Today, we’re taking a look at a Travel Money Diary for a week’s holiday in a 5 star hotel in Corfu. However, whilst these Travel Money Diaries are normally anonymous, this one isn’t.
Because it’s mine!
You can also find a full review with loads of pictures from this holiday here.
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?
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, its time to find out more about how much an all inclusive break can actually cost…
INFO & SPENDING HABITS
I run CheapHolidayExpert.com!!
£100 million a year (this is – obviously – a joke. I’m 2 months into doing this full time and so… It’s not a lot lads!!)
How many holidays do you go on a year
Before I did this – normally one big holiday a year and a 2 or 3 shorter city breaks. These days… Quite a few, but most involve work.
What kind of holidayer are you?
I love cities and road trips. Variety is important to me and I love to chat to locals, find out where they go and what’s going on in their lives (basically, I’m nosey AF). Also, a dive bar is just as much of a yes as the best rated restaurant in town.
What’s your general attitude to money when it comes to holidays?
Spend hours getting the best deal on the flights and accommodation and then… It all unravels when I get on the holiday. But I guess that’s one of the joys of saving upfront is you get to spend your savings when away!
Do you usually have a budget when you’re booking a holiday?
For weekend breaks, I’m loathe to spend more than £200pp on flights and accommodation and for short haul week long holidays, I’m still looking at less than £500pp. Any more than that and I’d consider that expensive! But again, I’m not very strict whilst I’m on holiday. At all.
What’s your budget for this holiday?
This is our first holiday abroad for over a year and as we’ve been working for most of our recent jaunts, we were happy to spend a bit more to go somewhere and ‘relax’. We wanted somewhere that we didn’t have to cook or clean and so were happy to spend up to £750pp as long as that included some food and drink options.
How do you feel about tracking your daily spends in a Travel Money Diary?
Well, it’s about time right given that I’ve made other people do it!! I’m also really intrigued as to whether a package that includes food and drink is actually worth it – or whether a DIY holiday comes out on top. I am a believer in sometimes you have to spend more to save more so let’s see if that’s the case.
Who are you travelling with?
Who paid for the holiday?
We always split the cost
What did you book?
A package holiday with British Airways Holidays
Why did you book a package holiday?
We wanted a relaxing holiday where we didn’t have to cook or clean. We also wanted somewhere we could work from if we really needed to.
Who did you fly with?
We flew with British Airways and as we booked it as a package, they gave us 23kg of luggage each for free
Where did you choose to stay?
Domes of Corfu
What room and board did you book?
We were half board and booked the Sapphire Sublime One Bedroom Suite which was one of the hotels’ ‘Haute Living Selection’ rooms meaning we got lots of extra perks.
What ‘perks’ did you get?
We got lots of extra perks but the main ones were access to a Living Room with free food and drink and all our evening meals got upgraded to 3 course meals in the a la carte restaurants.
The hotel were also running a ‘Twogether Package’ for couples so we also got a free cocktail, a free meal and a free massage each.
How much did it cost?
9:30am – Zipcar – £23 / 11.50 each
The tube to Heathrow is under works today (this literally NEVER happens) so we book a one way Zipcar hire from close to ur house. It’s actually a much quicker way to get there. Well, as long as the person driving doesn’t take the wrong turn and add 40 minutes to your trip… Oh, and an extra tenner to the cost!
11:00am – Airport Lounge – £0
We just about have enough time to go to the airport lounge (I get a free Priority Pass with one of my credit cards) for a beer and some food.
1:00pm – Drinks on the plane – £24.40 / £12.20 each
We board and once up in the air, we treat ourselves to a couple of gins each. They’re both double and so are quite merry by the time we land in Greece!
5:30pm – Taxi to hotel – £38 / £19 each
I’ve prebooked a transfer with CorfuTaxi24 and so when we come into the arrivals hall, there’s a man waiting with my name on a sign. FANCY. The trip takes 25 minutes and I spend it quizzing him about Corfu and what it’s like to live there. Did you know that most of the island closes up to tourists after October?! Anyway. The trip is €40 but we tip €5 as he was really helpful.
6:00pm – Welcome drink – £0
We check in and they give us a welcome drink. Tastes like aperol spritz but I suspect it may actually use Kumquat liquor as it’s a local delicacy – and there’s some waiting for us in our room too with some candied almonds. Time for another shot?!!
We’re staying in one of their sea view one bedroom suites and it’s lovely to have the extra living area space – we’re really happy with the room.
7:00pm – Drinks and nibbles – £0
All our dinners are upgraded to 3 course meals in the hotel’s a la carte restaurants (there are 3) but they’re all booked up this eve. BOO. However, we chance it at the Italian and the host there tells us she can squeeze us in at 9:30pm. Perfect, but we’re starving so decide to check out the Living Room we have access to with our room to see what’s on offer.
End up having some cheese tarts, breadsticks wrapped in parma ham, salmon wraps, bruschetta, some fruit and 2 gin and tonics. First impressions? This room is amazing!
9:30pm – Italian restaurant – £19 / £9.50 each
Our 3 course meal should have cost a whopping €107 but we got it for free – wahey! Though if I was paying I’d say the prices were STEEP. But I wasn’t so happy days. The starters and the mains were good (you can see more of what we ate here) but the puddings were lacklustre. Some spends – large sparkling water (€3,50), 2 red wines (€16) and a tip (€3).
11:00am – Breakfast – £0
Time to check out the breakfast buffet! It’s got a huge selection but the first days of holiday are all about finding the best things on offer. I go for for toast, eggs, bacon and after that didn’t quite satisfy me, I made a huge salmon salad which was pretty good actually. Tea, coffee and orange juice come at no extra charge.
12pm – Beer time – £0
After a long breakfast, we head to the Living Room for a beer. It is holiday after all! It’s just a shame we can’t take the free drinks out of the area, though you can sit outside in a courtyard if it’s sunny.
1pm – Beach time – £0
It’s supposed to be terrible weather so we’re making the most of the sun whilst we can. We manage an hour before a lifeguard comes onto the beach with a siren and tells us all to move. The black clouds are looking very ominous.
2:30pm – Beer whilst it rains – £7.60 / £3.80 each
Instead of heading inside, we go to their beach restaurant Core Spianada which is open to the elements but covered by a huge barn like structure. We order a draught beer each (€4,50) and settle in to watch the storm… which lasts about 5 minutes.
3pm – Late lunch – £4.64 / £2.32 each
The sun is back out so we decide to ‘cash in’ our free meal that we got with the Twogether Package. If we were on the half board deal, we could use it in the evening but since we have 3 course meals already, we’ve decided to use it for lunch. We head to Topos, their Greek taverna on the beach and enjoy a lovely 3 course meal that would have racked up to €77! We spend money on sparkling water and a small tip.
4pm – Afternoon chill – £0
We spend the afternoon just chilling out and have a couple of soft drinks from the Living Room.
8:00pm – Dinner – £14.76 / £7.37 each
It’s our first time trying the dinner buffet (we couldn’t get a reservation but we’re booked in places from tomorrow) which again, has lots of choice but it’s still a hotel buffet at the end of the day. I end up eating pasta, seabass, salad, moussaka and some big, herby potato wedges. The food was on a scale of fine to good. And helped by a glass of white wine and more sparkling water.
9:00pm – Drinks – £0
We spent the rest of the eve in the Living Room having between us 3 sparkling wines, a beer and 2 gin and tonics. The room closes at 10pm (but they let us stay there until 10:30pm) so we finish our drinks and head back to our room.
11am – Breakfast – £0
Boy, we love these late breakfasts!! They run between 7:30am – 11:30am and it bodes well for us trying to not spend money on lunches! Today I try out the greek yoghurt. It’s – perhaps unsurprisingly – delicious!
12:00pm – Work catch up with beers – £0
James and I are a little odd – we often work on holiday but it’s on our own projects and so we actually like this. Especially when it’s combined with 2 beers, 2 sparkling wines, a sparkling water and an array of nibbles. Really impressed with the food on offer in here – it changes throughout the day and between days too, so there’s lots of variety.
3:00pm – Pool time – £5.06 / £2.53 each
I’ve got to finish up some work but James heads down to the pool where I join him after. We have 2 cappuccinos (classic pool drink) and I spend the time reading – something I haven’t done in forever!
7:00pm – Cocktails – £0
Back to the Living Room and discover that they do cocktails between 6-8pm! They’re pre-mixed but those nice ones you get in jars and it looks like they’ve been pre-made at the hotel. We go for a margaritas and they are STRONG.
8:00pm – Dinner – £4.62 / £2.31 each
Back to the Italian tonight and as we’re quite boozy already, we just stick to some sparkling water. We leave a small tip.
10pm – Cocktails in the bar – £0
It’s time to use up another freebie – our cocktail voucher! James goes for a Mojito and I opt for a Zombie. Go off to bed feeling very full and quite drunk.
11:00am – Breakfast – £0
We found out that they do omelettes made to order. GAME CHANGER. Take banana from breakfast for a snack on the beach.
12:00am – Beach time
It’s a little windy but I’m making the most of an ounce of sunshine before the rain comes again today (it’s forecast every single day!)
2:00pm – Explore the area – £0
We walk along the beach to see what’s open and the answer is… Nothing. Well, there’s a small shop open (that you can also hire rental cars from ) but the 3 places on google maps are shut up for the season it seems. As we’re at the bottom of a huge hill (it takes an hour to climb!) I do wish there was more on offer that we could walk to. I’m missing exploring!
2:30pm – Hot food discovery – £0
Head back to the Living Room and find that they have HOT NIBBLES around lunchtime. Today is just becoming a win on the food front! Enjoy mini lamb skewers, a bacon muffin, meatballs and stilton tarts. YUM. We stay for a few hours eating and drinking and full marks for the pornstar martinis coming with a little shot of sparkling wine!
8:00pm – Dinner – £4.62 / £2.31 each
We’d booked the Greek Taverna tonight but surprise, surprise, it’s been closed due to the weather so they moved our booking to the Italian. I am gutted! The food in the Italian is good but I’m used to so much variety on holiday and I feel like I’m eating the same things again and again. I’m so not in the mood for it that we don’t even order pudding (is she sick?!?) and just stick to sparkling water.
9:00pm – Netflix and an early night – £0
We head straight back to the room to watch Squid Game and get an early night as we have to be up early in the morning. Well, earlier than 11am!!
10:00am – Breakfast – £0
We’re off to Old Corfu Town today so are up early (for us) for breakfast before we go. We’ve nailed this now – James goes to get a big omelette that we share, I go to do the toast and reunite with plate fulls of fresh fruit and yoghurt.
11:30am – Hotel shuttle to Corfu Old Town – £0
We’d planned to get the local bus for €2,20 but when we asked about it at the front desk they revealed that they did a daily shuttle for free – result! It’s a lovely minibus and the journey takes 30 minutes.
12:00pm – Kumquat liquor – £4.22 / £2.11 each
We’re actually recording an episode of our Tipsy Tourism podcast today so James needs to find a drink for us to have during the day. He settles for some kumquat liquor because 1) it’s from Corfu and 2) he thinks it’s funny to say. We buy it from a tourist shop – the first time I think I’ve ever bought anything from one of those!
12:30pm – Coffee – £8.40 / £4.20 each
I’m hankering for a good coffee after the pretty average coffees in the hotel so head to Mikro Cafe which was recommended to us by the hotel. We sit outside under some trees whilst watching people walk up and down the old streets and it’s soooo nice. This is what a holiday is all about to me! The coffee is really good too, though James buys a Greek coffee as well as a cappuccino and we decide to stick to what we know from here on in. Leave a €2 tip even though that’s more than 10% but feeling BUZZED to be somewhere new.
1:30pm – Old Fortress – £10.12 / £5.06 each
After recording our intro, we’re off to the Old Fortress to start exploring. It costs €6 each to explore, but it does give us access to the place we’re off to for lunch.
2:00pm – Lunch at Corfu Sailing Club – £39.40 each / £19.70
On the outskirts of the fortress there’s the Corfu Sailing Club which is lined by boats big and small. It’s a lovely spot for lunch – and the food is good too! So nice to be eating somewhere different!! We share a moussaka style starter and I go for the Fruit de mare spaghetti and James has a lamb skewer dish. Both are delicious. We have a few beers too.
It’s a good reminder to the type of costs we usually spend when away. I.e. the hotel prices are much higher than what we’d often opt for.
4:00pm – Ice cream – £3.04 – £1.52 each
We’re halfway through recording and stop for some ice cream at Papagiorgios. James tries Pistachio (their most popular flavour) and I go for Kinder Bueno (their second).
5:00pm – Cancel shuttle home – £0
Recording is taking FOREVER so we cancel our place on the shuttle bus home at 5:30pm (we were probably always going to do this anyway) and carry on. Finally get it all finished by 7:30pm which allows us some time to eat and relax!
7:30pm – Dinner – £42.18 – £21.09 each
I’m desperate for some souvlaki but we’re booked in to the souvlaki night at the hotel the next night so we opt for dinner at Rex, which comes highly recommended by lots of people. We both go for some traditional Corfu meals which means they’re not the most aesthetically pleasing, but they taste good! James has Corfu chicken which comes with huge tubes of pasta, and I had a veal stew dish with mashed potato. I had an aperol spritz and James had a bellini. We tipped €4 as well.
8:30pm – Drinks – £21.10 / £10.55 each
We go for a couple of drinks – a beer (€3,50 each) and then a cocktail (€9 each) to make the most of being away from the hotel. Whilst sat outside we get an emergency alert from the Greek gov about bad weather – great!
10:00pm – Taxi – £33.74 / £16.87 each
We go to the taxi rank and the driver quotes us €40 for the journey back – it’s what we expected. I don’t tip because he drives so fast and I’m scared for my life – but we get back to the hotel in one piece.
Today was a good reminder of what we usually spend when away, but also that choosing your food and drink means you can opt for much better deals too!
10:40am – Breakfast – £0
Got this down to a tee.
11:00 am – Massage – £15 / £7.50 each
We run to the spa for our treatment, as part of our package, and enjoy a 30 min back massage. BLISSFUL. We leave a tip at the end.
12:40 am – Beach walk – £0
The weather’s not great today but we walk down the beach with umbrellas to satisfy my need to get outside today. We find a nudist beach (the rocks have ‘NUDIST’ and ‘SEX’ written all over them) but it’s just us, fully clothed, for today.
1:30pm – Working – £0
It’s due to rain all day today so we’ve decided to just use this time to catch up on some personal projects in the Living Room. Bit boring? Yes, but we’re happy enough. If we didn’t have this, I think we may struggle with what to do today. Whilst in the room we have 4 sparkling roses (delicious) and their hot food today is falafel tortillas, chicken bao buns and spring rolls. I also have a mini cheesecake.
3:00pm – Chill in the room – £0
That’s enough work for today so we’re back in the room to finish off Squid Game. The sound of the rain and the sea outside is actually so relaxing!!!
5:30pm – Dinner plans change – £0
Back in the room and receive a call to say the Souvlaki night is off – I AM SO SAD. What’s more, there’s no room in the Italian restaurant and so we have to go to Agora instead. I actually don’t mind – we’ve been to the Italian enough already – but slight peeved that there aren’t any other options. I asked if we could order room service instead but they said we’d get charged in full and when I asked if we could get a taxi to the next village, they said the roads would probably be closed. Ah well, I tried.
6pm – Cocktails – £0
Back in the Living Room for cocktails. So glad we were able to escape yesterday as I’m feeling quite cooped up – even in this big ol’ hotel!! There’s big ‘wet play’ energy today with everyone huddled in groups playing cards and whatnot.
8:00pm – Buffet Dinner – £4.62 / £2.31 each
Tonight’s theme is ‘Mediteranian’ but in all honesty, it’s not too disimilar to the Corfu theme the other night. I stick to my ‘simple is better’ rule and have some chicken and beef with salad and potatoes. It’s alright! And it certainly fills me up. The caramel ice cream is decent though!
9:00pm – Drinks – £0
Couple of gins. The man who works here must be so bored of seeing us!
10:30pm – More drinks – £12.66 / £6.33 each
Decide to go for one more drink at the bar with the sea views. Bit too chilly to sit outside but it’s lovely in there. James goes for a Baileys and I have a Port. We are 97 years old.
7:30am – Wake up – £0
I’m up early to take some pictures and videos around the hotel whilst it’s still quiet so I can write up my review.
8:30am – Packing our bags – £0
We pack up – love how quick it is compared to packing to go on holiday – and reckon we have just enough time to catch the public bus instead of ordering a €40 taxi.
9:25 am – Checking out – £25.30 / £15.15 each
The public bus comes at 9:35am so we’re really cutting it fine as we still have to check out and pay our final bill. It comes up to €171 including the nightly hotel tax (€30) which we pay and have 2 minutes to get to the bus stop.
9:35am – Public bus – £4.22 / £2.11 each
We make it – just! The fare is supposed to be €2,20 each but we get no change from €5. I wonder if you need to give the exact amount. Still, it’s much cheaper than the taxi and instead of a bus, it’s a lovely coach where we stored out suitcases down below.
10:20am – Breakfast – £16.80 / £8.40 each
The bus drops us off in San Rocco Square just outside of the Old Town. Our flight leaves at 12:55pm so we’ve got about an hour before we need to get a 5 minute taxi to the airport. We decide to spend our saved money on breakfast and I’m so glad we did. The brunch at My Habit is so tasty – and so cheap too! It makes me realise that food is way too important for me on holidays to just eat the same thing.
11:05am – Taxi – £12.66 / £6.33 each
The airport is only a 25 min walk away but we still need to check in (there was an issue online) so we decide to go for the stress free option. However, whilst the airport is just 5 minutes away, the taxi costs €15 thanks to the extra fees the driver has to pay. Ouch!
12:20pm – Coffee – £6.92 / £3.46 each
We’re all checked in and so grab a Starbucks whilst we wait.
2:45pm – Zipcar home – £0
We’re home and it only takes 14 mins to get from the plane to arrivals. Incredible! We decide to drive home (the tube is back on but this way is much quicker). When we get to the car, it’s had a bit of damage that hasn’t been reported so James spends 10 mins calling up and getting it sorted. However, this results in them giving James £20 credit and so the journey home is completely free.
What a way to end the trip!
Getting to and from Heathrow – £11.50
Hotel, flights & baggage – £728
Hotel fees – £15.15
Transport in Greece – £37.98
Food, drink and tips – £129.51
Activities – £5.06
The holiday made me realise why I love DIY holidays – I crave the variety! However I will say that there’s good value to be had by doing a holiday like this, especially if you want to do little more than lounge at the pool. Whilst we paid a lot upfront, it was quite achievable to spend little more whilst away – which is an oddity for us.
However, I do think it’s easy to get caught up in the ‘this is now free’ psyche when in reality, how much would you actually spend if you were doing it yourself?
For me, I’d rather spend £500 each on flights and accommodation and then have that extra cash to spend as I please.
But, I will say one thing. I normally come back from a holiday feeling a bit burnt out and I’ve never felt so relaxed on my arrival home. So there’s definitely a place for this sort of holiday. Perhaps I’ll just book my next one closer to a town, or book for a few days and combine it with a self catering stay.
WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THIS HOTEL?
I did a HUGE review on it with loads of pictures and thoughts to what I liked, what I think could be improved and whether or not I’d book it again in the future.
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