I love a luxury getaway as much as the next person but for the most part my budget doesn’t allow it. My desire to travel is strong and life is short, so I use a collection of tips and tricks to help me escape on smaller breaks which don’t break the bank.
Hopefully the following information will help you to find ways to make a budget trip a reality.
The first thing I do when planning a trip is draw up or print out a planner. As a family of 4 there are work shifts, school terms, clubs, social commitments and lots of other things to take into consideration, so I mark off dates where we absolutely cannot get away and see what we are left with.
The more dates you have to work with, the more flexible you can be and the easier it is to find deals and prices to suit you.
Now I have an idea of dates, my first stop is flights, and there are a few tools you can use to find cheap flights.
I use Skyscanner because their flight search is so easy to use, it is well known for finding the lowest fares and the results are as flexible as you are, but there are lots of other flight searches available, including Google Flights, Kayak and Expedia.
I choose my departure airport and select “Everywhere” as a destination to get a full list of places and prices available on my dates. I go through the destinations available and choose a few I’d like to visit, but I don’t book yet – there’s more research to be done!
If you’re in Scotland you can also check out my weekly Cheap Flight Tuesday list for return flights from local airports under £50.
Additional charges such as hold luggage and allocated seating are not usually included in the prices shown on budget flight search tools.
Check for the latest travel advice
In the UK the best way to check any restrictions or requirements for travel to any chosen country is by visiting the Government’s Foreign Travel Advice. Here you’ll find information on whether it’s safe to travel, any entry requirements such as visas or vaccinations and information on local laws, customs, crime rates etc.
Find some accommodation
Finding cheap flights is one thing, but it’s no use if you can’t find suitable accommodation. You may find that your destination is very busy and you can’t find somewhere that you’d like to stay, or that what is available is very costly.
It is usually more expensive to stay right where the action is, so consider accommodation which is a little further away. It may be that you can find somewhere nice for less a short walk away or a few extra stops on public transport.
I usually check Trivago first (hotels are my preferred places to stay) and from there double check the prices on other comparison sites like Hotels.com and Booking.com before checking on the actual hotel’s website.
It’s also worth checking Airbnb and Hostelworld as they can have some really nice alternatives and most hostels have private rooms available if you don’t want to share a dorm.
Do a little research
Almost there! The final thing is to do a little more research on things like transport (how you’ll get to and from the airport as well as during your trip) and things to see and do.
I find that YouTube and blogs are a great resource for information from people who have already visited, along with TripAdvisor. Travel blogs (obviously!) are also great for advice, try to find some that you relate to such as family, solo, or couple travel, or those who focus on accessible or low-cost or LGBTQ+ friendly destinations. Find your tribe!
Time is of the essence as flights and accommodation can change in price rapidly. Depending on the tool you have used to find your flights, you may have a few options as to who to purchase them through. It can be cheaper to book through a third party like Kiwi, BudgetAir or Trip than through the actual airline (Skyscanner will tell you which has the cheapest fare).
Another option is to take a look at sites such as Quidco or Topcashback to see if you can earn cashback. By checking these sites for hotels too you can save a reasonable amount for future trips. Just remember that cashback is paid after you have travelled and is not guaranteed, so I always go for the upfront saving where it works out best.
I hope some of my tips have been helpful. If you have any advice you’d like to share please leave a comment, it would be great to find more suggestions!
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