cheap christmas market weekends that are STILL available from all over the UK

How is it the end of November already?

And HOW do I not have a European Christmas Market trip not booked in yet?

Madness.

Let’s see what we can rustle up for some last minute cheap weekend trips away this December.

Either scroll on through or click on the trips that interest you:

All prices are based on flights and two people sharing a room.


TOULOUSE

from £59.50pp for 2 nights

Set in their impressive Place du Capitole, expect the traditional style huts bearing the customary toys, candles and local woodcrafts.

FLIGHTS

London – Toulouse
Fri 6th Dec – Sun 8th Dec – from £24 return

You can also fly from Bristol for £64 return

Psst – There’s also flights from London between 13th – 15th for only £44 return

ACCOMMODATION

At just £67.50 a night for a well rated 4 star hotel, Hôtel de Brienne is a great shout!

Want cheaper? The Aparthotel Adagio across the river is just £35.50 a night or this cute Airbnb works out at £50 a night.

Remember, if you haven’t used Airbnb before you can get money off your first stay here!


POZNAN

from £107.49pp for 3 nights

Listed as this year’s 6th best European Christmas market, Poznan ticks all the boxes for a magical festive experience but also if you’re there on the 7th and 8th December, you’ll also experience their amazing Ice Festival where sculptors come together to compete in the streets!

FLIGHTS

London to Poznan
Fri 6th Dec – Mon 9th Dec – from £66 return

Yes, the flights are EARLY (the evening flight with Ryanair costs A LOT more!) but think of how much festive cheer you can cram in? I’ve gone for the return on the Monday morning as it allows you more time to explore the city but you can return early on the Sunday for just £46 return.

ACCOMMODATION

This super central Airbnb works out at just £36.67 a night.

Travelling as mates? This twin bed studio will only cost you £35 a night and if you don’t mind the 40 min walk central, this modern studio is only £27.66 a night!

Remember, if you haven’t used Airbnb before you can get money off your first stay here!


BRUSSELS

from £106.50pp for 2 nights

Another from the top ten Christmas Markets is Brussels! Their ‘Winter Wonders’ gets 2.5 million visitors a year and has markets, an ice rink and a huge Christmas tree in the square.

FLIGHTS

Edinburgh to Brussels
Fri 13th Dec – Sun 15th Dec – from £62 return.

Though you can fly into and out of the main airport for just £67 return.

You can also fly direct from London from £127 and from Manchester from £176 return.

ACCOMMODATION

Currently under offer thanks to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this 4 star hotel – The President Brussels Hotel – has rooms from just £72.86 a night.

Plus, it’s just a 20 min walk from the Christmas markets!

Top Tip: Be sure to click on ‘rooms’ rather than ‘packages’ to get this deal.

Want to stay somewhere cheaper? A private room woth ensuite in Hostel Galia is £56 a night and this simple £44.50 a night Airbnb is a 40 min walk or a 15 min public transport journey away from the markets.

Remember, if you haven’t used Airbnb before you can get money off your first stay here!


BASEL

from £158pp for 2 nights

Okay, it may not be the cheapest once you’re there but if you’re gagging to see some snow, you’re not too far from the Alps here! Placing #15 on the best Christmas Markets, Basel is known as the Switzerland’s biggest and most beautiful Christmas city.

FLIGHTS

Manchester to Basel
Fri 6th Dec – Sun 8th Dec – £78 return

What great timed flights!

There’s also some great times from London for £97 return.

ACCOMMODATION

Top tip: You get a free Baselcard when you check in to a hotel in Basel which offers discounts on local attractions. More importantly it also gives you unlimited public transport in the city and to the airport as well. If your hotel reservation is marked ‘mobility ticket’, you can use this to travel from the airport to your hotel. More information is here.

Hotel Stücki is a really well rated 3 star hotel that’s a mile from the historic old town where the Christmas festivities take place! For Switzerland it really isn’t bad for £80.90 a night.


SEVILLE

from £78.50pp for 3 nights

With average temperatures in December coming in at 17 degrees, you may think Seville is a bizarre choice yet it was voted amongst the Best Sunny Christmas Markets in Europe and was visitors top market in Spain last year. Expect traditional style markets, an ice rink and delicious food, of course!

FLIGHTS

You can fly Fri – sun from London from £83 return and from Manchester for £122 return but I wanted to shine a light on this amazing deal instead.

Bristol to Seville
Fri 13th Dec – Mon 16th Dec – £20 return

What a bargain!

ACCOMMODATION

Okay stop.

WHY IS SEVILLE SO DAMN CHEAP FOR GORGEOUS HOTELS?

LET’S ALL GO TO SEVILLE.

A room at the 4 star One Shot Palacio Conde de Torrejón 09 (mouthfull or what?) comes in at just £64.66 a night.

Lush.

This cute Airbnb is just £57 a night and if you want to keep it really cheap, this one bedroom Airbnb is only £39 a night (the reviews are amazing, I just think they need better photos!!).


If I’ve helped you out, why not pay back the love by sponsoring me over on Patreon? It costs less than the price of a coffee a month (especially if you like fancy ones!) and means that I get to do more of this.

You can also help me out by following me on Instagram, Twitter and subscribing on YouTube.

And as always – remember to tell me where you end up going so I can holiday vicariously through you all!


I have used some affiliate links throughout this article. They don’t charge you more, but if you book through them you’ll be helping me to continue my cheap travel booking hobbies.

British Airways Flash Sale – Verona and Nice for just £24

Oh yes, two of my favourite words.

Flash sale.

Today, British Airways have announced a flash sale on flights to and from London Gatwick. They’ve got over 200,000 seats up for grabs for £30 or less each way based on a return fare for journeys until 29th March 2020.

So, what have they got on offer?

Nice from £47 return

I cannot think of this place without recalling a VERY OLD episode of BBC’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ where he visiting and repeated the line ‘Nice is nice‘.

Just googled. That episode was on in 1999.

Christ alive.

ANYWAY.

You can find your own deals here, or perhaps some of these work for you?

Click to book!

Verona from £47 return

Home of star crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, Verona holds many charms beyond its links to Shakespeare.

You can find your own deals here, or perhaps some of these work for you?

Click to book!

Amsterdam from £52 return

I can’t believe I STILL haven’t been to Amsterdam on holiday and for this price, it’s gonna be hard to say no. In fact… HAND ME MY PURSE.

You can find your own deals here, or perhaps some of these work for you?

Click to book!


There are loads more deals including:

Make sure you book by Tuesday 5th November and as always, let me know where you decide to go!


Like going away for less? Come join me over on Instagram, YouTube and Twitter for even more cheap holiday tips, tricks and travel hacks.

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holiday hotline – cheap christmas markets, 4 star berlin hotels, £26 Kiev flights and cheap mini-moons to Naples

It’s time for the latest holiday hotline – a weekly affair where I go in search for the best bargains out there for you.

If you want to be involved in the next one, make sure you’re following me over on Instagram where I post the request on my story!

But less about future hotlines, more about this one!

ONWARDS!


THE REQUEST: Christmas Market Weekend Getaway

From: London
To: Anywhere
When: December
People: 2

Coming in at number 6 on the ‘Best Christmas Markets in Europe‘ list is Poznań  in Poland.

Not heard of it?

Don’t worry. All you need to know is that they’ve got a cute af Christmas market in their old market square and the average pint of beer costs £1.68.

SOLD.

FLIGHT

London to Poznań 
Fri 13th – Sun 15th Dec
Ryanair – small hand luggage only
From £46

Though I much prefer the timings on this flight which is £81.

ACCOMMODATION

The great thing about Poland is that you can get so much for your money! Check out these two amazing Airbnbs for a starter.

White Apartment
2 nights for £70 total
(Get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)



NEW Apartment
2 nights for £80 total
(Get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

And with cheap Airbnbs also come cheap hotels!

PURO’s range of hotels are always chic and the one in Poznań is no different!

PURO Poznań Stare Miasto
2 nights for £130 total

So, a weekend getaway in a top 10 Christmas Market destination from just £81pp?

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR BBZ?!


THE REQUEST: Boxing Day Flights to Moscow

From: London
To: Moscow
Dates: Leaving 26th Dec and coming back end of Jan
Budget: £200pp
People: 2

FLIGHTS

London to Moscow
Thurs 26th Dec – Thurs 30th Jan
Wizzair – small bag included
From £167 each

You can also fly on Christmas day, returning on the 30th Jan for £138 each.

Please note: you will need a visa to visit Moscow which will cost around £100 and will need to visit their visa centre in either London, Manchester or Edinburgh and allow for at least 20 business days for it to process so do it sooner rather than later! There is also an urgent option but it will cost you a lot more. Here’s the info you need as a British national.


THE REQUEST: Christmas getaway from Manchester

From: Manchester
To: Anywhere
Date: Leaving 24th Dec
Duration: 3-5 nights
Vibes: Fun!

Fun you say?

Well, there’s no place quite as fun as Berlin!

FLIGHTS

Manchester to Berlin
Tues 24th – Sun 29th Dec
Ryanair – small hand luggage only
easyJet – carry on case
£99 each

You can also return on the Saturday for £96 each.

ACCOMMODATION

Amazingly, the hotels are much cheaper than Airbnbs during this period so why not treat yourself?

Here’s my top picks.

Boutique Hotel i31
5 nights for £387 total / £77 a night
Save an extra 5€ with the code 2020DIRECT

Leonardo Hotel Berlin Mitte
5 nights for £320 total / £64 a night

Max Brown Kudaam
5 nights for £417 total / £83 a night
(but you can also book with a more well known site for £479 total)

This is the hotel that James and I stayed at this summer and we loved its cool, boutique vibes and most importantly the AMAZING breakfast place downstairs. The best bit about staying is that you can ring down to reserve a spot and not have to wait in their huge queues!!

However, if you fancy having your own space so that you can properly enjoy a cosy day in on Christmas Day, here’s a cute Airbnb that may suit too!

Berlin Neukölln 
5 nights for £469 total / £94 a night
(Get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)


THE REQUEST: December Trip to Kiev for 2

From: Birmingham/Manchester or London
To: Kiev, Ukraine
When: December
People: 2

FLIGHTS

The cheapest flight I could find was this bad boy:

Manchester to Kiev
Mon 9th – Fri 13th Dec
£26

There’s also this cheap option over a weekend from London.

London to Kiev
Weds 11th – Sun 15th Dec
From £47

There are also options with just Ryanair, or just Wizzair for a couple of pounds more.

ACCOMMODATION

2 Bedroom Apartment
4 nights for £232 total / £58 a night
(Get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

Eco Wood Apartment
4 nights for £186 total / £45 a night
(Get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

THE REQUEST: January mini-moon in Naples

From: Luton or Heathrow
To: Luton
When: 3 nights in January
People: 2

FLIGHTS

London Luton to Naples
Thurs 9th – Sun 12th Jan
easyJet – small carry on included
£65 each

ACCOMMODATION

First, let’s take a look to see if there are any cute (and romantic??) Airbnbs.

The Little House
3 nights for £192 total
(Get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

BINGO!

HOW CUTE IS THAT?! (And just £64 a night? Yes please!)

I also love the look of this place for £63 a night, and this place for just £59 a night!

However, since this is for a mini honeymoon, let’s see if we can also find a great hotel choice.

Artemisia Domus
3 nights for £334 total
Breakfast included

Fancy the best room in the hotel? It’s £165 a night for the King Suite with spa bath!

LUSH.


That’s everything fo this week’s holiday hotline.

Once again, I’m so sorry if I didn’t get to yours this week but make sure you’re following me over on Instagram to get involved with the next one!

If I’ve helped you out, or you fancy getting access to more perks (and more holiday hotlines!) then you can also support me over on Patreon for the price of a really average coffee once a month.

Until next time!


I have used some affiliate links throughout this article. They don’t charge you more, but if you book through them you’ll be helping me to continue my cheap travel booking hobbies. For full transparency, I earn about 10p if you book a flight through a link so… Yeah, I’m rolling in it la!

21 cheap iceland tips that WILL save you money

“Iceland is so expensive”

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’ve heard it all before, but how does that explain how I was able to do 6 nights around the ring road of Iceland for £600? All in?!

I captured all of this on my budget Iceland series but I realised that whilst there were lots of tips, tricks and travel hacks across six videos, there wasn’t one place where they could all hang out.

So here we have it!

And, just to make it even easier, here’s all the tips written in one place for you. Before you scroll down, why not follow me over on Instagram for daily top tips?!

Right, let’s start with things you should do before you get to Iceland.

1. Use Google Flights to find the cheapest flights
Go to Google Flights, pop in your departure and destination and then click on your the date box. This brings up a calendar view which clearly shows you the best days to travel. You can also toggle between how long you want your trip to me at the bottom, and the costs will updated instantly!

2. Search for weekend dates to use less annual leave
Google Flights also has you covered for this, but this time in your search you need to leave the destination blank, click on the dates and find the ‘flexible dates’ option and then select ‘weekend’. You can also select the month you want to travel in too if that’s helpful. Then zoom in on Iceland on the map and voila.

IMPORTANT: Before you go ahead and pay, always put the dates you find into Skyscanner.

9 times out of 10, it will find you a cheaper price.

3. Check local car hire companies
I tend to use Skyscanner to find hire cars yet when looking for Iceland, I realised it wasn’t pulling in any local results. So, after a quick google I found Northbound, an Icelandic broker who were consistently cheaper.

We found a 4×4 for 6 days for just £26 a day.

4. Get a card that lets you spend abroad for free
If your regular bank card charges you for spending abroad, take a look at online banks or top up cards that have no fees and are free and easy to sign up to. We use Monzo but Starling Bank and WeSwap are other good choices.

Iceland is a pretty card friendly place and we only took money out once.

5. Make a meal plan and a shopping list
Do this before you arrive in Iceland and then stick to it when you get to the supermarkets. Be clever with your choices and think about how you could reuse leftovers for future meals.

Here’s what my meal plan looked like beforehand:

Of course, some items changed but having this and then making a shopping list from it really helped keep me on track and meant no food waste!

6. Buy a check in bag
It’s an initial hit of money but you can use that extra space to pack things, like food items and towels that you would have to pay for further down the line. If you’re going with someone, why not share a big case between you?

7. Pack some basics
With that extra space, go around your kitchen before you leave and pack a tupperware box with some basics. I packed some rice, sachets, cutlery, plastic bags, smaller tupperware boxes, loads – it saved me a fortune.

8. Use travel mini pots
Use mini cosmetic pots for things like salt, pepper, sugar, washing up liquid – those items that you only need a little bit of but would really add up if you bought them in full

I bought our from MUJI.

9. Bring a thermos flask
If it’s cold out you will want hot drinks and you could easily spend £4 every single time you fancy a tea or a coffee

Next, let’s chat booking accommodation.

10. Choose the guesthouse over the hotel!
When deciding on hotel versus guesthouse, choose the guesthouse. Icelandic design is pretty minimalistic and so you’re not going to miss out loads by going for the cheaper option. A lot of them are really clean and highly rated – they’re really good value for money.

We stayed at Apotek Guesthouse in Höfn for £63 a night.

11. Choose a place with cooking facilities
Most guesthouses have them (and many hotels do not!) and you’ll save a fortune by making sure to check this out

12. Check Airbnb
Don’t forget Airbnb. We used it to stay in a cute little cabin in the middle of nowhere for £75 a night – and there’s also a lot of guesthouses on there too. However, always google to see if you can book direct as that will usually be cheaper than booking through a third party.

You can get money off your first Airbnb booking if you haven’t used it before!

13. Try House Swapping
We stayed in a ridiculous house on our first two nights thanks to a website called Love Home Swap. We didn’t actually have to swap our house with anyone (you can read the details here with a 25% link off membership) but basically, this place was only £27 a night each.

14. Flip your road trip on its head!
Struggling to find availability? Try turning your road trip on its head. Most people go anti-clockwise but there’s nothing stopping you from doing it the other way around which may free up some rooms for you.

Before we get to the holiday itself, there’s one more thing you should do before you board the plane.

15. Buy alcohol from duty free
Iceland isn’t part of the EU so you should get the cheapest price at the airport, which will be so much cheaper than buying it in Iceland. You don’t need to buy mixers too, you can easily get them at the supermarket.

Arriving in Iceland.

16. Ask for petrol station loyalty cards
When you collect your car hire, ask if they any petrol station membership cards. Northbound found us a car with Lava Rentals and they provided us with a sticker on our keys which got us money off every fill up at that particular petrol station, and a free coffee!

17. Fill up at the cheapest stations in Iceland
If you are a Costco member, bring your card as there’s one 15 mins outside of Reykjavik and it is easily the cheapest place on the entire island. If you’re not a member, there’s a nearby petrol station that does it’s very best to match without the need of a discount card.

It’s called Atlantsolía – Flatahraun.

By the way, when filling up, don’t choose the ‘Fill-Up’ option as the station usually makes a hold of about 200 euros on your card. This hold should be released immediately but it can be delayed so it’s don’t choose it, just in case.

18. Share your parking ticket
If you’re parking at a tourist attraction, look around for people leaving whose ticket may still be valid. Also, why not pass yours on when you’re done too – then you’ll have the gods of karma on your side too!

19. Shop at Bonus, Kronan or Netto
When shopping, the cheapest supermarket is Bonus but Kronan and Netto are well priced too. If your flight arrives later on in the day, Bonus will probably be closed. Don’t worry, just shop at one of the others. You’ll save more money getting it done straightaway versus going out for dinner and waiting for Bonus the next day.

I extensively cover the prices in Netto here:

You can also find a list of our costs written up here.

And some of the costs in Bonus here:

20. Don’t go to the Blue Lagooon
This is a controversial one… I know it looks beautiful but it’s so expensive and there are plenty of other geothermal pools that are either cheaper, or completely free. Here are some! And remember to take your packed towel to get the cheapest rate.

And lastly…

21. Make the most of happy hours
It is possible to go out drinking if you use the happy hours. Your best bets are in Reykjavik or even cheaper, Iceland’s second city Akureyri where it’s possible to find happy hours ranging from 4pm to 10pm where beers are less than a fiver each.

Here’s a great guide on where to go in Akureyri.


If you have any more tips that you want to share – leave a comment below and help your fellow human.

And remember to share this with someone who’d love to go to Iceland but is worried it’s too expensive!


Have I helped you save money on your trip to Iceland? Amazing!

There’s some really easy ways you can say ‘cheers pal’ that don’t even have to cost you a penny.

  • Subscribe to me on YouTube
  • Follow me on Instagram
  • Share this post with a mate or on social media
  • Support me on Patreon (okay FINE, this one may cost you something but there are perks!!)

Cheers pals and see you in the next holiday challenge!

holiday hotline #8 – £116 Krakow trip, Budapest in October, £302 flights to New York and a FAILED group getaway to Amsterdam

If you haven’t heard of the holiday hotline before, it’s something I do over on my Instagram stories where I ask you for what cheap getaway I can help find for you.

As I can only get to a few every week, I’ve decided to include how I go about finding deals so that even if you weren’t picked, there will hopefully be something here to help you with your own booking.

Well, as long as you don’t want a group trip to Amsterdam…

More of that coming up!


THE REQUEST: CHEAP Winter weekend getaway FROM MANCHESTER

From: Manchester
To: Krakow/Finland/Latvia/Slovakia
When: Jan/Feb weekend
People: 2

FLIGHT

Manchester to Krakow
Fri 7th – Sun 9th Feb
Ryanair – small hand luggage only
£84

If you’d like a bigger bag, you can also fly with easyJet and Jet2 for £111 who both allow a carry on case.

Not interested in Manchester? Here’s where else you could fly to that weekend:

London – from £42
Liverpool – from £104
Glasgow – from £136

ACCOMMODATION

As Krakow is so good on the pocket, I always like to make the most of it by staying a lush hotel that I normally couldn’t afford. 


PURO Kraków Kazimierz is that rare partnership of incredible style and incredible value, coming in at just £53.50 a night.

If you book with Hotels.com (who are currently offering the cheapest rate), you’ll also collect 2 nights stay as part of their loyalty programme. Once you’ve collected 10, you’ll get a free reward night!

However, if you’re wanting to keep the budget down, check out this cute little Airbnb instead which is just £32 a night.

You can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!


Between two, that means you could have yourself a cheap getaway from just £116 each!


THE REQUEST: GROUP GETAWAY TO AMSTERDAM

From: Liverpool
To: Amsterdam
When: 14th May
Duration: 4 nights
People: 10
Budget: £300 each

FLIGHTS

Liverpool to Amsterdam
Thurs 14th – Mon 18th May
EasyJet – who still allow small suitcases in hand luggage. Hurrah!
From £59

Note: this price is for 8 travellers – unfortunately you can’t book 10 at a time on Skyscanner though interestingly, this price is cheaper than booking for just 2 people by a few quid!

Top tip: Most airlines will do group bookings and whilst unfortunately it’s for a minimum of 15 for easyJet, it’s definitely worth keeping in mind as most give you the option to confirm the names of all your passengers last minute. This can be slightly more costly than if you booked in advance, but it can really take the stress out of organising big groups.

ACCOMMODATION

Now, I’m a bit nervous about trying to find a place for ten people as Amsterdam is NOTORIOUSLY SPENNY when it comes to places to stay.

This isn’t because it’s a super expensive destination, it’s just really popular and places get booked up fast, thus driving the price up so my biggest tip if you want to visit is book sooner rather than later!

From a quick look on Airbnb, I could see that there was absolutely nothing coming in under budget for a large group.

By thousands of pounds 😬😬😬

Well, apart from this which looked very promising but after clicking through the pictures I stumbled on this:

Do not trust anything that directs you away from Airbnb! This is totally against the rules and I wouldn’t be surprised if this gets pulled sooner or later.

I did find this Airbnb which comes in just over budget but boy, it looks a bit bleak for the money… I mean, where are the windows??!

Anyway, on with the search!

Next, I went over too hometogo which is like the trivago of holiday rentals – it searches loads of different sites including Airbnb, Homeaway and Booking.com, and brings you all the options in one place.

However, that wasn’t bringing up anywhere either!

Definitely me and not a stock image model thinking about how bad I’ve become at finding cheap holidays…

Time for PLAN B!

I’ve headed over to Booking.com’s apartments and what I’m looking for are smaller apartments that are in the same complex.

The only thing I found that could work was Cityden The Garden Amsterdam South – but if you haven’t clocked it from the name, it is 30 minutes from the city by public transport.

For 2 x two bedroom apartments (each has a sofa bed as well), the total cost would be £182.50 per person for 4 nights for ten people.

It looks lovely, but it seems quite far out, doesn’t it?

What about if we tried to find hotel rooms instead?

Just sneaking in – in budget – is the ibis Amsterdam City West. Whilst it’s still not super central, you’re not far from a metro that will get you to the main train station in a couple of minutes.

Selecting 2 x triple rooms and 2 x double rooms comes in at £221.80 a night each for 4 nights for ten people.

As a bargain hunter, I’m still not completely satisfied so my last search will be at the complete opposite that Sarah was looking for.

Hostels.

This time hopping over to hostelworld, where I find Clinknoord. A very well rated hostel in a fairly central location.

A 10 bed dorm with private bathroom for £179.30 each for 4 nights for ten people.

Jesus wept.

I’ve spent about an hour looking and these are genuinely the best deals I can find. So, do I have any final thoughts?

Yes.

Just go somewhere else.

🤣🤣🤣

If there’s one thing I can’t stand is paying a lot of money for something not that good.

Spending just 5 minutes looking at alternative options, I’ve already found flights from Liverpool to Barcelona for £91 and numerous apartments in the centre of the city that easy house 10 people.

See!

£217.20 each

All prices reflect accommodation only and other options:

£169.10 each

£164.74 each

£152.20 each

If you’re adamant that you want to go to Amsterdam – then find the accommodation first. Go to Airbnb and whack in your amount of guests without the dates. Find what you want and then check to see if it’s in budget, and when it’s available.

Then check for flight prices.

I hope that’s been on some help!!!


THE REQUEST: OCTOBER BUDAPEST WEEKEND FOR TWO

From: London
To: Budapest
Dates: 11th – 14th October
People: 2
Budget: £200

FLIGHTS

London to Budapest
Fri 11th – Mon 14th Oct
Wizzair – small hand luggage only
£107

But pssst, you can fly the 12th – 15th from just £53.

Accommodation

Budapest is yet another great city for getting great value out of your hotel, so let’s take a look at that first.

Heading to trivago, it does let me know that the Friday and the Saturday are more expensive than usual, so it may be that Airbnb is the way to go – but let’s see what we can rustle up.

The Malmaison Hotel Andrassy Budapest is extremely well rated and costs £90 a night.

Plus, as the cheapest price is with Hotels.com at the moment, you’d earn yourself 3 nights on their loyalty rewards programme where you get your 11th night for free.

However, I don’t think anything is gonna beat this BEAUTY from Airbnb which costs just £50 a night including fees.

(You can even get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

Check out those high ceilings!

Between the two of you, that brings your three night trip to Budapest in for £182 each.

Okay, time for one more!


THE REQUEST: 50TH BIRTHDAY BREAK IN NEW YORK

From: Manchester
To: New York
Dates: April
Duration: 5 nights
People: 2
Details: 4* – it’s ma birthday innniiitt (okay fine Angela didn’t add that bit)

FLIGHTS

For this, I want to show you a brilliant function that Google Flights has.

As you can see above, once you pop your dates in, you can toggle the duration of the trip at the bottom which will really easily show you the best prices for the month you’re after.

THANK YOU GOOGLE.

So I’m going to go for the trip starting on the 22nd April et voila, a direct fare to New York with Virgin for just £319.

(Shit, people are going to start to realise that my cheap holiday skills aren’t that difficult to grasp… 🤣)

However, whilst Google have done the hard job for us here, they don’t always show the cheapest prices and so my next step is to put the dates into Skyscanner, and this is what comes up.

£302?!! YES PLEASE.

The reason Skyscanner is able to offer this cheaper is because, as you can see above, you’re actually buying from a third party. They are the exact same flights that you could book direct with Virgin, it’s just that these companies often offer discounts to entice you in.

Skyscanner do vet all their third party companies and clearly show how customers rate them.

I’ve used them many times before and have only once had an issue when the price had increased and so they returned my money. In hindsight, I should have known it was going to happen as the fare was half the price of what everyone else was offering 🤣 (god loves a trier!)

Okay, so we’ve got the flight, now onto…

ACCOMMODATION

Now, Angela wants 4* and as someone who’s often cursed the prices of nice hotels in New York, I’m gonna do something a little rogue here…

🎉 CUE PACKAGE HOLIDAY 🎉

Since our flight is with Virgin, it does make me wonder if Virgin Holidays will have a good deal for these dates…

The cheapest deal is at Row Nyc for £912 per person (other sites list it as a 4 star but Virgin use their own rating system).

To work out if that’s a deal, we need to pop to trivago and whack in the same hotel.

Once I click through, I can see that Travel Republic are offering the room for 5 nights for £857 – which once split between two and added to the flight price comes in at £730.50 per person.

FFS VIRGIN HOLIDAYS.

I WAS ROOTING FOR YOU.

WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU.

Goddam you Virgin Holidays.

However, before we call it a day, I want to see if I can find a slightly nicer hotel for Angela.

ANGELA’S 50TH DESERVES MORE THAN A 6.5 RATING OKAY?!

So this time sticking to trivago, I’ve whacked in the dates and used the filters to find us a 4* hotel with at least a 7.5 guest rating.

A Queen Room at the Westgate New York City is coming in at £148 per night on loveholidays (it’s £267 on Booking.com!)

That’s £672 pp in total for the whole holiday.

A double room at Renaissance New York Hotel 57 is £152 a night.

That totals £682 each for 5 nights and a flight.

And finally, this Queen Room at Hotel Indigo Lower East Side New York is just £185 a night if you book through loveholidays.

This hotel is GORGEOUS – check out the photos on Booking.com (in my opinion, they have the best gallery!) and also check out how much more expensive it is if you book with them 👀

This would cost £764.50 each for everything.

Have a great 50th birthday, Angela!


That’s everything fo this week’s holiday hotline.

Once again, I’m so sorry if I didn’t get to yours this week but unfortunately the business of finding the best deals isn’t quick work!

Remember, you can get involved in the next holiday hotline by simply following me over on Instagram and looking out for it on my stories.

Until next time!


I have used some affiliate links throughout this article. They don’t charge you more, but if you book through them you’ll be helping me to continue my cheap travel booking hobbies. For full transparency, I earn about 10p if you book a flight through a link so… Yeah, I’m rolling in it 😂

how to book cheap october sun holidays after the closure of thomas cook

Once a month I join Penny Smith on talkRADIO to chat all things cheap holidays and this time, following the news of Thomas Cook going under, I’ll be sharing where’s still cheap to fly to this October for sunshine.

Before I share my top picks, here’s some general tips to take on board when looking for yourself:

  • Avoid traditional October sun holidays (unless they’re well served by multiple airlines)

Due to Thomas Cook going bust, the demand for these destinations has sky rocketed as people try to rebook holidays and flights have been cancelled. Therefore, I’d actually avoid the usual suspects of The Canary Islands and Turkey as right now, the flights are much more than you’d normally pay.

  • Check Thomas Cook’s destination list to find places that haven’t been affected by their closure

From a quick look at their destination list, I can see that they served a lot of resorts and therefore a warm city break may be a better option this Autumn.

  • If you’re desperate for a traditional destination, check one stop flights

Need to get to Turkey, or got your heart set on the Canaries? Make sure you’ve unclicked ‘direct flights’ as there’s still some deals to be had for flights that have one stop.

  • Or hold off until November

I’ve started to see some less inflated prices start to creep back in November, so there’s always the option to hold off – if you can bear it!

  • Look at other airports in the same area you want to get to

For example, if your holiday to Orlando has fallen through, or prices are just too expensive now, try Miami instead.

Miami is seeing some of the cheapest flights in the next month or so (hello return flights for £255) and being just a 3.5 hour drive from Orlando, it could be a way to do the beach AND the theme parks.

  • Check to see if you’re getting a good deal on your flight

There’s a really easy way check if the flight you’ve found is more expensive than usual by using Google Flights.

Once you’ve selected your flight, it will bring up a bar that shows you where the price sits.

As you can see, Tenerife isn’t looking too cheap this October!

Right, let’s plough on with where I recommend!


Algarve, Portugal

There’s a reason why four million visitors are drawn to the Algarve each year. Be it golden beaches, fresh seafood or a spot of golf, Portugal’s southernmost region has a lot to offer.

What’s the weather going to be like?

Algarve in October
14°C / 25°C
7 hours of sunshine
8 days of rain

At time of posting, the weather forecast until the 10th October is looking LUSH!

Where do I fly into?

Faro airport is well located as you can reach most resorts in the Algarve within an hour. What’s more, seventeen UK airports fly there direct so it’s a great option for everybody!

Any good flight deals this October?

Sat 12th Oct – Fri 18th Oct
London to Faro
From £54

Sun 13th Oct – Thurs 17th Oct
Bristol to Faro
From £101

Mon 21st – Mon 28th Oct
Cardiff to Faro
From £134

Where should I stay?

There are plenty or resorts along the coast for a range of different holiday needs.

If you’re after somewhere with lots to do, try Lagos, Albufeira or Praia da Rocha.

If you’re hoping for more of a chill out, try Tavira, Alvor or Praia da Luz – or just scour Airbnb for a remote villa!

How expensive is it once we’re there?

Average costs in the Algarve
Domestic beer – £1.77
Cappuccino – £1.17
Three course meal for 2 in a mid range restaurant – £26.58
One way local transportation ticket – £3.54

Click here to find out more costs.

Any other tips?

On arriving in Faro, most people go west up the coast but there are also options going East.

Twice, I’ve stayed in the small fishing town of Olhão which, when I told a Portuguese friend they pulled a face and went ‘but nobody goes on holiday there?!’ – which is exactly what we wanted!

Just 25 minutes away from the airport, we absolutely loved the early trips to the fish and fruit markets, buying pasteis de nata from the tiny bakeries and getting a ferry out to the beaches!

Oh, and buying bottles of Mateus for £3 a pop.

I do believe it’s become a bit more of a go to destination since I last went in 2015, but it will still be a lot quieter than the resort towns!


Madrid, Spain

Once known as Barcelona’s ‘boring sibling’, the Spanish capital has upped its game as a food and drink destination with a great arts scene. What’s more, with travellers often opting for other Spanish cities, you’ll find that this capital is more affordable than others across Europe.

What’s the weather going to be like?

Madrid in October
9°C / 21°C
6 hours of sunshine
10 days of rain

However, at time of posting, the weather forecast until the 10th October is looking SO GOOD. Mid twenties and sunny every damn day.

Where do I fly into?

Madrid Barajas International Airport which is 8 miles from the city centre. The airport has buses, trains, taxis and even a metro so getting where you need to be is super easy – and super affordable.

Any good flight deals this October?

So many. Get on Skyscanner and in the dates section, select ‘October’ to see a full range of cheap, cheap prices.

Sat 5th Oct – Sat 12th Oct
London to Madrid
From £54

Tues 22nd – Sun 27th Oct
Birmingham to Madrid
From £58

Weds 16th -Sun 20th Oct
Liverpool to Madrid
From £80

Where should I stay?

Want to hit the city but still get a feel for a late summer break? Search for a hotel with an outdoor pool to allow you to have the best of both worlds!

The H10 Puerta de Alcalá has a gorgeous roof top pool with upcoming rates from £96 a night.

Madrid also has so many great Airbnb options.

Here’s a great place which is still available between 8th – 11th October for just £60 a night!

You can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!

How expensive is it once we’re there?

Average costs in Madrid
Domestic beer – £2.66
Cappuccino – £1.54
Three course meal for 2 in a mid range restaurant – £35.44
One way local transportation ticket – £1.33

Click here to find out more costs.

Any other tips?

Away for a few nights? Why not split your stay between an affordable Airbnb that allows you to splash out on a hotel the last two nights? It’s such a good way to end a holiday!

View this post on Instagram

Lots of fun recording a World Service doc in Madrid this week 🎤👤👂 Unfortunately didn’t get to see too much, but caught enough glimpses to persuade me to revisit in the future🤞 Here’s my thoughts: ✈️ Very cheap flights from the UK (mine were 30€ return booked 3 weeks ago) 🚇 40 min metro into the city centre – and only 3€ on top of your standard fare 💳 10 tickets for the metro work out at just 1,20€ each – very cheap for such an efficient and wide reaching service 🏠 One bed Airbnb apartment, 1 min from Bilbao metro, cost £62 a night and was really nice! Small room in a 3 star hotel was around the same price. 🍤 Great seafood – and great tapas too! So many restaurants to choose between with really affordable prices (shout-out to the lunchtime Menu Del Dia where I got paella, chicken, wine and pudding for 11€!!!) 🍷 Wine on most menus started around 3€ – and I wasn’t intentionally choosing cheap places 😊 Really relaxed vibe – found it more slow paced than Barcelona – and unlike other capital cities, locals are known for their friendliness! 🇪🇸 Speaking English is not a given. At all. But I see this as a perk. I really enjoyed trying out my VERY BASIC Spanish and everyone was so helpful, and we had a right laugh as they tried to teach me new phrases! ☀️ 13 degrees and blue skies in Jan? I will take that!! Have you been to Madrid? What did you reckon? Have my ‘glimpses’ steered me wrong?!! #travel #instatravel #travelgram #wanderlust #citybreak #cheapholiday #budgettravel #europe #madrid #spain #visitspain #visitmadrid #radio #producer #picoftheday

A post shared by Chelsea Dickenson (@howmanyholidays) on


Malta

Brimming with history, explore this archipelago in the central Mediterranean by witnessing its jewel like depths and visiting its numerous fortresses and megalithic temples.

What’s the weather going to be like?

Malta in October
22°C / 25°C
7 hours of sunshine
9 days of rain

Again, at the time of posting, the weather is looking great over the next two weeks!

Where do I fly into?

Malta International Airport. There are express buses and taxis available at the airport to take you wherever you need to go!

Any good flight deals this October?

Sat 19th Oct – Sat 26th Oct
Belfast to Luqa
From £63

Sat 5th Oct – Sat 12th Oct
London to Luqa
From £85

Tues 15th Oct – Tues 22nd Oct
Exeter to Luqa
From £87

Where should I stay?

Malta Uncovered has all the details when it comes to what resorts will work best for you.

The Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz is a gorgeous 5 star hotel with rooms starting at £124 a night, which is great value for such a well rated hotel.

If you’re after something a bit kinder on the purse strings, how about the simple but stylish rooms at 115 The Strand Hotel and Suites? With rooms starting at £56 a night and overlooking the waterfront in popular Sliema, it ticks a lot of boxes for me!

How expensive is it once we’re there?

Average costs in Malta
Domestic beer – £2.21
Cappuccino – £1.77
Three course meal for 2 in a mid range restaurant – £48.73
One way local transportation ticket – £1.33

Click here to find out more costs.

Any other tips?

Every time I look the car hire in Malta is ridiculously cheap.

This is the cost for a week in October. That’s £5.42 a day.

I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY?!

So why not make the most of the cheap prices and explore the whole island?


Found any of this useful? Come say hi over on Instagram where I share top travel tips on the regular.

I even host a weekly holiday hotline where I help find you getaways for less money!


Some of the links on this page are affiliated meaning I might make a small cut if you book using them. It doesn’t make the price more expensive for you, but it does help me run this site! So cheers pal!

vlog 4 | what to see and do on Iceland’s east coast

There was one thing that really stood out as we ventured across Iceland’s East Coast.

The lack of tourists.

Given that many do one or two day trips from Reykjavik that tend to end at Diamond Beach, this shouldn’t really have been a surprise – but we took in the miles and miles of road with nobody else about with wide eyed glee.

Were we finally able to enjoy Iceland without the crowds of tourists and their tripods?

Or were we about to realise why so few travel up the East Coast, especially in winter?!

In this video:

An hour’s drive from Diamond Beach, we stayed in the fishing town of Höfn in a place called Apotek Guesthouse.

As lush as the luxury cabin was that we stayed in our first two nights (for just £27 I might add!), we knew we’d have to turn to Guesthouses sooner or later.

The great news is that whilst they’re pretty basic, they’re clean, comfy and have great amenities. For example, this place had its own private bathroom, great wifi, a communal kitchen for cooking in, a decent COFFEE MACHINE (praise the lord) and also came with continental breakfast.

Not bad for a total of £63 a night.

That night, we had promised ourselves a pint out and about, and after several failed attempts, found the downstairs bar at Otto Matur & Drykkur open with pints costing £7.02.

We started the next day with a breakfast FEAST made up of items we’d bought on the first night and the basic items the guesthouse provided.

Then, we headed off and filled the car for the first time and I was horrified to see it total up to £59.61 total.

We were only got a third of the way around!

My initial budget of £50 each for the entire ring road was starting to look a little ropey…

Aside from stopping off on the side of the road to admire the scenery, our first proper stop of the day was the fishing town of Djúpivogur for a spot of lunch (pasta and soup prepared at the guesthouse).

We then walked down to Eggin í Gleðivík which is an artwork by Sigurður Guðmundsson of 34 huge, granite eggs, each representing a bird that nests in the area.

I enjoyed the walk down the the harbour whilst James remained fairly unimpressed 🤣

Next, we failed epically trying to find the waterfalls of Nykurhylsfoss and Folaldafoss (they were either frozen or closed off from the road), but we did get to sneak a peek at Petra’s Stone Collection in Stöðvarfjörður.

Realising we would miss the supermarkets in our next destination, we stopped off in Eskifjörður to pick up a few food bits, and then proceeded to Egilsstaðir where we were staying that evening.

After a quick pint at Feiti Fíllinn, we finally made our way over to the tiny cabin we’d be staying in that evening.

Given its size, we were really impressed with how much the owners had fit in – there was even a full sized oven! And it was nice to have the place to ourselves for the price of £75 a night.

You can get money off your first Airbnb booking if you haven’t used it before!

When settled, we sat down, ate some food and tried our best to find the Northern Lights for free.

Lots of driving on our fourth full day on the road but the sights from the car are more than enough to keep you entertained!

So, how’s our 6 nights for £600 budget looking?

Total spends in this video = £120.31 each
Amount left = £212.07 each

With three days left to go, do you think we can still bring it all in under budget?!


Catch up on the rest of the road trip:

Day 1Arriving in Iceland, supermarket prices and the 6 nights for £600 challenge
Day 2The Golden Circle and staying in a luxury, designer home for £27 a night
Day 3Waterfalls, glaciers and black sand beaches on Iceland’s stunning south coast