Alice-Azania Jarvis: 'My budget trip to Spain is saving me lots of dosh'

In The Red

As you read this, I should be suspended somewhere over Europe, en route to my first overseas holiday in several years. I'll be staying on a farm near Fuenteheridos, Andalusia, and I couldn't be more excited. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago my reasons for choosing the location: I needed somewhere remote, to curb my spending, and Spain is cheaper to get to than most countries. After a financially disastrous Staycation in Cornwall last year, I was determined to go overseas.

And so far, I've yet to regret my decision. True, it hasn't been all plain sailing: there have been the predictable hidden costs (the farm's remoteness may be an attribute, but it has necessitated the use of a hire car; and the flights, while still reasonable-ish weren't quite the sub-£20 bargain I had envisaged). The way things stand, though, there should be no repeat of last year's emergency overdraft extension, made mid-way through a costly day trip to St Ives.

Heck, even my packing has been pain-free. Usually, summer holidays are preceded by extreme drops in levels of self confidence. Bikinis, I squeal (inwardly, I hope), I can't wear them! Shorts? But look at my pasty legs! This year, however, I am approaching my self-image rather more philosophically. Urgh, I thought as I tried on last year's tatty, too-tight, summer gear, you don't look anything like those beach-bag toting Sunday supplement models. And then I realised: it doesn't matter! No one can see you sunbathe when you're camped out on a farm in rural Spain. Given this, I've done not a jot of summer shopping, and my wallet is all the fatter for it.

All of which has left me incredibly freaked out. Why is everything going so well? Even the Great Volcano Disaster has subsided. Things like this just don't go smoothly for me. Trust me. I'm bound to have done something wrong, aren't I?

So concerned am I at this prospect, that I've spent much of the past week attempting to pre-empt my inevitable mistakes. I've even bought an extra toothbrush to pack in advance, so that there's no chance of my leaving it in the bathroom the night before. It's just too good to be true. So, take this as an advanced warning: I may not be here next week. Given how smoothly my plans have gone, it seems almost certain that I'm about to be arrested, stranded or robbed. Or worse: perhaps it will rain. God, I hope it doesn't rain.

a.jarvis@independent.co.uk

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