I didn’t plan on writing this post but I had a couple of questions on Instagram about it and when I did a poll, 98% of you said you wanted to read it, so your wish is my command. I was worried that this post may come across a bit braggy but what I wanted to do was list ways in which I have used and tried all of, in order to go away as much as possible.
I will start by saying that I am not a millionaire: I am your average girl, with your average job who just wants to see the world one step at a time. I’ve always loved going away from a young age, but it’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve really had the urge to visit as many places as possible and really position myself as a travel blogger.
Today I thought I would round up some tips about how you too can travel either more than you are now or plan some trips to look forward to in the future.
Airlines do the usual discount sales on Black Friday, in summer and the new year, but they also do random ones throughout the year too. Also, I have the Ryanair and EasyJet apps on my phone which both send me push notifications when there is a cheap flight sale on and this can save you a fortune in the long run.
The more you visit these websites means the more they are likely to target you with paid media advertising, either in your browser or on social media, so you are always ahead of the game when the prices drop which can be key to booking somewhere new.
It’s worth searching these websites sporadically as well, and also keeping up to date with travel publications and twitter pages, as these are usually the first to announce when there is a sale on.
This is exactly how me, and my two lovely travel friends, ended up in Eindhoven in April – not having a clue where it was, what there was to do there, or what to expect, but it was one of my favourite trips of the year.
Cheaper airlines such as Ryanair and EasyJet will often fly to the lesser known airports in a city or ones that are a little further one, but this means that you could discover a great new place for a lot cheaper, or somewhere that you had never thought about going before.
There is something to be said for discovering a brand-new place that you never ordinarily would, but another good things that cheaper airlines are good for is to get to a more expensive destination by either splitting your flight between two airports catching your connection by another means of transport.
It may take a little longer this way, but if you time the flights correctly, you can travel later in the night or earlier in the day and make the most of your time in your final destination.
Skyscanner is your best friend when you’re booking trips. It’s probably one of my most viewed websites, and for good reason: Not only can you search the cheapest month to visit a destination, but if you don’t have anywhere in mind, you can set it to search every country in the world.
I never usually book my flights through Skyscanner, but I use it as a search engine to either give me inspiration of where to go, or to do the hard work for me. I will then take the information it has given me and search that airline to find the cheapest day to travel on or what works best in terms of annual leave.
Last year on Skyscanner, I booked our trips to Eindhoven, Croatia and Copenhagen by scratching what was the cheapest month to visit, and then going on the airline’s website to figure out the best days to go.
Skyscanner is also brilliant to book a holiday that has more than one stop, as you can put in your destinations, and it will tell you the best times of year to visit.
On the topic of Skyscanner, another great website that I use a lot is Expedia which lets you book a package deal altogether. Expedia is better for longer-haul holidays, as shorter ones you can usually book separately for a lot cheaper, but it is worth checking if you have a specific destination in mind.
My Mum and I just booked to go to New York on Expedia, and it turned out to be so much cheaper booking it in one go rather than separately: There are options as well to add extras such as breakfast, another bed, or a room upgrade.
It’s worth checking this site on a daily basis if you’re thinking of a particular place as they have daily deals which are really good value but only last for the 24 hours so you need to act fast!
To me, part of being in a foreign country is doing as many things as you can like the locals do, and this means taking public transport. It can be really tempting when you get to a new destination to jump in a taxi for ease, especially if they don’t speak the same language as you, but getting public transport is always a cheaper option.
I would suggest going on the airport’s website or looking at local travel blogs to see the best way of getting into the city centre from the airport and don’t be scared to give it a go.
Most cities in Europe are completely walkable too when you get there, or you can even rent a bike to get around which is a cheaper option. If you do find yourself needing public transport though, you can usually buy a 1-3-day travel ticket which would work perfectly for a weekend trip.
One of my favourite things to do when I’m away is going on a free walking tour. Some of my favourite ones have been in Nuremberg, Bruges and Sardinia and they are really popular with people from all walks of life.
Although they are classed as a free walking tour, it is advised that you tip at the end and everyone usually does as they are really fun and informative.
Walking around a city is the best way to see somewhere new, and if you can do it earlier in your trip then you can get your bearings and visit some of the sights in more detail later on.
I’ve been using booking.com for years now, so much so that I’ve managed to get the status of ‘booking genius’ which means I get 10% off most hotels.
It may take time to get a discount like this, but it always worth booking through the same website If you can because you can reap the rewards later in the day. Most of the time as well, they don’t take the payment until you stay or a few days before the trip meaning you have more time to save.
On the same note, sometimes when visiting a slightly more expensive destination, we have opted to stay in an Air BNB which usually works out to be cheaper and it can be really lovely to stay in someone’s home.
There are many upsides to staying in someone’s home such as your own kitchen, which is perfect if you want to save a bit of money by making meals there, a bigger space to relax in and a good location, but sometimes you need to keep your wits about you and if somewhere seems too good to be true, it probably is – always read the reviews!
I think for us, we are programmed to think that a holiday means spending two weeks on a beach doing absolutely nothing, but you can reach most of Europe in under three hours, so why not spend your weekend doing something completely new and exciting!
Some of my best trips from this year have flown on a Friday afternoon or Saturday morning and come back on a Sunday evening or Monday morning, which means less time out of the office, but still a new place to visit over the weekend.
We’re lucky that the UK is so well connected to the rest of Europe and cheaper airlines fly from all over the country, but we could even get the Eurostar or coach to somewhere new if we fancied, and sometimes this can be a cheaper option too.
I usually try to save a percentage of my wage each month to go away with which is sometimes easy, sometimes hard depending on the time of the year and what social occasions I have going on.
What I tried to do in 2018 was to go away every month, but in order to do this, I have a bit of a system:
1. As much as I love a last-minute getaway, I usually book my trips 2-3 months in advance.
2. I’ll then work out how many paydays I have before the holiday and plan my savings accordingly.
3. For example, if my trip is 3 months away, I will use the first paycheque to pay the amount of the flight back and save half of the money I want to spend there.
4. On the second paycheque, I’ll save the next half of my spending money and some money towards the hotel, which I usually will have an idea of the price by this point.
5. For the third and final paycheque, I will save the remainder of the money I need and give myself a buffer of about £50 which I put on my Monzo card.
This system won’t work for everyone, but it allows me to not have to pay everything off in one go, and to spread the bigger things over a few months, meaning that I can book more trips, but also that I am not out of pocket at all on the run-up to going away.
It’s sometimes easy to opt to stay in the country, especially because the UK is bloody beautiful, but one of the things I’ve found on my travels is that going abroad is usually a lot cheaper than staying put.
Not only can you experience a completely new culture in just a couple of hours, but if you search for your hotel in advance, do a bit of planning of what you want to get up to when you’re there, and take advantage of all the points above, you can definitely go for your trip abroad on the cheap.
There are places I would love to travel to in the next few years, and I like having this in the back of my mind as it helps me to save towards something for the future.
I know that being able to save towards something big is a luxury that some people have, some people haven’t, and I am aware that people want to spend their money in completely different ways. To me, I have switched my mindset of wanting to buy trend-led clothes, expensive makeup and the latest accessories in a bid to spend my money on travelling the world and seeing new places.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to save money to travel or save money towards something else… hell, there’s nothing wrong with not saving money at all, you do you! But to me, experiencing a new culture whilst I am still young and carefree is the most important thing on my mind, which is why I don’t mind spending the money I earn on it.
Think about the money you spend on meals out, a coffee on your commute, a night in town – could that money be better spent elsewhere? It’s only in the past couple of years that my mindset has changed to view the world in this way, but I’m so glad it has as I value experiences over materials so much more.
Each to their own, but as they do say… travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer.
I hope you have enjoyed this post and it’s given you some food for thought about whether you could save a bit of money each month for a trip away, or where to look for the best deals and a few tips and tricks that I like to use when I go on holiday.
If you have anything specific you would like to ask me about budgeting to go away when to book the best deals or what websites to use, then feel free to drop me a message and I will do my best to help you. Happy travelling!