Everyone loves a good bargain and when I travel I like to do it as savvy as possible. Here are my top tips for staying below budget which in the long term means more holidays (yey!!)
Go ‘Off Season’
This works particularly well when you’re looking to go somewhere with attractions. I’m a big child and love the magic of Disneyland Paris. You can do this pretty cheap(ish) if you don’t go in the Summer. I like to go in Oct-Nov time or Feb-March. Not only are the queues significantly shorter but the entrance tickets are ‘off season’ and a good bit cheaper as are the flights and hotels. Don’t forget to check French school holidays though- they’re different to UK and Ireland and you could end up going over a busy bank holiday weekend!
Use Third Party Agents for Attraction Tickets
Any time I’m going somewhere that I know I’ll need tickets I look online first to see if I can save a few bob. For instance with the forementioned Disneyland Paris I usually book my tickets through Attraction Tickets Direct which saves me usually £20-40. Lastminute.com is also quite good for London attractions and theater tickets.
There’s probably more than 1 city that you’d like to visit so if you have some time off coming up or dates in mind, be flexible as to where you’d like to go.
Over the recent Easter break prices were quite high because a lot of people were going to be off work. I checked flights and hotels for 3 different countries I’d like to visit (Barcelona, Rome and Copenhagen) and Barcelona came in a good £50-£100 cheaper so that’s where we went. Try to keep a budget in mind and stick to it- it’s very easy to get carried away!
My go to website for flights is Skyscanner! Not only does it tell you who is flying for cheapest but it allows you to mix and match your airlines to do it for as cheap as possible. The mobile app is really handy and easy to use too and if you check the ‘chart’ visual you can see prices for other dates around the time you want to travel. Sometimes you can save just by moving your dates backwards or forwards by a day.
Hotel Comparison Sites
These are great because not only will you be able to choose your area, price bracket, whether you want breakfast included etc. but you’ll also be able to see where you can book it cheapest. Try Travel Supermarket, Trivago or simply booking.com (not a comparison site but has good deals!). Tripadvisor now has this function so you can see the best rated hotel for the best price. Don’t forget to check directly with the hotel of your choice once you’ve picked it. You never know, they may have an offer on!
Sign up to Newsletters
I’m not saying go crazy, it can be really annoying having an inbox full of tempting holidays when you have no money or time, but selecting a few choice websites can lead to some nice deals that you might not have seen elsewhere. I like Travelzoo.com for their Top 20 list. Voyage Prive and Secret Escapes are a good idea too and their Facebook pages are really popular.Following a holiday I booked with them I now subscribe to that holiday company’s ezine as the offer was just so good!
You won’t find many of these but Lastminute.com usually have 1 or 2 floating around- it’s worth a strategic Google!
Use Your Stat Holidays
If like me you don’t like to waste a good long weekend, see where you can go well in advance and if you can book early enough, you’ll still get a good deal. Any long weekends or standard holidays are usually well booked up in advance in my diary- it saves you having to take unpaid leave which never sounds too bad at the time- how much can one day’s pay really be worth? Trust me, you’ll regret it come end of the month.
You might have some of the world’s most beautiful sights at your doorstep but you don’t visit them. I’m so guilty of this. I’ve been meaning to do a Game of Thrones Tour for ages and I still haven’t gotten round to it. I did a Belfast Bus Tour recently and I had never been half the places it took us- how bad is that?! Keeping it local means you can take your car and stay at local B&Bs- you could do a whole weekend for under £100 no problem.