HOW I BOOK CHEAP EUROPEAN CITY BREAKS

Hello Everyone!

It feels like everyone and their mother has the new years resolution to travel more, which I am all for. I think that travelling and experiences new places, people, food and cultures are not only one of the most fun ways to spend your free time, but really helps you grow as a person and realise that there is so much going on in the world outside the bubble of your own life. I have been at university for the past 3 years, so money has been more tight that it would have been if I had been working full time, but my love for going to new places was still very much at the forefront of my mind. 

So whilst I was at university, I focussed on exploring European cities on a budget. I have managed to go all over the place in the past few years spending less than £250 for flight and hotel each time and less than £200 whilst I'm out there. I realised that a lot of people might not realise how easy it is to go on holiday and travel on the cheap, so today's blog post are some of my tips for getting that bargain holibobs booked and kick start achieving your travel goals for 2019!





BEFORE YOU START:

  1. Be open to where you are going to visit. There are so many beautiful and cheap cities in Europe to visit, but unfortunately, get overlooked for more famous cities (that have a hefty price tag). These cities can be done cheaply (we'll get onto that) but there are some places that you may not have heard of before but are equally as beautiful that are mind-blowingly affordable.
  2. Be open to where you are going to stay. You're really serious about seeing new places? Well unless you are seriously loaded (in which case what are you doing reading this blog post), staying in beautiful hotels all the time is unfortunately unrealistic. I'm not saying you have to stay in somewhere that is of a bad standard, but it is worth remembering that if you are exploring a city, your accommodation essentially only needs to be clean and in a safe location - it's just a place to sleep really. 
  3. Be more flexible about time. I've had some of the best holidays where I've stayed in the city for only 2 or 3 nights, sometimes that's all you need to explore the main points of interest, and you won't be spending as much money!

FLIGHTS:

The main way that I get cheap flights is by SkyScanner. It's not exactly a hidden gem any more, but it surprises me how many people either don't use it, or don't use it to its full potential. As I stated before one of the best ways to get a cheap European city break is to be flexible on location. With Skyscanner, you can broaden your search as wide as you would like in order to find the best deal.

For example, if you had particular dates that you had to take your flight on, you could select those dates, the number of passengers and click 'everywhere'. Skyscanner will then show you the cheapest flights for those dates for every city, starting with the cheapest city to fly to. 

If you are really flexible and can take holiday on a load of different days, but you have a preferred destination, you could type in your destination, the number of passengers, and either select the date as 'Whole Month' if you know the date you want to travel  or 'cheapest month' if you can go at literally any time.

This last option probably won't apply to most people as it's hard to be free at all times, but what you could do, is type in 'cheapest month' as the date and the location as 'everywhere' and voila, the cheapest flights available at that time will be shown to you.

With budget airlines such as Ryanair, they often have cheap seats but get you to pay for other things such as early check-in, and the *privilege* of sitting with the person you booked the ticket with. In my opinion, you don't need any of these extras. I would even argue its easy to pack light and just bring a backpack with the free luggage size if you are just going for 2 or 3 nights.

ACCOMMODATION:

I have three favourite sites for accommodation. First Airbnb. This site is my first love when it comes to booking travel accommodation. I tend to go for private accommodation there and get an apartment, but when saving money, you can get some great deals in a private room in someone's house. You may be a bit apprehensive about this option, whether it's about reliability or the accommodation not appearing as it does in the images, however, there are a couple of things you can do to make sure that you don't get scammed.

Firstly, you can filter down to only show properties listed by a super host. These hosts are experienced and have the Airbnb mark of approval. However, just because a host is not a super host does not mean that you have to discount their property. Check the reviews, I tend to see if they have more than 5- 10 good reviews. If you have any questions, message the lister and grasp a sense of them. There are some beautiful properties on Airbnb, and often, can be in more residential areas, so you really get a feel for what it is like to live in the city.

The second website, is probably more niche as this option is definitely not for everyone, but with hostel world, you can take a look at the best hostels in your city of choice, with the general price in European cities being just £10 - 15 a night.

I understand that this choice may be out of some of your comfort zones, however, if you are desperate to travel and see new places, but are on a budget, this is the perfect way to make your dreams a reality! Plus hostels are an amazing way to make new friends and to talk to so many interesting people that you wouldn't have been able to otherwise.  

WHILE YOU ARE THERE

The first thing I would do is research the general consensus about how expensive a city is before you go. This isn't me telling you not to go to a city because it is deemed more 'expensive', but you definitely need to know this before you go or you'll  find that your money is falling out of your arse. Some of the ways you can keep it cheaper when on a city break:


  1. Make your own food! My boyfriend and I always do this if we've booked somewhere with a kitchen. Yes, you want to enjoy the local cuisine, but you don't need to eat out for every meal of every day if you are going away on a budget. Instead pick one day where you are going to enjoy the locals food but the rest, you can easily cater for yourself.
  2. Look at discounts. Many museums and historical buildings in Europe offer student discount or free/ discounted entry at certain times of day/ days of the week. Take advantage of this and don't pay full price if you don't have to!
  3. Walk or get public transport. Yes, it can be so tempting to just hop in an Uber everywhere but this is pricey AF. Do your research and hop on a tram or bus, or just walk it. I get in about 40,000 steps when im on holiday! It's also a great way to see parts of the city you might have otherwise missed.

I could write about this topic for so long, but  I feel like here are the main points that are super important. Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions - and please let me know if you have any tips for cheap travel your self!

Love, Yasmin

xxxxx

1 comment :

  1. Wonderful tips. You're so right. Smaller cities can be just as interesting to visit, and they can cost a lot less.

    ReplyDelete