cheap september 2019 weekend breaks from all over the UK

Once a month, I join the wonderful Penny Smith on talkRADIO to share some holiday bargains.

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.


FROM LONDON

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
  • Cappuccino – £3.19
  • One way ticket on local transport – £2.44
  • For more prices, check out Numbeo!

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
  • Cappuccino – £2.84
  • One way ticket on local transport – £1.97
  • For more prices, check out Numbeo!

As we’re staying just one night in each place, let’s keep it simple and stick to hotels.

Fri 27th Sep – Brussels

Bedford Hotel & Congress Centre
3 star – 8.0 rating on Hotels.com
£57 a night / £28.50 each

Fancy a four star? Treat yourself to the highly reviewed Novotel Brussels City Centre for £41.50 each.

Sat 28th Sep – Ghent/Gent

Next stop on our trip is the idyllic city of Ghent. A place that always holds a special place in my heart after I visited as a 16 year old with my woodwind band. Yes, you read that right!!

Train from Brussels to Gent-Sint-Pieters
29 mins
£10.86

Hotel NH Gent Sint Pieters
4 star – 7.4 rating on Hotels.com
£106 a night / £53 each

Not far from the main train station, this hotel will allow you to easily drop off your bags before you head in further to explore.

The ibis Gent Centrum Opera is also pretty basic, but at £83 a night, it may work better for your budget!

Sun 29th Sep – Ghent

Next, we’re heading to the medieval town of Bruges.

Train from Gent-Sint-Pieters to Brugge
25 mins
£8.49

Whilst Brussels is more of a business destination (hence the well priced Friday night rooms), Bruges is a well known gorgeous getaway so the rooms can get pretty pricey over the weekend.

That’s why I’ve decided to put our stay on a Sunday night, when most are getting ready to go back to work.

For example, the following hotel would have cost £169 the night before!

Martin’s Brugge
3 star – 8.6 rating on Hotels.com
£80.35 / £40.18 each

There is a cheaper room, but I’ve gone for the Charming Double with bath which looks lush!

Want to go FANCY? Stay at the 5 star Hotel Duke’s Palace for just £77.55 a night each (it was £484 a room on the Saturday evening!)

Mon 30th Sep – Brussels

Enjoy the morning in Bruges before heading back to Brussels ahead of your flight home.

Train from Bruges to Brussels
59 mins
£15.89

What an action packed weekend! And here’s how much it would all cost:

Flight – £30
Return shuttle bus – £26
Trains – £35.24
Hotels – £121.68

Total = £212.92 each


FROM BRISTOL
AND LONDON

Bristol to Cologne
Fri 6th Sep – Sun 8th Sep
Ryanair
£76

Dramatic medieval architecture and numerous beer halls – what more could you want for a weekend getaway?

You can also fly the same dates from London Stansted for just £36!

  • Average August temperature – 20 degrees
  • Pint of beer – £3.28
  • Three course meal for 2 at mid range restaurant – £46.85
  • Cappuccino – £2.37
  • One way ticket on local transport – £2.72
  • For more prices, check out Numbeo!

art’otel Cologne
4 star – 8.6 rating on Booking.com
£86 each

Total = £162 per person
(or just £122 from London!)


FROM BELFAST
AND GLASGOW

Belfast to Wroclaw
Fri 20th Sep – Mon 23rd Sep
Ryanair
£60

You can also fly from Glasgow for the same dates for £85 return.

Whilst the flights may be more than the others, you can more than make up for it with the price of the accommodation.

What’s more, Wroclaw is a brilliant destination for a city break. Like most of Poland, your money will go far and what’s better than a holiday where you can eat our breakfast, lunch and dinner?

  • Average September temperature – 20 degrees
  • Pint of beer – £1.72
  • Three course meal for 2 at mid range restaurant – £23.67
  • Cappuccino – £1.92
  • One way ticket on local transport – 73p
  • For more prices, check out Numbeo!

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
  • Cappuccino – £2.05
  • One way ticket on local transport – 94p
  • For more prices, check out Numbeo!

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!

holiday hotline #7 – stylish Tuscany, the cheapest Four Seasons hotel, UK cabins with hot tubs & a 7 night Greek island stay for under £350

Welcome to this week’s holiday hotline which – totally unintentionally – has become a bit of an ‘October Special’.

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 chap getaway I can help find for you.

If you’re not following already, then come say hiya and get involved!

Let’s get on with it, shall we?

Feel free to skip straight to the holiday you’re interested in by clicking below:

THE REQUEST: Cheap but stylish Tuscany getaway

Extra Details:

  • From Manchester
  • In September or October

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.

FLIGHTS

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.

CAR RENTAL

Before we crack on with accommodation, we’ll need to find something to get us around once we land in Pisa.

The great news is that car hire is CHEAP AF!

From £26 for 5 days rental – YEP, just £5.20 a day!

ACCOMMODATION

If you’re wanting to go cheap, I’d definitely recommend looking into Agriturismo, which is the Italian for ‘farm stay’.

Now, before you tell me I’m barking up the wrong tree, BEAR WITH ME.

Once Italy’s best kept secret, agriturismo have really come a long way and you can expect well-appointed rooms, outdoor pools and stunning views across the owner’s land.

However, those on the cheaper end of the spectrum are more traditional in the decor department than the ‘stylish’ Tuscan break that’s been requested, so onwards we go!

Airbnb Plus – it’s verified for its “quality and comfort”
La Spezia – 56 mins drive from Pisa Airport
£76.20 a night – £190.50 each
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

Airbnb Plus – it’s been verified for its “quality and comfort”
Pistoia – 53 mins drive from Pisa Airport
£79.20 a night – £198 each
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

TOTAL

Flights – £69 each
Car hire – £13 each
Airbnb Plus – £190.50 each

Total = £272.50 each for 5 nights in Tuscany


THE REQUEST: Premium 5 star holiday for a 3 star price

Extra Details:

  • From London
  • For 2 people

Okay, so when I saw this request come through I got a bit giddy because I saw a deal in passing last week which I think will fit this request perfectly.

It’s important to say that last week, this was a good £80 cheaper so if you’re into it, I’d book it fast!

But here’s the reason I’m so excited…

This isn’t just any old hotel.

This is a FOUR SEASONS HOTEL.

Four Seasons, if you didn’t know, is one of the top luxury hotel brands in the world. We’re talking proper, 5 star service here, lads.

✨TOTAL HONEYMOON VIBEZ ✨

And usually, this would cost you around £400 a night for the room on its own. Minimum.

However, one of the cheapest Four Seasons hotels to stay at is in Marrakech.

What’s more, you can book the Four Seasons Marrakech through British Airways’ Holiday Finder – basically, their package holiday website – which in this case, saves us even more money.

As I said, this was just £536 when I saw it last week so it’s definitely worth getting on this deal soon before the cost rises even more!

The perks you get by booking both the hotel and the flight with BA is that:

  • You get 23kg checked luggage for free
  • There’s an option to just pay £150 deposit each
  • Booked separately, the hotel would cost £927 and the flights would cost £197 each (without any luggage) or £237 (with luggage) meaning you could save up to £84.50 each by booking through BA

Though, it is worth saying that you could fly with Ryanair for the same dates for just £119 each, but the flight times and lack of hand luggage aren’t so fun (they only allow a small backpack!)

LOOK. I know it’s not quite a 3 star price, but it is unreal value for a true, premium travel experience. SO I HAD TO SHARE!


THE REQUEST: UK mini-moon lodge with hot tub

Extra Details:

  • For 2 people
  • Leaving 28th October
  • 4 nights
  • £700 budget
  • Within 3.5 hours drive of Bedfordshire

A site that is amazing for lodges both in the UK and abroad is Canopy & Stars. In fact, they even have a page dedicated to places that have hot tubs!

Here’s my favourite that I found!

Holly Cabin
Powys – 3 hours drive from Bedfordshire
£660 for 4 nights


THE REQUEST: Budget Greek holiday for two

Extra Details:

  • From London Gatwick or Heathrow
  • For 2 people
  • Late Sep/early Oct
  • Southern Greece – maybe Rhodes or Crete?
  • Budget – but not too rustic!

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.

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.

FLIGHT

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!)

ACCOMMODATION

There are loads of great options but I personally loved not only the price, but the view from the terrace here. What a dream!

Airbnb
Sat 5th Oct – Sat 12th Oct
£63.29 a night / £221.50 each for 7 nights
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

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!

TOTAL

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 😂

vlog update & how to spend an afternoon in helsinki

If you follow me over on YouTube, you may have noticed that I’ve been a little quiet on the whole vlogging front.

SOZ.

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.

featured in this video:

equipment used:

watch more:

follow me:


*hiyaaa – this is an affiliate links so I may earn a little something if you buy through this link. It doesn’t change the price for you, though!

holiday hotline #6 – 2 weeks in Cyprus, group holiday to Majorca, cheap Croatian getaway

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

Extra details:

  • 2 people
  • 2 weeks
  • Not ‘englishy’

FLIGHTS

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.

ACCOMMODATION

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.

Airbnb
£43.71 a night – £305 a week
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

Set in a complex, this may be a little less ‘traditional’ but you have your own terrace and access to the village’s roof, garden, pool and gym. Plus, you’re not too far from the sea either!

Guesthouse
From £51 a night – £357 a week

Located in a quaint old village, this cute guesthouse ticks a lot of boxes for a great price!

Adults only vineyard hotel
£110 midweek in September or £90 a night from 1st October 2019

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!

Car Hire
Tues 24th Sep – Tues 8th Oct
£133 total

TOTAL

Right – let’s say we go for the following mix:

Flights – £75 each
Car hire – 66.50
Guesthouse for 3 nights – £76.50 each
Airbnb for 7 nights – £152.50 each
Wine hotel for 4 nights – £180 each

Total = £550.50 each


THE REQUEST = 3 nights in Majorca for 10 adults

Extra details:

  • From Manchester
  • Last weekend of April 2020
  • Couples so separate beds needed

FLIGHTS

Manchester to Palma
Fri 24th April – Mon 27th April
£80 return


ACCOMMODATION

Airbnb
Fri 24th April – Mon 27th April
£292.33 a night – £87.70 each
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

Total = £167.70 each!


THE REQUEST: Long weekend in Europe in late Aug/early Sep

Extra details:

  • From London
  • Hot and sunny
  • £300pp max
  • 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!

FLIGHTS

London to Milan
Thurs 29th Aug to Mon 2nd Sep
From £66 return

ACCOMMODATION

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.

Now, there’s plenty of options on this Sat/Sun night for under £75 but I loved the look of this next place, which also features pretty high up on The Telegraph’s best hotels in Milan list.

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

Extra details:

  • 2 people
  • £350pp budget

FLIGHTS

CHECK OUT THESE CHEAP ASS FLIGHTS TO PULA:

London to Pula
Weds 2nd Oct to Weds 9th Oct
£30 return

ACCOMMODATION

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.

GORGEOUS.

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

Last of all, you’ll need a hire car.

Car Hire
Weds 2nd Oct – Weds 9th Oct
£33 total

DAMN CROATIA AND YOUR CHEAP CAR HIRE

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.

Until then!


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!

european summer holidays for under £300 that you can STILL BOOK

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.

FROM LONDON

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.

FLIGHTS

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.

The sandy beach at Kašjuni– but don’t be surprised to find pebbles at other Croatian beaches!

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

For more prices, check out Numbeo!

ACCOMODATION

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!

FLIGHTS

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

For more prices, check out Numbeo!

ACCOMMODATION

Serviced Apartment
£57.57 a night – £404 total


Aberdeen total = £289 per person

Liverpool total = £304 per person

There are so many choices for Gdansk that I couldn’t possibly leave it at just that. Whilst not in the Old Town, this cute apartment is just £285 for the week!

And this place in Sopot is just £253! Very budget friendly.

If you were looking to spend a little more, I love the design elements of this Airbnb which would cost £476 for the week.


FROM BRISTOL

FLIGHTS

Next up, we have:

Bristol to Budapest, Hungary
Thurs 22nd Aug to Thurs 28th Aug
£118 return

As so wonderfully summarised by Lonely Planet:

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

For more prices, check out Numbeo!

ACCOMMODATION

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!)


FROM LONDON

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 more prices, check out Numbeo!


FROM ANYWHERE

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.

EUROTUNNEL

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.

ACCOMMODATION

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!

holiday hotline #5 – cheap Christmas Markets, budget Reykjavik accommodation and September sun in Biarritz

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!

Let’s see what we’ve got this week.

REQUEST: Family European Christmas Markets for less than £150 each

So, for today’s main Holiday Hotline deep dive, we’re getting festive. Yes, in June. But I’m all for people getting their plans together for some super cheat Christmas Market getaways.

So, let’s hear what Fiona is after:

  • European Christmas Markets
  • 28th Nov – 1st Dec 2019
  • From London Stansted (and flight back not too late)
  • 2 adults & 2 thirteen year olds
  • Flight & accommodation needed
  • £100 – £150 each

I’m gonna give Fiona two options. One will be a well established Christmas Market, the other will be less known – but cheaper.

Option One

For this, I went straight to European’s Best Destinations ‘Best Christmas Markets in Europe 2019‘ list. Seeing Tallinn as number one, I got VERY excited however there are no direct flights for Fiona’s dates. BOO.

So instead, I’ve opted for the capital of Czechia, Prague, which is sitting snugly at number 9.

Prague Christmas Market

Important: the main Christmas Market in Prague does not open until Saturday 30th November 2019 HOWEVER, the Prague Castle Christmas Market opens from 23rd November 2019 and there’s so much to see and do in the capital at all times of the year so I’m sure Fiona will find plenty to see and do!

Flights

Flying from Stansted, there are loads of flights to choose from for as cheap as £57 each! However, I’d personally either go for the £69 flight (to make the most of the first day) or the £107 flight (for great flight times there and back that mean no early mornings!!)

London Stansted to Prague
Thurs 28th Nov – Sun 1st Dec
From £57

Accommodation

As Fiona is looking for 2 adults and 2 teenagers, I think Airbnb is the perfect choice here.

I found this gorgeous apartment with great reviews which is within walking distance to both the Old Town and Wencelas Sq where both of the main Christmas Markets are.

What’s more, you check yourself in with a lockbox meaning that you don’t need to plan your day about meeting someone at the apartment.

Airbnb
2 bedrooms – 3 beds – 1 bath
£75.34 a night – £225 total
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

So, for flights plus this apartment, Fiona would be looking at a price from £113.25 each for three nights in one of the top 10 Christmas Market destinations in Europe. Bargain!

Option 2

For our next option, we’re going off piste and exploring the less known – but suitably festive – Christmas Market in Wroclaw, Poland.

Wroclaw Christmas Market

inyourpocket.com

Opening on 22nd November 2019, Fiona will be able to enjoy the markets straight away and having spoken to a friend who used to live in Wroclaw, she said the main square looks pretty magical come Christmas time!

What’s more, Poland is ridiculously well priced and so your money will go really far here.

Flights

Again, a few choices but I’d go for the third one down if it was me to make the most of the trip!

London Stansted to Wroclaw
Thurs 28th Nov – Sun 1st Dec
From £45

Accommodation

You can definitely find cheaper (this newly listed £38 a night 2 bed for instance) but I just had to share this apartment which is just SO BEAUTIFUL – especially for the price!

Airbnb
2 bedrooms – 4 beds – 2.5 baths
£244 total – £81.34 a night
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

With the £60 flights and accommodation, that comes out at £121 each for 3 nights.

If Fiona is really hoping to save money, however, there are a few one bedroom options (complete with sofa beds) that could work both for her group and for her pocket.

Urban Apartments
1 double and 1 sofa bed
£93 total – £31 a night

Design Apart Centrum
1 double and 1 sofa bed
£124 total – £41.34 a night

With the cheapest flights and the cheapest one bed apartment, this 3 night trip could end up working out at just £68.25 each!!

Right – I think we’ve got time for a couple more…


REQUEST: Christmas Markets in Estonia

Another Christmas Market request! You lot are getting well festive.

  • Christmas Market 2019
  • Estonia please!!!

Since we’ve already discovered that Estonia’s capital, Tallinn, has been named as the number one European Christmas Market destination for this 2019, I thought it was worth finding out when would be the cheapest time to fly.

European Best Destinations

Tallinn Christmas Market
Open: 17th November 2019 – 6th January 2020

There are direct flights from both London and Edinburgh, so let’s take a look at what deals we can find there.

2 night getaways from London

Weds 20th Nov – Fri 22nd Nov – £50

Weds 27th Nov – Fri 29th Nov – £52

Weds 4th Dec – Fri 6th Dec – £65

Sun 8th Dec – Tues 10th Dec – £68

Mon 9th Dec – Weds 11th Dec – £55

Weds 11th Dec – Fri 13th Dec – £55

Sun 15th Dec – Tues 17th Dec – £88

Mon 16th Dec – Weds 18th Dec – £73

Tues 17th Dec – Thurs 19th Dec – £79


3 night getaways from London

Fri 22nd Nov – Mon 25th Nov- £56

Fri 29th Nov – Mon 2nd Dec – £66

Fri 6th Dec – Mon 9th Dec – £66

Fri 13th Dec – Mon 16th Dec – £82


3 night getaways from Edinburgh

Fri 22nd Nov – Mon 25th Nov – £74

Fri 13th Dec – Mon 16th Dec – £119

Fri 20th Dec – Mon 23rd Dec – £112

Accommodation

The great news is that Estonia will feel really affordable versus costs in the UK and so I think it would be a great opportunity to stay somewhere lush.

Searching for the dates Fri 13th Dec – Mon 16th Dec, I found:

Park Inn by Radisson Central Tallinn
3 star
£61 a night

Hilton Tallinn Park
4 star
£88 a night

Or, if you want somewhere cheap (but still lovely!)

Airbnb
1 bedroom – 2 beds – 1 bath
£46 a night
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

Opting for the Airbnb means you could bag yourself a 3 night Christmas stay in Tallinn for two from just £123 each.


REQUEST: Reykjavik accommodation in December

Next up is a request from Boudicca who’s after:

  • Reykjavik accommodation
  • 19th – 22nd Dec

Having returned from Iceland back in March, I’ve got a bit of a feel for what kind of accommodation there is on offer in Iceland’s capital.

  • Guesthouse
    • A great option if you’re wanting to save money as many have free breakfast and shared kitchen facilities so that you can prepare food for the day ahead
  • Hostel
    • Don’t baulk just yet – many offer private rooms and offer a vibrant bar with plenty of happy hour deals. Plus, many have kitchen facilities too.
  • Hotel
    • Often at a similar price to the two above but you may not get any of the extra facilities that can help when you’re saving money. And if you want somewhere fancy, expect to pay a lot!
  • Airbnb
    • There are plenty of Airbnbs but for your own place, expect to pay more than an average hotel! But worth a browse as plenty of guesthouses and private rooms are on here too.

Here’s a couple of good value options I found for Boudicca’s dates:

Hlemmur Square – Hostel
Private Room with private bathroom
Shared kitchen
0.5 miles to city centre
£72 a night

If you’re willing to spend more, this place has also got some really beautiful rooms that still allow you to embrace the fun that comes from staying at a hostel, and the shared kitchen facilities for saving money down the line.

Hotel Reykjavik Lights – Hotel
4 star
Free breakfast
1.7 miles from city centre
£66 a night

Now, Boudicca didn’t actually mention a budget so let’s go WILD and throw in a pricey but alternative option too.

Harbour View
Cabin with a view
£245 a night

These are a 22 min drive north of the airport (and 5 miles from the Blue Lagoon) and are luxury cabins that offer a view over the harbour in Grindavik. They also have plenty of space saving gadgets so if tiny houses are your kinda thing, this place is for you.

Yes, it’s pretty pricey but hey, what’s wrong with a big of cabin porn to peruse for fun?! If you are interested in spending your hard earned cash on a night here, I’d recommend giving Matt D’Avella’s video of them a watch.

Another hotel that I absolutely DROOL over is the Ion Adventure Hotel which is a 50 min drive from Reykjavik set in the middle of nowhere.

But at £299 a night… Perhaps we’ll just stick to looking at it online.

REQUEST: 5 night sunny September getaway for under £250pp

I couldn’t not pick Becky’s request after she sent the most beautifully laidd out summary of what she was after. Just look at it:

So, I’m thinking FRANCE. I’m thinking COASTAL. I’m thinking:

BIARRITZ

Biarritz is a popular beach resort right at the bottom of the west coast of France. Wiki calls it ‘elegant’ whilst it also retains a youthful edge as a major surfing destination.

What’s more, my Mum and Dad go all the time and say it’s lush.

Case closed.

In September you can still expect an average temperature of 24 degrees and you’re also just a 45 min drive (or bus!) to San Sebastian in Spain which is revered for its food. What a great day trip that would make!

London Stansted to Biarritz
Weds 11th Sep – Sun 15th Sep
£40

Thanks to those cheap flights, that leaves us with just over £400 to find some nice accommodation for 5 nights.

Hôtel Le Saphir
2 star – very well rated
Twin room with patio
Next to the beach
£75.60 a night – £378 total

Studios Régina
Serviced studio apartment
1 double and 1 sofa bed
Close to the beach
£70.60 a night – £353 total

Airbnb
1 bedroom – 1 bathroom
Fantastic central location
Self check in
£59 a night – £295 total
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

Picking the Airbnb, this trip would be just £187.50 each for Becky and her mate.

Smashing.


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.

Until then!


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… 🤣

holiday hotline #4 – cheap group summer sun, Dubrovnik on a budget, Boston for under £500 and luxury Sofia hotels for less

Another week, another hotline!

And if you’re all ‘what you on about Chels?’ then let me explain. Once a week, over on Instagram, I ask you to send in your holiday conundrums and then I go off in hunt of some cheap holiday deals for us all.

So, what have we got this week?

Well, the one thing that I saw a LOT of were requests for group trips this summer so let’s delve a little deeper…

REQUEST: Summer group holiday for no more than £450 each

What’s Holly after then?

  • 5-7 nights
  • 8 people
  • From Manchester
  • Week of August 19th
  • Pool
  • Close to the action
  • Max £450 each

Phew! Holly is wanting a LOT of boxes ticking here but let’s see what we can find for the ultimate group getaway this summer.

Manchester to Faro
Sat 17th Aug to Sat 24th Aug
£126

TOP TIP: Remember when you’re searching for groups to always put in the correct number of travellers. This is because airlines often sell seats in price tiers and so they may only have a couple of tickets available at the cheap price you see in front of you – which gets a bit awkward when you click through to book and the prices suddenly rocket up!

Faro airport is the gateway to the Algarve – Portugal’s southernmost region known for its Atlantic beaches and golf resorts. What’s more, Portugal is really well priced and so you don’t need to spend a fortune once you’re out there as well.

Whilst you’re getting in late and leaving early, you save £59 each from flying at slightly better times.

Also, since Holly requested 5-7 days, this is a good way to get 6 whole none travel days for less. What’s more she won’t feel like she’s wasting money on that first night accommodation because the place I’ve found has to be booked for a 7 night minimum anyway.

ENTER STAGE LEFT:

OH HELLO.

Villa Avios is pretty decent, right?!!

I found this bad boy on Oliver’s Travels which is ‘a website where people can find and book exclusive, luxury chateaux without having to shell out a fortune’.

What I like about Oliver’s Travel is:

  • They only recommend places they’ve actually seen
  • You’ll often find homes that aren’t on Airbnb
  • They offer a best price guarantee
  • They have a free concierge service that can help sort out other aspects of your holiday

Should we have a bit more of a nosey?

So, wanna know how much this place is?

£2199 for 7 nights

That’s just £275 each for a group of 8 for a whole week – and since it sleeps 9, it could be as cheap as £245 each if they could recruit an extra person.

Whilst this villa isn’t quite in the thick of the action as some I found on Airbnb, it is easily the nicest l found in this price range and I was honestly shocked at how cheap it was compared to what else was on offer. Especially for 7 nights.

Also, you’re just a 15 minute drive from Albufeira which has a VIBRANT nightlife meaning if you wanted a big night out, your taxis are not going to cost you the world.

As well, there’s lots to do in the area including beaches, golf courses, mountain bike trails, surfing, water parks, deep sea fishing and scuba diving.

If you’re wondering how you’d even get to Villa Avios, do not fret.

At 40 mins drive away from Faro airport, I’d definitely recommend hiring a car for any stay on the Algarve. Car hire is cheap and there’s so much going on along the coastline that it would be a shame not to explore it.

In a group, I actually think 2 cars are better than one big people carrier as it normally much cheaper (the cheapest 9 seater I found was £530 for the week!), 2 cars will give you more space to cram luggage, and lastly it gives you the option to split up to try out different activities during the week.

So, for flights, accommodation and 2 cars for Holly’s group of 8 mates, the entire trip comes in at £418 each.

JOB DONE!

Right, we’ve got time for a few more quickies.

REQUEST: London to Boston November group trip

Sophie wants:

  • London to Boston
  • 30th Oct – 3rd Nov
  • Accommodation close to the city for under £1000

First things first, the flights.

London to Boston
Weds 30th Oct – Sun 3rd Nov
£270 each (pssst it’s only £255 if there’s only two of you)

We’ve started seeing cheap flights to Boston for a while now but damnnnnn son that’s a sweet ass deal.

Both fares only include a 10kg carry on bag but for a 4 night trip, YOU CAN DO IT. I BELIEVE IN YOU!

If not, it will cost you an extra £35 each way with Norwegian (add your bag separately rather than selecting LowFare+ as that is an extra £50 each way but does include meals and a seat reservation) or an extra £100 return with Virgin (this also gives you a seat reservation and extra air miles).

Now for the accommodation which, knowing America, finding a place for 6 people for 4 nights under £1000 is gonna be TRICKY.

For big groups like this, I do find that you get more value out of booking a holiday rental as three hotel rooms can really add up.

So, I’ve headed to Airbnb and have popped in the dates, 6 guests, selected ‘entire home’ and have specified at least 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms because too much sharing never makes for a nice trip – AMIRITE?

Then, using the map, I’ve zoomed into Boston so I can find something that isn’t too far away.

Straight away, I can see our budget is going to be a struggle. But what can we get that isn’t too far from it?

Airbnb
Dorchester – home next to subway that’s 20 mins to Downtown
3 bedrooms – 3 beds – 2 baths
£278.75 a night – £1115 total
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

Airbnb
East Boston – short walk to transport for easy access to Downtown
3 bedrooms – 4 beds (2 are sofa beds) – 2 baths
£291.75 a night – £1167 total
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

Airbnb
South Boston close to Downtown
3 bedrooms – 3 beds – 2 baths
£325 a night – £1300 total
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

But still, how do we get to that £1000 pricetag?

By taking away a bedroom.

Airbnb
East Boston – Very close to airport and 15 mins drive central
2 bedrooms – 6 beds – 2 baths
£257.75 a night – £1029 total
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

Given that there are 6 of them travelling, if they went with the cheapest Airbnb here, their whole trip would only cost them £441.50 each.

TO THE US OF A!!!

REQUEST: Warm June getaway from North West for two

Sophie is after:

  • 3 -4 nights
  • 2 adults
  • 22nd June +/- 1 day
  • Leaving Liverpool or Manchester
  • Somewhere warm
  • Not Barcelona or Rome
  • £200 each

Right, with a small budget it’s very important that we find… CHEAP FLIGHTS!

*spends lots of time searching and realises that if you want warm in June, you’re still going to have to spend a bit for flights*

Manchester to Dubrovnik
Sat 22nd June – Weds 26th June
£98

Whilst the price might be nudging £100, this is actually a great price for Dubrovnik. The least expensive flights for similar trips to Dubrovnik usually cost between £145 and £215!

If you haven’t heard of Dubrovnik before then CONGRATS because how you’ve managed to escape all that ‘it’s where they film Games of Thrones’ chatter is quite the achievement.

It’s a city in Southern Croatia fronting the Adriatic Sea and it’s known for its Old Town which is LUSH AF.

Whilst it is a hugely popular destination – they’ve even started limiting the number of cruise tourists visiting the Old Town – since you’re heading there in term time, it won’t be as busy as it could be.

And the good news is that weather wise, it looks sunny and around 28 degrees.

But the big ol’ question – is there anywhere decent enough to stay given that Sophie has just £200 left to cover 4 nights in a popular tourist destination?

*spends lots of time searching and realises just how damn popular Dubrovnik is especially when you’re searching for a trip that’s in 2 weeks*

If we’re really trying to keep to budget, this new listing could work really well.

Airbnb – Apartment Tonci
Dubrovnik
£49 a night – this includes all the additional fees
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

An 8 min drive from the old town (you’re close to a bus station), this apartment is based in Babin Kuk which is a wealthy district known for its high-end hotels, stylish spas and yacht clubs. It’s also got a beach and plenty of supermarkets, bars and restaurants.

Whilst it currently has no reviews, you benefit from this by the 20% special offer that the host is offering for the first 3 guests who book a trip before now and 4th September. Yes, there is an element of ‘risk’ here, but it’s also a great way to bag a real bargain.

If you want a place with reviews, try this place for £63 a night, or this place for £69 a night.

Hotel wise, you’re going to be looking at guesthouses in this budget but there are plenty well rated rooms for under £200.

So, going with the cheapest flights and cheapest Airbnb, Sophie’s got herself a trip to a TOP DESTINATION for just £196 each.

That’s £4 each left for a pint at the airport.

I’m having fun, let’s do one more!

REQUEST: Accommodation in Sofia from 16th – 20th July

Okay, so Dani’s request is pretty straight forward.

  • Accommodation only in Sofia, Bulgaria
  • 16th – 20th July

So, let me take you through how I look for hotels if I’m looking for something more than just a cheap place to stay.

I start by googling ‘best hotels in Sofia’ or wherever I’m looking and normally, an article written by The Telegraph is a top result. For Sofia, it’s not, but I do instead find a ‘best hotels in Bulgaria‘ list instead which is a great place to start.

Oh no hang on, it’s three hotels long. FGS BULGARIA – I’M TRYING TO DO A BIT HERE.

Anyway, it does show us one hotel in Sofia called ‘Maison Sofia Hotel’ and so next I open up Trivago and I whack that name in, alongside my dates.

Straightaway, it’s showing me that we can get Dani a room at this four star hotel from just £47 a night (always click on ‘more deals’ for the cheapest price!)

However, at 2.2 miles to the city centre, I’m interested in what we can get even more central.

So now I adjust the filters and I select 3 star+ hotels, a guest rating of 7.5+ and within 1 mile of the city centre.

Straight away I’m VERY interested in this 5 star, well rated, LUXURY COLLECTION hotel from just £84 a night.

The 5 star InterContinental Sofia is also just £88 a night.

Finally, if it is price that Dani’s after, this also looks like a great deal for just £34 a night.


If you’d like some holiday help then make sure you’re following me on Instagram for the next instalment of the holiday hotline!


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 🤣