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?!
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An hour’s drive from Diamond Beach, we stayed in the fishing town of Höfn in a place called Apotek Guesthouse.
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.
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 🤣
When we set out on our 6 nights for £600 trip around the ring road of Iceland, I didn’t expect that there would be one day where we’d only spend £3.54!
Who said Iceland had to be pricey, eh?
The great thing about Iceland is the fact that the nature is free.
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First things first, if you’re not sure what this challenge is all about, catch up on all the details and day one here, and days two and three here!
First of all, we visited the incredibly impressive Seljalandsfoss Waterfall where we tried our best to get a shot a little different to the queuing tourists.
Whilst you normally have to pay for parking (700 kroner – around £4.40), some kind soul passed us their ticket. Thanks pal. However, James obviously saw this as a free pass to get a coffee for £3.54.
DOES HE NOT KNOW WE’RE ON A BUDGET?!
On the way to our next stop, we passed the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano, famous due to the ash cloud that halted flights all around the world back in 2010.
As we pulled into the car park at Skógafoss Waterfall, we enjoyed the cold pizza I’d cooked up that morning. Knowing that we wouldn’t have a freezer at our next accommodation, I refused to let any of our food shop go to waste – and who doesn’t like cold pizza, eh?!
With the weather being incredibly fickle, we decided to leave the 1 hour 15 minute trek each way – and boy were we glad when we saw the black clouds roll in twenty minutes later!
Instead, we carried on to Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach where we had a lot of fun watching tourists get engulfed by the waves. However, do be careful on this beach! There are deadly sneaker waves that have even been known to claim lives so be careful and stay away from the water.
More than any other place we stopped, this beach was a tourist haven. Whilst looking out to sea you may have a clear view, the sands were littered with people lining up to get a photo. It was one of those moments that made me feel a tad uncomfortable and question why we were all really there.
Was it all just for the gram?
But one photo I didn’t see many people getting was this gorgeous, Wes Anderson like church just minutes from the beach. I fell in love with it!
It was genuinely one of the most incredible scenes I’ve ever witnessed – and with temperatures dipping below zero and the light disappearing into the night, we shared the beach with only around 10 other people.
A definite stop you have to do!
So, at the end of the day, how was our budget looking?
Total daily spends = £3.54 each Money left over = £332.38 each
This time, it was all about looking ahead to September for some great value weekend breaks.
For most of these deals, I’ve used a website called Cheeky Weekend which has been a REVELATION to me as someone who loves a trip that only takes up a single day of annual leave. But I’ll talk more about that at the end.
London Stansted to Gothenburg Fri 27th Sep – Sun 29th Sep Ryanair £38
Gothenburg is Sweden’s second city, and a brilliant way to experience a bit of Scandi bliss without having to fork out an arm and a leg (we’re looking at you, Norway).
Average September temperature – 17 degrees
Pint of beer – £5.79
Three course meal for 2 at mid range restaurant – £55.70
Having been for a weekend break this year myself, I’d put the prices just a tad more expensive than London but there are plenty of options to choose from if you’re wanting to stick to a budget.
Airbnb 2 nights £109.50 each (you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)
This gorgeous Airbnb is close to the hip area of Haga which is full of cool bars, restaurants and shops. Plus, it has a cute balcony! Winner.
Total = £147.50 per person
Check out what I got up to on my weekend trip to Gothenburg back in January!
FROM MANCHESTER AND EDINBURGH
Manchester to Brussels South Charleroi Fri 27th Sep – Mon 30th Sep Ryanair £30
You can also depart at 0750 on the Friday for just £42 return, or from Edinburgh between Thurs 19th – Mon 22nd Sep for just £39 return as well.
Now look. This isn’t Brussel’s main airport but if you don’t fancy stumping up £133 for a return to its International hub, then this is the one for you. There’s a shuttle bus that departs every half hour that costs £13 each way, and takes an hour to get into the city, and there’s even more cost effective options if you wanted to head straight to Bruges or Ghent.
Oh, that was a spoiler for what I’ve got planned…
Whilst Brussels may not be the sexiest of destinations, the great thing about it is its quick and easy connections to other parts of the country, and so why not make this a tri-city break and hit up the picturesque cities of Ghent and Bruges as well?
Average August temperature – 20 degrees
Pint of beer – £3.75
Three course meal for 2 at mid range restaurant – £56.22
Airbnb 3 nights £59.50 each (you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)
If you want to keep the price down once you’re actually there, then I definitely recommend taking a look into Poland.
Total = £119.50 each
FROM DONCASTER SHEFFIELD
Doncaster Sheffiled to Vilnius Fri 20th Sep – Mon 23rd Sep Wizzair £61
Lithuania’s capital is becoming a really exciting destination. Whilst it may be compact, it has the largest medieval old town in central and eastern Europe. Expect fairytale style buildings and a bustling cafe culture.
Plus, it’s pretty damn cheap.
Average September temperature – 17 degrees
Pint of beer – £2.81
Three course meal for 2 at mid range restaurant – £32.80
Airbnb 3 nights Self check in (good for that early morning arrival!) £67 each (you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)
Total = £128 each
How to find your own weekend bargains
As I mentioned, a few of these deals were found using a new website called Cheeky Weekend that’s been set up by two travel mad mates. I’m a big fan of supporting new startups and this is such an easy way to discover what weekend getaways are available in your price range.
The site currently works for departures from London, Belfast, Bristol, Dublin, Edinburgh and Manchester (there’s more to come!) and my favourite things is that you can set what time you’re able to sneak away from work at on a Friday.
The lads have a totally free version of the site available if you’re looking to getaway in the next 4 weeks.
There is a subscription fee (around £2 a month) if you’d like to unlock trips up to the next 6 months, but my recommendation would be to see how you fare with the free site first.
If you do want to sign up, you can get a 25% off your membership by using the code HOWMANYHOLIDAYS (I emailed Dave the CEO asking if he could give us a discount – CHEEKY). Since Dave’s a right gem, he’s set it up so that I will get a little kickback from this, but again, give the free site a go first before commiting to spend any money.
WE GOTTA KEEP IT SAVVY, GUYS.
If you want more cheap travel tips, give us a follow on Instagram or check out my YouTube.
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!
A LOAD of you asked about Tuscany this week and so I hope this helps a few of you tick the Italian countryside off your bucket list.
There are two airport options if you fancy visiting Tuscany – Florence or Pisa. And whilst the former may be the region’s capital, you’re going to be hard pressed to find cheap and direct flights outside of London.
FGS FLORENCE, YOU BOUJIE MADAME.
Therefore, we’re going to be taking a look at Pisa which is much more satisfactory on the ol’ pocket.
Manchester to Pisa Thurs 17th Oct – Tues 22nd Oct easyJet £69 each
If you often fly Ryanair, you’ll be pleased to hear that easyJet still allow you to wheel on a cabin case which I think is more than big enough for this 5 night getaway! You can find out more about their luggage allowance here.
Before we crack on with accommodation, we’ll need to find something to get us around once we land in Pisa.
Flights from Gatwick and Heathrow to Rhodes and Crete were coming in a little pricey (okay A LOT PRICEY) and so I’m gonna throw a curveball in here.
Kefalonia is an island just west of mainland Greece, so sure, not quite the Southern Greece that was requested, but just have a quick peruse of #Kefalonia on Instagram and I’m sure you’ll be satisfied!
The great thing about Kefalonia is that not only are there some great flight options, but the accommodation is so, damn cheap too.
London Gatwick – Argostoli Kefalonia Sat 5th Oct – Sat 12th Oct Norwegian – 1 cabin bag plus 1 personal item £101 each (pssst you can fly for just £54 return later in the month!)
There are loads of great options but I personally loved not only the price, but the view from the terrace here. What a dream!
If you’re looking for a bigger group, I also recommend taking a look at Unique Kefalonia who have got some outrageous villas for amazing prices. I kept seeing the same properties on Airbnb but for so much more!
Since you’ll also need a car, I’ve chucked that price in here too.
Flights – £101 each Car hire – £25 each Accommodation – £221.50 each
Total = £347.50 each for 7 nights in Kefalonia
That’s it for this week’s holiday hotline!
Again, I was totally overwhelmed by the amount of requests and so please do accept my most sincere apologies for not getting to you. I will do my best to work through all the responses this week so that if I can steer you in the right direction, I will!
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.
SEE YOU 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 😂
If you follow me over on YouTube, you may have noticed that I’ve been a little quiet on the whole vlogging front.
The truth is, life and work have just got in the way the past couple of months and since holidays aren’t my full time thing (I squeeze in all of this when I can!), I’m trying to accept that sometimes that’s just the way it is.
However, on the back of a mad work trip that saw me riding a roller coaster with a mic duct taped to my hand (see below), I decided to use my free half day in Helsinki to give you an update, and show you what there is to do if you’ve got a few hours spare in Finland’s capital.
It’s time for this week’s holiday hotline where I ask you to submit your requests via Instagram and I go on a search for you.
If you’re not following me already, head on over and you can be part of the next one!
Right, let’s get cracking!
THE REQUEST: Cyprus at the end of September
Cyprus has 4 international airports but for the UK crowd, your best bets are Paphos and Larnaca but coming in at almost half the price at the end of September, is the latter!
London Luton to Larnaca, Cyprus Tues 24th Sep – Tues 8th Oct £75 return
Cheap flights also available Thurs 26th Sep – Thurs 10th Oct for £80.
As you’re going for 2 weeks, I’d deffo use this as an opportunity to stay in a few different types of accommodation. I tend to start a little cheaper and then towards the end of the holiday, treat myself to a LUSH hotel. It gives you something to look forward before you go home!
So, let’s take a look at some different types of accommodation.
Airbnb £50.85 a night – £356 a week (you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)
Located in the beautiful village of Bellapais, there’s ancient buildings, sights for daaaaysss and also, you’re only a 4 mile drive from North Cyprus’ coast.
I am full on obsessed with place and have taken to visiting it online once a week. It’s adults only, on a vineyard and brags an amazing restaurant. Plus, at just £90 a night in October I think it’s great value for something a little bit more special.
What with the to-ing and fro-ing, a car will need to be hired too!
THE REQUEST: Long weekend in Europe in late Aug/early Sep
Hot and sunny
Hannah likes exploring, her boyf likes relaxing!
How about… MILAN! Not only are there cheap flights all the tiiiimme, you can combine an explore around the city with a couple of day up at Lake Como which only takes an hour to get to by train – and is as cheap as €4,80!
London to Milan Thurs 29th Aug to Mon 2nd Sep From £66 return
Okay, I’m thinking a jaunt up to Lake Como for some chill time first I personally prefer to stay at a hotel on the last night as it means you can easily leave your things at the front desk if you decide to take the later flight home.
So, let’s look at Lake Como.
There are lots of options all around the lake but for ease, I’d take a look at Airbnbs around the town of Como itself for easy access from the train, and a central starting spot for exploring.
Airbnb Thurs 29th Aug – Sat 31st Aug £119 a night – £238 total (you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)
Next, we’re heading back to Milan and let’s think HOTELS.
Enterprise Hotel Design & Boutique Sat 31st Aug to Mon 2nd Sep 4 star spa hotel £92.50 a night – £185 total
THE REQUEST: Chill Croatia break in early October
CHECK OUT THESE CHEAP ASS FLIGHTS TO PULA:
London to Pula Weds 2nd Oct to Weds 9th Oct £30 return
Having flown into Pula recently for a little ‘chilled’ break myself, I know that there are plenty of places within an hour’s drive to choose from. I stayed in Rabac which was a cute resort town (though perhaps a little too resorty for me) so instead, we’re going to take a look at Rovinj which is a 40 min drive from the airport.
Yet again, I’m gonna mix up a cheaper Airbnb and then end off the stay in a LUSH hotel (that again, I visit often online).
Airbnb Weds 2nd Oct – Mon 7th Oct £50.20 a night – £251 total (you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)
Hotel Lone Mon 7th Oct – Weds 9th Oct Breakfast included £136 a night – £272 total
Flights – £30 each Car hire – £16.50 each Airbnb – £125.50 each Hotel – £136 each
Total = £308 each
That’s it for this week’s holiday hotline. If I didn’t get you then I’m SO SORRY but blimey, there was a lot of you to get through and I hope I can help you out in the future.
If you fancy being involved with the next one, make sure you’re following on Instagram and checking on my stories.
That’s it for this week’s holiday hotline. If I didn’t get you then I’m so sorry – I hope I can help you out in the future!
If you fancy being involved with the next one, make sure you’re following on Instagram and checking 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… Haha!
With schools breaking up this week, it really does feel that summer is finally upon us. And for those of us who are yet to firm up those summer getaways, it can often feel like we’ve left it too late.
OR HAVE WE?!
I’ve taken a look at where you can still book from all over the UK for a 7 night getaway for under £300 per person.
London, with its wide array of airports, has more cheap options than other UK locations but I’ve gone with this flight to Split in Croatia.
London to Split, Croatia Tues 16th July – Tues 23rd July £80 return
As Croatia’s second city, Split has a lot to offer. Bars, restaurants, Roman ruins and endless spans of turquoise sea. There’s also plenty of beaches within easy distance of the city centre so if you’re looking for a more traditional summer getaway, this could be the one for you.
Average July temperature – 31 degrees
Pint of beer – £2.19 Three course meal for 2 at mid range restaurant – £30.99 Cappuccino – £1.83 One way ticket on local transport – £1.34
Airbnb £58.29 a night – £408 total (you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)
Total = £279 per person
FROM LIVERPOOL OR ABERDEEN
The great thing about the next destination is that so many airports fly there, but here’s two flights that I thought were a great price!
Aberdeen to Gdansk, Poland Sat 24th Aug to Sat 31st Aug £87 return
Liverpool to Gdansk, Poland Weds 21st Aug to Weds 28th Aug £102 return
Now, you may think ‘Poland? That’s not a summer destination’ but THINK AGAIN. Not only does Gdansk feature a beautiful old town with numerous places to eat and drink, but it’s also a quick train away from the beach leading up to the seadside town of Sopot.
I’ve visited Gdansk twice before – both in temperatures a little bit nippy – but I can only imagine how fun this city would be in the sunshine. When I was there in March there was a lot of redevelopment happening and so I only expect this destination to keep growing and growing!
The city isn’t huge, so I’d definitely pair it with some time in both Sopot and Gydnia which make up the Tri-City metropolitan area.
Lastly, no one can argue with these prices – and what’s better than a holiday where you’re not constantly worrying about your purse strings?
Average August temperature – 22 degrees
Pint of beer – £1.68 Three course meal for 2 at mid range restaurant – £21.06 Cappuccino – £1.90 One way ticket on local transport – 67p
Budapest has something for everyone – from dramatic history and flamboyant architecture to healing thermal waters and a nightlife that is unrivalled in Eastern and Central Europe.As so wonderfully summarised by Lonely Planet.
And if you fancied getting out of the city a little, you could even get the 1 hour 40 mins train to Lake Balaton which is a major holiday destination with its beaches, volcanic hills, resort towns and high-rise hotels.
Average August temperature – 28 degrees
Pint of beer – £1.24 Three course meal for 2 at mid range restaurant – £27.50 Cappuccino – £1.27 One way ticket on local transport – 96p
The good news is that there are plenty of Airbnb’s within budget.
Airbnb £52.85 a night – £370 total (you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)
Total = £303 each (okay FINE I’m £3 over but the flights were £25 less last night so use this as a reminder to book soon!)
Yes, we’re looking at London again but for a different purpose – we’re looking at package deals!
FLIGHTS & ACCOMMODATION
London to Gran Canaria, Spain Via ThomasCook.com Mon 22nd July to Mon 29th July
This is your classic holiday getaway – sun, sea and sand. Plus, having 15kg luggage included sure is a perk, and what a deal for £269 per person! And for just £24 more, you could get a room with a side view of the sea.
Average July temperature – 22 degrees
Pint of beer – £1.12 Three course meal for 2 at mid range restaurant – £31.41 Cappuccino – £1.12 One way ticket on local transport – £1.26
For our last top destination, we’re going to be taking a look at France. Yes. We’re going that broad.
I find that people often overlook France – perhaps it’s too close to us – but the great thing is that there’s beaches, sunshine, incredible cities and most importantly – WINE.
Yes, the prices will be higher than other destinations on this list but that’s okay, because I’ve got a special trick up my sleeve… But first, let’s talk getting there.
As is often the case with most forms of travel, it is cheaper if you book in advance but given that prices start at £85 each way for staying a week, I quickly found options for very close to that in July.
What’s more, this is a perfect option if you’re travelling as a family, or, if you’re popular, with friends.
Now, here’s where the magic happens. Let me show you how you can get totally FREE accommodation.
Enter side stage: house sitting.
When people – often with pets, or perhaps they have a luscious garden or post to bring in – want to go on holiday, they put their homes up and invite people like you and me to stay for free.
IT’S A TOTAL WIN WIN SITUATION.
I’ve done this twice – once in Paris and once in a multimillion pound home in Germany (it was awful) – and I couldn’t recommend it enough.
Now, you can do this absolutely anywhere across the globe but I’ve mentioned France because house sitting website, Nomador, was originally a French site and so there are so many places to choose from our mate across the channel.
In fact, when I looked before, there were over 889 results coming up when I searched for France this summer!
There are lots of different house sitting websites – Trusted Housesitters, Mind My House and House Carers – but I like Nomador because it has a totally free option that lets you send three messages to owners out for absolutely nothing.
You can see what the home in Paris we stayed in was like here!
And find all my top tips on applying for your own house sit here:
That’s it for this post – I hope this gives you some holiday inspo and remind you that there is STILL TIME to book a cheap getaway this summer!