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

vlog 3 | iceland south coast road trip itinerary

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.

In this video:

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?!

After getting battered by the winds at the top of Skógafoss, we drove 10 minutes down the road to the Sólheimasandur plane wreck. Or the car park at least.

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!

Back on the road, we drove past Eldhraun Lava Fields (the snow had covered their beautiful, mossy covers) and on to Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon which we found closed!

After a quick google, we found out it was due to too many tourists (I wasn’t surprised) and so they were letting the vegetation grow back in.

Fair enough, lads. Fair enough.

With the sun dipping lower in the sky, we bypassed Vatnajökull National Park (a great spot for hiking if you’re in the mood) and got to Diamond Beach with 15 minutes to go before sunrise.

And wow, we were so glad.

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

Not too shabby!


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 3you’re reading this now!
Day 4 – Escaping the tourists on Iceland’s beautiful Eastern coastal roads

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 😂