I love taking a break abroad and I think it’s so important for us all to, as I’ve mentioned in the past in a previous blog post. There’s so many benefits and let’s face it, we all deserve a rest now and again. Of course everybody has different budgets and/or other constraints but it is possible to find some cheap deals out there for breaks abroad, especially to European cities. I’m always looking to book another break away and cross a destination off my list so here are five handy tips I use to take a break on a budget!
- Be flexible
If you aren’t limited to travelling in schools holidays, make the most of it. Especially in Summer, the prices rise so much for the end of July and August because companies know that many families can only travel at this time of year. Be sure to have a look at different times of year to find the cheapest option for you; on most airline sites you can view the flight options in a calendar layout to compare prices across days and weeks. Travelling even just a day earlier or later than planned might save you some money.
2. Shop around
It’s surprising how many people will settle for the first deal they see without comparing it to any others! Whilst comparing might take you a little more time, it’ll save you some money. For city breaks, budget airlines such as Ryanair and EasyJet tend to be the cheapest so it’s wise to compare their prices. When looking at package holidays, work out whether or not it would be cheaper to book it all separately yourself – so book the hotel directly, the flights and the transfer yourself. The only issue here though is you won’t be able to pay in instalments as you can with companies such as Thomas Cook, so again it’s about looking at what’s best for you. Sites such as TripAdvisor will compare the prices of hotels for you across numerous sites so it’s a good idea to make full use of these websites.
3. Do your research
This is a similar point to the one above. By researching I mean look at the countries you have in mind and have a look at how cheap they are once you’re there to eat, drink, use transport and go to the attractions; TripAdvisor forums are quite good for this. You can usually just Google “how cheap is (insert city name)” and quite a few forums and guides will come up. It’s all well and good finding cheap flights and good accommodation but if the city’s prices are well above your budget then that’s no good! I have a list of places I want to visit with my boyfriend but they’re in a rough order of the cheapest ones first (such as Lisbon and Budapest) and then the expensive ones (such as Rome and Stockholm) will have to wait until I have my degree and I’m in full time employment!
4. Save in advance
I’d like to think I’m quite organised when it comes to my money so then I’m never struggling to save up for a trip. Once it’s booked and I know how much I need to save roughly, I work out how much of my wages I need to put aside each month to have enough for the trip – I have a savings account to keep it separate. If you’ve found a great deal but don’t quite have the money for it when you find it, a good idea might be to book the flights and then book a hotel that allows you to pay on arrival with free cancellation up until around the time you arrive, that way you have longer to save up. Just make sure you’d be able to afford saving up for the hotel costs and spending money too. Again, just have a look at what works best for you.
5. Make the most of discounts and deals
Look out for sales on airline sites and also on hotel websites. As a student I have a UNiDAYS account that I use for student discounts and with this account I can get 10% off at Hotels.com which certainly comes in handy if I’m booking quite a few nights away. I’d certainly recommend getting one of these accounts if you’re a student – it’s always good to save some extra £s where you can!
Hopefully you all get the chance to put these tips into practice as we all deserve a break now and then and there’s so many amazing places to see!