Wednesday 8 June 2016

As the holiday blues are still in full swing, I've started planning for my next trips throughout the year. I still have Paris to look forward to in August, but I do like thinking ahead. So I recently booked a trip to Budapest for 3 nights for a grant total of £95 - that's including flights and accommodation. Now for you savvy travellers, these are probably the deals you're used to - if not, keep reading to find out my tips and tricks to get out of the country for cheaper than a weekend with your mates getting pissed in Newcastle. 

1. Try and fly on a Saturday or Tuesday

For anyone who works, the ideal times to travel would obviously be Friday to Sunday/Monday - which is why you should avoid this where possible. The best days to book your flights are either Tuesday and Wednesday because this is when airlines usually publish their sales/discounts. Plus, flying on a Saturday means you can get there and drop your bags and head out on the town for a little boogie. 

2. Use several flight compare sites 

Skyscanner, Kayak and Google Flights are usually the websites I stick to - before it was eDreams but I found that to be pretty crappy. These will show you the cheapest airlines and will look at all airports in the city. If you're okay with travelling unsociable hours, you can probably bag a flight for £30. They also have other features if you're not picky, skyscanner shows you where the cheapest places in Europe are to fly to and the cheapest times of the year. 

3. Booking.com is your best friend

Well it is mine at least. The website has deals on daily, and my favourite part about is for most of them you don't have to pay until you arrive at the hotel - so you can secure accommodation months in advance even if you don't have the money to pay it right now, but at least you have the reservation and set price. It's also easy to use and easily lays out what each hotel and room offers as well as the reviews and places of interest nearby. 

4. Don't mind staying with strangers? 

Then hit up airbnb or couchsurfing. Airbnb has been everywhere lately, and I used it both last year in New York and on a spontaneous weekend trip to Brighton. We booked both the week of the trip and got really good deals. You get to stay right in the centre of the city for affordable prices and you can find some pretty sweet apartments/houses to stay in to - Paris has the most adorable airbnb places to stay in! On the other hand, couchsurfing is completely free. You just need to find a host who's willing to let you stay with them in exchange for well, conversation and friendliness (not to be confused with an escort website). This personally isn't something I'd do on my own, because people can be creepy - but if you're travelling in a group or with someone else and are short on money, this is a good alternative. 

5. Try travelling with hand luggage

This will save you 40 quid and a back ache. Travelling with hand luggage is so much cheaper and makes life way easier, no queuing for bag drop or wasting time waiting for your bags. Unless you're travelling for more than a week, this shouldn't be a problem even for girls who want to bring their whole make-up bag with them (as long as you can fit it into a white clear bag). For more tips on this check out my blog post here on tips for travelling with hand luggage. 

6. Try to make eating out a special occasion 

You've arrived in beautiful Amsterdam - now don't blow your 300 euros in one night. If you read my post on my trip to Ibiza, you'll find we saved a lot of money eating in our apartment or on the go - as most of the restaurant were expensive af, I was not ready to pay 12 euros for croquetas I can make at home (and better) for five euros. Of course, one of the best parts about travelling is the food, so do your research and pick some quirky or interesting restaurants/cafes to eat at whilst you're there on selected nights. 

7. Try and learn bus/train systems so you save on taxis

This obviously depends on where exactly you're going - if you're staying in some dodgy area and you're arriving at 3am, you're best to get a taxi (or uber). But you can save so much money finding out how the city's transport system works - when in New York we paid £15 for a 7 day subway ticket, and that was all the transport we needed. If not, walk! You're in a new place, explore it. 

8. Everyone loves free things

They say the best things in life are free, and the same can go for cities. Pinterest is a great tool for finding places of interest, landmarks and pretty streets that would look great on Instagram in your destination. If you're happy with spending some dollah, search the internet for coupons, bundles and deals. We got to see most of the landmarks and attractions in New York for $100 with a CityPass. 

9. Check peak seasons

Again, depending where you're going - no one wants to book a hotel in Marbella with a pool in February. If you're looking for a city break, you can pretty much go whenever so finding the quieter times will make your trip that much cheaper. Obviously, avoid school holidays and so on. 

10. Consider alternatives 

Flying isn't always the most efficient and cost effective option - I'm still yet to use the Eurostar but it will definitely come in handy at some point, and unlike airports they'll leave you right in the heart of the city - meaning you save on transport too. If you're looking for something reaaally cheap and can withstand sitting on a bus for hours, then there's that too - you can legit get a return trip to Amsterdam for £12. We decided to travel with MegaBus when travelling from Orlando to Miami and it wasn't the most pleasant experience - we were hangover, sat next to the toilet cubicle so the aroma of wee was in the air, and on the way back our bus broke down and was delayed by two hours, but hey it only cost us £20. 

I hope these tips have been somewhat useful, and sometimes it is nice to splurge and live the fabulous life - but if you're like me and don't like to be stuck in one place for more than a few moths, this can make discovering the world a whole lot easier. I'd love to hear in the comments if you have any other tips to share! 

♡ G ♡


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