overdue break that it will cost what it costs!!

How do you feel about tracking your daily spends in a Travel Money Diary?
I think it will be interesting and I may actually think more about what we are spending because of this. I reckon on average around £120 a day?!?


Orange sunset from a rooftop over Crete

Rethymno, Crete

7 nights

5 people

Rethymno, Crete

Leaving from

September 2020

7 nights

Who are you travelling with?
My wife and three kids aged 6, 3 and 3 (yes, they are twins!)

Who paid for the holiday
Everything comes out of the joint account!

What did you book?
A package holiday through James Villas which included Jet2 flights and this villa.

Why did you book a package holiday?
ABTA protection is useful in this climate!

How much did it cost?
£379.60 each – so £1898 in total

Were there any additional costs?
3 x 22kg bags which cost £198 in total

Starting Total:



12pm Car parking – £64
Car park at Birmingham airport. Went for closest for simplicity with lots of bags and kids. Slightly more expensive but worth it for the stress on the return at midnight with 3 tired children!

1pm – Food and drink – £17.10
Lunch in the airport at Pret-A-Manger. £17.10 isn’t too bad for a family of five!

1:30pm – Snacks – £10.24
Some snacks and drinks for the plane from WHSmiths to feed and bribe the kids.

8:00pm – Hire car insurance – £27.95
Finally arrive and remember just in time to buy some excess insurance before we pick our hire car up. I buy ours from Zurich and at £27.95 for a week, it’s so much cheaper than what Hertz are charging per day!

8:30pm – Hire car – £370
Insurance sorted, it’s time to pick up the car. I reserved the car with Hertz via holiday autos in advance and the price includes an additional driver. Went for a ‘Quashqai or equivalent’ and ended up with a Suzuki Vitara – why do you never get the one you book?! Only just got all the bags in. But, the kids did get given some free sun visors.

9:00pm – Dinner – £45
Evening meal en-route to Villa at Mandas Taverna in Souda. Just a Taverna that I found in advance looking at google maps and tripadvisor that was relatively close to the airport. Classic Greek food and does the trick.

10:00pm – Water – £4.50
Pick up some water and juice on the way to the villa to drink over night, in the morning. 




9:00am Supermarket shop – £60
Little bit of a shop at local supermarket for some breakfast and lunch bits for a few days as well as some standard essentials (beer, coffee, snacks etc).

10am – Pool at villa – £0
The plan today is to just relax at the pool at the villa. We packed our own inflatables so didn’t need to buy any. Now floating in front of me is a giant turtle, a “waver rider” and a green crocodile.

12:00pm – Lunch- £0
Lunch at the villa using the items from our shop. We’ve got cold meats, bread, salad, olives, crisps… Just a little bit of everything so we can pick and choose what we each want.

1pm – Pool at villa – £0
More pool time!

7pm – Dinner – £47
Dinner at Taverna Hovoli – nice little place only 3 minutes up the road. Most of these tavernas serve the usual grilled meats with rice and salad – it’s what you’d expect when you come to Greece. They often don’t have a kids menu so we always just end up ordering one or two extra mains and share the food out between us all. We’re lucky that the kids aren’t too fussy and as long as there’s chips, they’re happy! This place also has a playground to keep them entertained whilst we actually enjoy our meal. 

10pm – Drinks – £0
Back to the villa to put the kids to sleep and to enjoy some drinks purchased in the earlier shop. A great way to finish an amazing first full day!




9am Bakery – £4
Up and out at 9am to pick up some bread and nice cinnamon biscuits from the local bakery.

9:30am Breakfast – £0
Breakfast at the villa using the items we bought in the supermarket shop. The kids like to start the day with anything that involves chocolate – cue the pain au chocolats. 

10:00am – Pool at villa – £0
Once again, our plan this morning is to enjoy the amazing pool we have!

12:00pm – Lunch – £0
Time for lunch – I’m impressed with how far the food has gone between the five of us but I think we’ll have to do another shop later on today.

1:00pm – Beach items – £25.50
Unlike the inflatables, we couldn’t quite fit buckets, spades and a parasol in our suitcases so I go to the supermarket to buy some to use on the beach.

1:30pm – Beach – £0
Afternoon on the beach. Managed to find an area where we didn’t have to pay for sunbeds and used our own towels we’d packed for the afternoon. I managed to find somewhere to park and the beach by basically scrolling along the coast on google maps looking for groups of cars and an open beach – it worked really well! We’ve packed snacks from the supermarket shop so we don’t spend a penny.

4pm – Supermarket shop – £125.80
Big shop at Lidl to last the rest of the holiday for breakfast, lunch, drinks and snacks. Shopping with 3 kids in a foreign supermarket is a nightmare. Asking for pretty much everything. Do manage to find my favourite chocolate bananas though which you can hardly ever get over here! The prices are pretty similar to Lidl in the UK though surprisingly, the alcohol is just a bit more expensive.

8:00pm – Dinner – £52.50
Dinner at Taverna Zisis near Rethymno, a recommendation from a colleague who has family in the area. It’s a lovely Taverna with a yet another playground for kids. More of a local place and ordered way too much food that just seemed to arrive as and when it was ready. Tasted amazing though!

10:00pm – Drinks – £0
Evening drinks at Villa with alcohol from big shop, plus some Raki from the Villa owners. It burns!!!!




9:30am Breakfast – £0
Breakfast at villa using our shop items. Whilst the kids eat their breakfast (today it’s waffles), my wife and I have granola with yoghurt, fruit and honey. The honey is much better here than back home!

10am Pool at villa – £0
Day in the pool. Got annoyed trying to de-sand the kids after the beach and realised the pool is much less stressful and clean!

12pm Lunch – £0
Lunch at the villa using items from the big shop. We find a toastie maker which goes down well with the kids.

7pm Dinner – £48
Dinner at Pizzeria Remember for a slight change of scenery from Greek cuisine. Nice Pizzas cooked in a wood fired oven – they even do children’s pizzas – though the area is a bit tacky!

10pm  Drinks – £0
Evening drinks back at the villa with alcohol from big shop and a few games of Speed. Don’t worry – it’s a card game.




9:00am Bakery – £1
Bread from the local bakery. Often the people running these bakeries don’t speak a word of English, so I have to admit to just pointing at whatever looks good! Today, it’s a classic white boule style of loaf. 

9:30am Breakfast – £0
Once again, breakfast at the villa using supermarket items

10am Pool at villa – £0
Day in the pool – I promise we will go back to the beach at some point!!

12pm Lunch – £0
Lunch at the villa

6pm Supermarket shop – £6
Little shop for loo roll and bin bags. You get through bin bags quickly when you can’t flush toilet paper!!

7pm Dinner – £61
Dinner at Poliou House Taverna including a bottle of their special Raki (sweetened with fruit – much nicer than normal Raki).

10pm  Drinks – £0
Have you guessed the pattern yet? Evening drinks back at the villa.



Inside Villa Kyveli. Large kitchen with dark wooden dining table and chairs.


9:30am Breakfast – £0
Breakfast at the villa.

10am Pool at villa – £0
Morning in the pool before heading out for lunch.

1pm Lunch – £49
Sunday lunch back at Taverna Zisis. Booked in advance and glad as very busy with locals out for Sunday lunch. We end up sitting close to the local priest who is steadily making his way through several beers, only to stop every now and then to greet people who walk by. It’s the kind of place where everyone knows everyone!

5pm Patisserie – £9
Pick up some nice traditional Baklava and Katifi from Patisserie.

8pm Dinner – £0
Light evening meal at Villa after big lunch using stuff bought from shop.

10pm  Drinks – £0
Evening drinks at the villa with alcohol from big shop and tuck into the pastries bought earlier in the day. Delicious!




9:00am Bakery – £1
One last trip to the bakery for our final loaf of bread!

9:30am Breakfast – £0
Breakfast at the villa.

10am Pool at villa – £0
Our last full day in Crete will be, you guessed it, spent at the villa pool. This is why I didn’t mind spending extra to get our own place as I knew we’d use it a lot. It’s also really cut down on our costs elsewhere.

10:30am  Pharmacy – £10
Quick trip to pharmacy for eye drops for daughter having mild eye issues. Decide to get myself some cheap medication as well (as usually cheaper than UK prescription prices), but actually find it’s more expensive. I am used to mainland Greece prices (Athens) and wonder if they are inflated on tourist islands…

8pm Dinner – £46
Dinnner at Taverna Zisis again, we really like it here as it’s just so handy with the playground for the kids and the food is amazing. Plus, there’s lots to work through on the menu! The drink costs are pretty good too – only a couple of euros for a big bottle of beer.

10pm  Drinks – £0
Evening drinks at the villa.



Inside of a Greek Taverna in the evening


9:30am Breakfast – £0
Breakfast at the villa using the last of the items from our shop. We’ve actually done a pretty good job at eating up what we bought – there’s only a few beers left and some cupboard items like tea and coffee.

10am Check out – £0
No pool time today as it’s an early check out. Fortunately, we packed last night and remembered to charge the iPads to distract the kids as we get the last bits sorted. The check out is earlier than usual as there’s lots of extra cleaning going on because of Covid, which is fair enough.

10:30am Supermarket shop – £3
Few Greek treats from Lidl for presents – classic Greek delight (I don’t dare call it Turkish delight here!) and more chocolate bananas.

11:00am Hotel – £63
I splashed out and in advance, booked another hotel room for use during the day as our flight is not till 9:30pm. Just wanted a room near the beach with a pool. Booked at Bio-suites and negotiated a discount for just a day rate. A bit of an extravagance but to be honest it basically gives us an extra day’s holiday without having to stress about washing kids after the beach and being able to use a pool.

11:30am Beach – £0
I told you we’d go back to the beach! Use our own parasol and beach toys. After we’re done, give the parasol away and just chuck the buckets and spades in the bin. Not worth trying to bring them back for the price and mess!

1:30pm Lunch – £23.70
Finally get a Gyros for lunch at Makan Grill House in Rethymno old town. Been craving a classic Gyros the whole time. Spent some time in Athens in the past and practically lived off these. It didn’t disappoint.

2:30pm Ice creams – £7.29
Ice creams at Rethymno harbour – the kids insist on pudding after every meal!

3pm Holiday gifts – £5.47
Walk along the shop fronts in Rethymno and kids want some gifts, so purchase 3 friendship bracelet style things. Classic holiday purchase for a child!

3:30pm Holiday gifts – £11
Kids have some other spending money from grandparents so end up buying what can only be described as tat from another shop – fake lego, fake Disney princess thing and a unicorn purse.

4pm Pool at hotel – £0
Use the hotel pool and playground for a few hours before freshening up, checking out and heading back to the airport

7:30pm Diesel – £21
Diesel for hire car that needed to be full before returning. It’s not expensive thanks to spending most of our time at our own pool!

8:20pm Dinner – £18
After returning the car, we check in our bags and have dinner at the airport. We get 2 burgers and a portion of chips and it costs £18 – a lot more than what we’ve been used to getting for our money this week! But whilst it is expensive, they’re actually quite tasty.

8:45pm Water – £1.80
The final purchase of the holiday! 2 bottles of water to take on the flight with us.

What a great trip!




Villa, flights & baggage  – £2096.00
Hotel – £63.00
Parking, car hire, insurance & diesel – £482.95
Food and drink – £631.93
Extras – £60.97




The average daily cost was actually cheaper than I thought it would be, largely down to restaurant prices being about 10 to 20 euros cheaper than I thought they would and also not going out as much to other tourist places as we normally would (i.e. water parks etc). We would definitely do this style of holiday again, though perhaps it would be nice to take the kids out more so they can make friends. But, given the circumstances, this worked perfectly. 


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