Travel Money Diary | £920 on Unplanned Teeth & Tattoos in Turkey

Today, we’re taking a look at a Travel Money Diary for an all inclusive trip to Turkey where a couple of major purchases sent the spending a little awry…

Honestly, you’re going to want to buckle in for this one!

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.

Hotel Upgrade template

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…


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.



Currently out of work due to disability

£0 – £9,999

How many holidays do you go on a year
Quite a few!! I travel with my boyfriend and we usually go on a 3-4 week break at the start of the year, and another week’s holiday later on in the year. We’ll then do 5-6 UK weekend breaks as well, and perhaps a foreign city break around Christmas.

What kind of holidayer are you?
We love exploring different parts of Asia every year on our long holiday. We like to be with the locals and get a really good feel for it. For our holiday at the end of the year, we mostly go all inclusive. Somewhere cheap and easy just to relax and read books.

What’s your general attitude to money when it comes to holidays? 
We try to budget – I used to be an independent travel agent so I’m quite savvy at finding good prices for flights and great accommodation at low costs. 

But this doesn’t mean we don’t travel a bit then decide at the end of the week that we’re tired of cheap accommodation and end up booking somewhere a bit more luxury!!

Do you usually have a budget when you’re booking a holiday?
Not normally. We just save every month and when we want to go away we use whatever is in our savings!

What’s your budget for this holiday?
We just wanted to escape for a bit of sun and so we agreed to spend £500 each on an all inclusive getaway.

Our holiday to Gran Canaria then got cancelled but TUI gave us the option to rebook to another country with an extra £500 to spend! So, we’ve been able to rebook a 5 star all inclusive hotel at the same cost.

How do you feel about tracking your daily spends in a Travel Money Diary?
I’m interested to find out as I have never tracked before. I’m hoping I won’t be spending too much as it’s meant to be a relaxing holiday next to the pool. But we will soon see. We do like to visit the odd market!

(Chelsea here – these are famous last words!!!)


Antalya, Turkey

7 nights

2 people

Antalya, Turkey

Leaving from

August 2020

7 nights

Who are you travelling with?
My boyfriend

Who paid for the holiday?
We always split the cost

What did you book?
A package holiday with TUI

Why did you book a package holiday?
Due to COVID, it was last minute and I needed to know everything would be secure and we wouldn’t lose out on money.

Who did you fly with?
We flew with TUI and the flights included hand luggage and a 15kg check in bag each

Where did you choose to stay?
Swandor TopKapi Palace Hotel

What room and board did you book?
All inclusive deluxe double bedroom with balcony

How much did it cost?
£460 each and that also included hotel transfers

Were there any additional costs?
Airport car parking and insurance cost £70 each

Starting Total:



6am  Beers – £14 / £7 each
What’s a holiday without a beer at the airport? Even at 6am!

7:30am – Flight – £0
The flight is fine. Was expecting it to be quiet but it’s quite busy but we do have a seat between us which is good. We were given strict instructions to not get up and use the toilets without asking a steward first. Within 2 minutes of the seatbelt lights going off everyone is up queuing!

1:30pm – Arrive in Antalya – £0
We arrive in Turkey where we give in the passenger location form that we had to fill in before flying. Otherwise, we’re not stopped for anything else and swiftly make our way to our transfer.

2:10pm – Check in – £0
We check into our hotel – it’s all very straightforward – and make our way up to the room. It’s super clean and modern and our balcony is at the back overlooking another hotel. We help ourselves to some water, juice and snacks from the minibar (it’s all included in the rate ) and then grab our swimming stuff and head down to the pool.

3:00pm – Pool – £0
The pool is pretty overcrowded but we luckily find a couple of beds and order some meze dishes and bread for lunch. The hotel has two large pools which is why we booked it – we thought the bigger the better! But there’s so many people here.

8pm – Dinner – £0
After an afternoon of chilling by the pool and drinking cocktails (mine’s a mojito), it’s time for dinner. You’re not allowed to get your food from the buffet yourself because of Covid so you have to ask a waiter to get it for you which feels weird, but it works! I go for a chicken kebab and salad.

9pm – Entertainment – £0
Every night there’s a live show and tonight there’s a magician! We’ve had quite a bit to drink by this point so it’s good fun. We stay up for another couple of hours before heading to bed.




7:00am  Wake up – £0
We wake early so that we can get some beds down by the pool! We’re also keen to get our breakfast before it gets busy.

7:20am – Breakfast – £0
I go for a ham and veg omelette and an iced coffee.

8:00am – Pool – £0
With our beds secured, today is a proper pool day. We have no plans but to just sit out in the 35 degree heat, read some books, have a swim in the pool and just relax.

1pm – Lunch – £0
Back to the buffet for lunch and I just get a bit of everything! Then it’s back to the pool.

5pm – Instagram scrolling – £0
I’m on Instagram when I come across a story from Daniel Osborne – he used to be on TOWIE and is now married to the actress Jacqueline Osborne who won I’m a Celeb last year. He’s getting his teeth done and oh my god, it’s just down the road from here!! Back when I was 21 I knocked my two front teeth out (yes, I was drunk) and so what I have now have to be replaced every 10 years. I mean, the 10 years aren’t up but… It’s supposed to be much cheaper in Turkey right?!?

5:15pm – Phonecall – £0
So… I might have rang the dental clinic and they’re sending a car  at 8pm to pick me up for a consultation!! My boyfriend thinks I’m mad but I’ve been thinking about getting them done for a while now anyway… In the mean time, I order another couple of drinks and enjoy my time in the sunshine.

(Yoo hoo, it’s me, your girl Chelsea here. OBVIOUSLY please do your research and check in with your dentist before embarking on any major dental work of your own!)

7:30pm – Dinner – £0
For dinner I have a Turkish flatbread with meat and veg.

8:00pm – Pick up – £0
The car they send is so posh. It’s a Mercedes and there’s a little fridge in the back with bottles of water! My boyfriend stays at the hotel and I say I shouldn’t be too long.

1:30am – Teeth consultation – £0
5.5 hours later I’m finally shown into my consultation. I am a bit gutted I’ve missed a big chunk of my day just waiting but the clinic is spotless, super professional and I’ve been well looked after.

2:00am – Car home – £0
After some quick X-rays and signing some forms, I’m all done! I’ve decided to get two replacement crowns on my front teeth and teeth whitening and I’ll pay at the end. I’ll need to come to another appointment before the final work is done the night before we leave.




7am Wake up – £0
Even after a late night, we’re up early to claim our spot.

7:30am Breakfast – £0
Breakfast is boiled eggs and some toast and several cups of coffee and turkish tea. I grab some bottled water for the pool too.

8:00am – Pool at villa – £0
Back at the pool!

12:00pm – Lunch – £0
At the buffet lunch today I opt for some meats and salads but also a load of fruit. I’m trying to balance out all the gin and tonics that are about to come!

12:30pm – Adult pool – £0
On the way back from lunch we discover an adults only pool! What’s more, it’s much quieter. What a find! We move our stuff over and spend the afternoon there relaxing with, yep, plenty of G&Ts.

7pm – Dinner – £27.00 / £13.50 each
Tonight we’ve decided to shake things up a bit and come to the a la carte restaurant at the hotel. The drinks are still free but you have to pay for what you order. It’s so quiet in here – it’s really lovely actually – and the waiters just keep bringing out food! Salads, meze, meats, rice, bread… My boyfriend eats so much he feels sick!!

9pm – Entertainment
We finish in time to check out the entertainment which was an acrobatic show tonight. And a chance for more mojitos!



Mojito drink with a black straw and mint garnish


8am Breakfast – £0
Breakfast is a bit later today because we’re not off to the pool, were off on a day trip! I eat a ham and veg omelette to fuel me for day.

9am  Day trip to Waterfalls – £90 / £45 each
We booked it with the hotel so all we have to do is show up in reception, wait for the bus and then get on.

10am  Waterfalls – £0
The waterfalls are really beautiful and I’m glad we’ve done something different today.

12pm  Lunch – £0
Lunch is included in the deal and it’s chicken pittas. You have to pay more if you want to drink alcohol so we just stick to water.

1pm  Coach – £0
We finish lunch and are ready to hit our next stop and… The coach breaks down!! They have to send for a new one which takes TWO HOURS, but with the nice weather we don’t mind chilling out that much.

3pm  Turkish Delight Factory – £0
When the new coach finally arrives, we all load on and head to a Turkish Delight Factory. Obviously they really want you to buy some but we just sampled EVERYTHING and managed to leave without being persuaded.

5pm  Back at the hotel – £0
After an eventful day, we chill in the room and rummage the mini bar for snacks before heading down for dinner.

6pm  Dinner – £0
Tonight I’m eating the standard meats – I’ve gone for chicken and lamb – veg and flatbreads. I’m gonna test out a few of the desserts too! Oh and some more cocktails!

9:10pm  Dental appointment – £0
Manage to catch 10 minutes of the entertainment (dancers) before another fancy car is here to take me to my second appointment. Unlike last time, I go straight in and by 11pm, they’ve take off my old crowns, filed them down and give me temporary replacements. 

11:00pm  Drinks – £0

I find my boyfriend who’s been drinking in my absence. I feel the need to catch up so order some shots.

12:00pm  Drinks – £0
Very drunk. We decide to go for a little wander and end up in an arcade at the hotel. As we leave we spot a tattoo parlour. ‘Let’s get tattoos!’ my boyfriend says. Now that doesn’t sound like a very clever idea…





9:00am  Wake up – £0
We wake up late this morning and both of us have an awful hangover. How much did we drink last night??!?

9:30am  Shower – £0
I get in the shower and reach down to pick up my razor and that’s when I see it. A TATTOO. On my leg!!! I scream my boyfriend’s name and he dashes in to see what’s wrong. On sight of him, I burst out laughing because right there, in exactly the same spot as mine, is the very same tattoo. We are nobheads.

9:45am  Tattoo inspection- £100 / £50 each
Now out of the shower, we’re inspecting our new tattoos. We’ve both now got the crescent and star of the Turkish flag permanently on our legs. As someone with lots of tattoos, I’m quick to see the funny side but as this was my boyfriend’s first ever tattoo, he’s not as easily comforted!! Especially as they cost £50 each.

12pm Lunch – £6.38 each
We try sitting by the pool for a while but as we should be keeping our tattoos out of the sun, we’ve decided to leave the hotel for some lunch using their free shuttle service. We find a little local place and order a kebab each which we hope will help with the hangover from hell.

1pm  Drinks – £5.90 each
We decide to chance a hair of the dog and order a beer each.  I hope it works!! 

1pm  Water and Ice Cream – £5.13 each
Still feeling rough, we buy some bottles of water and an ice cream to try and shake off how we’re feeling. We get chatting to a local who sees our tattoos. Turns out we’ve had them done back to front which is actually more a symbol for fertility. My boyfriend is absolutely fuming 🤣

9pm Dinner and Entertainment – £0
We eat the buffet and try to enjoy the show but to be honest, today has been a bit of a write off. But tomorrow is a new day – and a better chance to show our new tattoos off at the pool!!!




7am  Wake up – £0
It’s a new day and I feel like a new woman.

7:30am  Breakfast – £0
I go for some eggs, some meat and toast and have an iced coffee and a Turkish tea. 

8am Pool – £0
It’s our last full day to enjoy the pool so you bet we’re gonna spend all the day here! 

12pm Lunch – £0
We go for meze dishes again for lunch – I’ve been impressed with the quality of food but it is starting to get a little repetitive now.

1pm  Pool – £0
Back at the pool and enjoying some beers and some gin and tonics.

7:30pm Dinner – £29 / £14.50 each
We came up to the room before dinner but now we’re up here, we can’t be bothered to go back down and end up ordering room service. I get spaghetti bolognese and my boyfriend gets mushroom and chicken pasta. Not too exciting but a welcome change!

9pm  Entertainment – £0
Time for the last show and it’s dancing tonight followed by some live music. We’re not paying too much attention but just enjoying some drinks and the warm weather whilst we can.

12:30am  Car pick up – £0
As my boyfriend is getting ready for bed, I’m getting ready to have my teeth done! Yep – it’s a 24/7 clinic and my appointment is at 1am! They send another car and before I know it, I’m sat back in the chair about to get my new teeth!

3:30am  New teeth – £870
2.5 hours later, I’ve got my new crowns fitted and some very white teeth! They used one of those laser things to whiten and whilst the first 30 minutes were fine it suddenly became one of the most painful things I’ve ever experienced!!! There were like shooting pains in my nerves! I told them and they stopped it right away and I just left it at that – it was supposed to be on for an hour but I could not sit through it. But overall, the staff and the clinic were brilliant. I did do lots of research before booking it – checking all the reviews – and ultimately I was really happy with the service. I paid on my debit card as I left. £870! It’s not bad for new teeth but… This was supposed to be a cheap holiday!!

4:00am  Bedtime – £0
Finally back at the hotel having picked up some antibiotics on the way back (they organise that all for you), I climb into bed and go to sleep.




8:00am  Wake up – £0
I’m in so much pain. I grab the painkillers I’ve been prescribed and read the instructions before taking a couple. My teeth hurt. My jaw aches. This is not how I want to be feeling whilst packing.

10:00am  Check out – £0
After packing up we had one last breakfast at the buffet station before checking out at 10am. 

11am  Airport Transfer – £0
Our transfer is on time – all of these details have been very good – and before we know it, we’re back at the airport.

12:30pm  Burger King – £26 / £13 each
I’m desperate to feel better so go for comfort food in the shape of a Burger King. 

1pm  Duty Free – £18 / £9 each
Just before we board our flight home, we decide to make the most of the cheap booze and end our holiday with something that’s played a big part of it too – gin! A litre of it in fact.

Time for the flight!




Hotel, flights & baggage  – £460.00
Parking and insurance – £70.00
Food and drink – £74.41
Day trips – £45
Tattoo – £50
Teeth – £870




Okay, so the teeth and tattoos were not a plan for this holiday!!! Spent a lot more than I thought but I now have sparkling teeth?!! And we have matching drunken tattoos of the backwards Turkish flag? That’s true relationship bonding there!!

I’m glad we got away but I wouldn’t go back to the hotel again. It was just too big for us and too many people about. I’m looking forward to when we can go back to Asia and travel like locals!


There’s a real mixed bag of experiences about getting your teeth done abroad so do make sure you thoroughly research before making plans of your own.


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