This year I’ve traveled more than ever before and all for bargain prices. I don’t mean to brag, but I’ve bagged four days in New York for £550, including flights and hotel, and a trip to Croatia for another four days for under £100 for both flights and an apartment. Next week, I’m heading for a £150 five day break to Rome and the week after to Cologne for three days. The cost for that break? Just £53 in total, with flights costing £9.99 each way. As a result, I’m frequently asked how I get such bargain breaks abroad, so I wanted to share some tips with you today:
1. Ryanair is your friend
I know everyone recommends SkyScanner for searching flights, but I personally find that it doesn’t actually show you the best bargains. Ryanair is the best place to go, although I always also check EasyJet as they fly to slightly different locations. I frequently browse Ryanair’s website for deals and this is how I bagged some £9.99 flights to Cologne. Use ‘Fare Finder‘ if you aren’t fussy on location to browse the best deals across the world. Don’t forget to change your departure airport to see if there are any cheaper flights – I find that Leeds or Manchester can sometimes be cheaper than London, even with a train factored in.
2. Avoid package deals
Sometimes a package deal is best, but I personally find this rare. Therefore I always book the flights and hotel separately. I love Hotels.com for cheap accommodation, including hostels, apartments and hotels. If you sign up to the newsletter, they send you lots of secret deals and tempting discounts; it’s really useful but also very dangerous! Best of all, they have a great loyalty program where after ten nights, you get one night’s stay absolutely free. It may seem like a lot, but these quickly stack up and a free night is a free night!
3. Don’t forget transport
When budgeting, always remember to factor in how you will get to the flight. It’s all very well finding a £20 flight but not if getting to the airport will cost you a £50 taxi as it’s in the middle of the night. During all my breaks, I’ve made the most of public transport in the city and if you can follow the tube in London, you can probably get the hang of any other city’s transport system. I like to buy a travel pass, for example a ten-trip ticket in Paris cost me around 14 Euros. It’s better value and means that I don’t need to worry about finding somewhere to buy a ticket for every single trip.
4. Check for local deals
Did you know that on the first Sunday of the month many European cities offer free entry to their famous landmarks? You can get into the Musee d’Orsay or the Louvre for free in Paris and the Colosseum in Rome, just because of the date. If you are a student or in your early twenties like me, it’s also worth checking out the deals for young adults. The Louvre is free for under 25s from Europe if you show your passport and even the Plitvice Lakes in Croatia offered a student discount.
How do you bag a bargain holiday – do you have any of your own tips? Which cheap city breaks would you recommend?