So this week I thought I would share some really simple tips for budget travelling, and how to get the absolute best for your money.
For those who prioritise seeing the world, cost is usually a huge factor, and saving a small percentage on each journey can actually allow you to make a few extra trips per year. If you’re the sort of person who can take a city break for under £200 then you know what I’m talking about.
I’m writing this from the perspective of someone with limited cashflow and limited availability for holidays at work – so if you’re the “Everyman” or “Everywoman” then you’ll probably relate!
So, how do you get really cheap airfare and hotels? Let’s discuss.
Check flight price comparison sites to find the best times to visit places. SkyScanner is great for showing a whole year price breakdown and includes Budget Airlines in their search results. I wouldn’t recommend booking with Skyscanner (their fares are usually outdated) but they can be really useful for making a decision on when to travel somewhere specific – for example you might discover that its far cheaper to travel to Japan in January than it is in April.
IceLolly on the other hand is great for determining the best locations available for your budget and dates, without you specifying a destination. Again, I wouldn’t recommend booking through them, but they are normally a good indicator of where to direct your destination search if you’re not fussy.
Take a Short Trip.
If you’re going anywhere that has a travel time of less than about 4 hours, you can probably get away with going for a “long weekend” – leave Friday and come back Monday.
This will save you money on Hotels, food and drink, too, and you can usually fully enjoy a destination in that amount of time.
Learn to play with dates to maximise the amount of time you get to spend in your location without taking loads of time off work.
For example, you can go to Rome very early on a Friday morning (landing in time to get to Vatican City for the Museum opening) and leave at around 7pm on a Sunday, giving you time to catch Papal Mass if it’s on. The days in between are enough for a pitstop tour.
*Tip* Avoid bank holidays – even though this reduces the time you need off work, flight prices rocket because the airlines know they can charge more, plus there are more people travelling anyway.
Don’t assume it’s cheaper to Fly Budget!
You’d be forgiven for assuming that Ryanair, FlyBe and Easyjet offer the cheapest fares hands down – but take taxes into consideration, you may find the best deals are actually Monarch, Lufthansa or even BA. They often give better destination choice too, so it’s certainly worth checking their websites.
*Tip* Once you’ve browsed any website for flights, clear your cookies – some sites hike the price once they know you’ve checked to spur you in to booking.
Accomodation? Take a risk!
I don’t mean stay on the street. I mean that, if your destination country allows it, go without booking your hotel – or don’t book until the day before you travel.
Trivago and Laterooms offer some spectacular deals if you can hold out until the absolute last moment.
Recently, Mr Kitty & I bagged a central London apartment for £70 which had originally been £420 per night.
*Tip* Wait until after check-in time on the day of your stay to get the best rates. Most hotels will rather take 50% of the room cost than leave it empty for the night.
When travelling with budget airlines its common to get extra charges for checking baggage.
If you can squeeze everything into your hand luggage you can save £20 per person, per flight!
In some instances that’s enough to go on another trip later in the year.
*Tip* Wear your bulky stuff and carry an extra bag inside your bag – once you’re on the aircraft you can space your stuff out.
So, I hope that will help with all your short-haul savings!
I follow these tips consistently and always find I can slot in an extra 1 or 2 weekends abroad per year- a bit of Venice here, a bit of Paris there, perhaps a sprinkel of Bruges!
Where will you go?