holiday hotline #3 – summer in Ljubljana, European mini moons, £150 family accommodation, cosy UK stay, Dublin departures & Seville group stays

Once a week, I open up the holiday hotline to see what travel queries I can answer from you guys.

So let’s see what’s on the cards this week!

THE REQUEST: 3-5 nights in Ljubljana in July or August

Will got in touch and gave me the following brief:

  • Ljubljana
  • Flights & accommodation
  • July/August
  • 3-5 nights
  • Based in Shrewsbury but can fly from anywhere

Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana, is getting some real traction at the moment and with the average cost of a pint coming in at £2.20, I CAN SEE WHY!

There’s lots to see and do in the city and you’re also not too far from the devastatingly beautiful Lake Bled!

Flights

Since Will is coming from Shrewsbury, his nearest airports are Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and Birmingham. Unfortunately, only Manchester flies direct and DAMN it’s expensive (and only once a week). However, I have found a couple of cheap one stop options from Manchester – albeit with lengthy layovers in Brussels.

£108

£125

However, the best prices for direct are – you guessed it – from London.

3 night trips

London to Ljubljana
Fri 16th Aug – Mon 19th Aug
£112

London to Ljubljana
Sun 14th July – Weds 17th July
£98

4 night trips

London to Ljubljana
Mon 15th July – Fri 19th July
£103

Top tip: Skyscanner has a great calendar view that normally shows really easily the cost of a return flight, HOWEVER, it was not playing ball with this combination and kept showing up blank dates.

Therefore, I headed over to Google Flights instead which was much clearer in its prices.

It’s a great tool, just once you find the cheapest option, do check the dates on Skyscanner and Momondo once more to check you’re getting the best price.

For Will’s query, I’m going to go for the 3 night trip between Sun 14th July – Weds 17th July for £98.

Let’s crack on with the accommodation!

Accommodation

First of all, let’s take a look at a central apartment.

With Airbnb, the average entire home is coming in around £103 but I’ve found this cute and well rated studio for just £73 a night.

Airbnb
£219 total for 3 nights
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

If he fancies something lighter, brighter and with a balcony, I also found this home for £85 a night.

Airbnb
£255 total for 3 nights
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

There’s also two separate beds should he be travelling with someone he’d rather not share a bed with 😂

Lastly, let’s have a quick look at hotels.

As always, I recommend hopping over to trivago and using the filters to help narrow down your results. For this, I’m selecting 3 star+, a guest rating of 7.5+ and near the city centre.

Quickly I found the 4 star Grand Hotel Union which is super central, extremely well rated and £97 a night including free breakfast.

Grand Hotel Union
£291 total for 3 nights

Another great find is this 4 star hotel that’s just £78 a night and even includes breakfast.

Central Hotel
£234 for 3 nights

However, if Will’s wanting to keep the budget small, there’s also this super affordable option which is just 850 yards from the old town, is very well rated and is just £53.33 a night.

AURA Guesthouse Ljubljana
£160 for 3 nights

This means that this 3 night getaway could cost Will and his travel partner as little as £178 each – not too shabby, eh?


THE REQUEST: September mini moon with beautiful views

Joanne asked for:

  • Mini moon
  • September
  • Beautiful views
  • Nice food
  • Europe

I’ve been lusting after this hotel for AGES so please Joanne, go live out my dreams for me!!

Gillham Vineyard Hotel
Cyprus
Adults only (the mini moon dream????!)
Rates start from £114.47 and come with breakfast and a bottle of wine
Half board options are also available

The restaurant on site is great, and you’re not too far to head out in a hire car to explore what other foodie options Cyprus has to offer! I’d recommend looking at the Rose Suites which come with their own balcony overlooking the vineyard – and the great news is that they’re not even the most expensive type of room!


THE REQUEST: Family accommodation for £150 total in school holidays

So this next one for Abbie is TOUGH! She’s after:

  • Between 25th July – 31st August
  • 3-7 days
  • 2 adults and 2 kids
  • £150 all in

I tried using Ryanair’s fare finder but the closest cheap flight I could find in this date range was £33.80 return to Dortmund in Germany which would have only left £14 for the accommodation…

So it looks like it’s going to be a UK stay!

Whilst this is a super tight budget, the good thing is that you can search ‘United Kingdom’ on Airbnb and then bring down your budget.

I’ve popped in £50 a night and here’s what I’ve found that wasn’t a tent in a field (honestly way too many of them on Airbnb???)

Airbnb – 2 double rooms
Tillicoultry – 20 min drive from Stirling, Scotland
£46 a night
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

Airbnb – 2 double rooms
Blantyre – 20 min drive from Glasgow, Scotland
£46 a night
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

Whilst this one has no reviews yet, this is a great way to bag a place for a cheaper price as the cost is usually low as they try to get their first bookings!

Another great website to try searching is hometogo which is the world’s largest holiday rental search engine.

Unfortunately there wasn’t anything available coming in at under £50 a night – but it’s definitely one worth checking in the future if you’re after an apartment or villa. Airbnb is not the only option!

My last search was on trivago as it could be that we could swipe a family room for a good price!

Holiday Inn Aberdeen West
Aberdeen, Scotland
Queen room with sofa bed
£43 a night

Hampton By Hilton
Aberdeen, Scotland
Family room with free breakfast
£50 a night

Holiday Inn Express Stafford
Stafford, England
Family room with free breakfast
£54 a night

Okay, perhaps Aberdeen and Stafford aren’t the most ‘traditional’ holiday destinations, but both would serve a great base for exploring the area!

CURVEBALL

Now these don’t work for the exact dates but house sitting can mean totally free accommodation so if you wanted to get out of the UK, this may be a good option to look into.

I’ve used Nomador twice before (it’s free to sign up and message three owners) and from a quick peruse I’ve found two housesits in France that could work a treat. One even has its own pool!

Normandy housesit with pool – 20th July – 27th July

Parisian apartment – 25th July to 5th Aug

Here’s all my tips on bagging that free house sit!

THE REQUEST: One night cosy UK stay for cheap

This one comes from Roushan who’s after:

  • End of July
  • One night
  • Easy to get to from London
  • Cosy to chill in
  • Super cheap!

If you’re after super cheap, a really good place to look for a cute place is definitely Airbnb as you’re likely to get much more space for your money – and if you’re lucky, you may get an additional living room space to chill out in.

To help narrow down the search, I’ve decided to look for Saturday 27th July 2019:

Airbnb – Farm Home Annex
Stanton near Bury St Edmunds – 1 hr 47 mins drive from London
£49 a night
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

B&B in Georgian House
Wymondham near Norwich – 2 hour drive from London
£65 a night
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

Airbnb – Studio flat
Thorpe Langton – cute village in Leicestershire – 2 hour drive from London
£64 a night
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

Whilst the next options aren’t quite as cheap, they’re much closer to London and they also tick the ‘couples break’ box really well as they both feature on Mr and Mrs Smith – a hotel site that compiles chic stays for romantic getaways.

Aviator
Farnborough – 1 hour 30 mins drive from London
Views across their private airfield
£105 a night

And finally, I’m adding in this one because you can get there via the overground from London meaning you’ll cut down significantly on your travel costs.

The Crown Hotel
Amersham – Zone 6 on Metropolitan Line (peak – £7 / off peak = £4.10)
This was the inn from Four Weddings and a Funeral!
£122 a night

I’ve stayed at this place before and it just serves up so many country pub vibes. I loved it!

Not quite as close for Roushan but still worth sharing are:

Airbnb – Private Room
South Yorkshire
£35 a night

Airbnb – Private guesthouse
Derbyshire
£58 a night

THE REQUEST: Edinburgh to Tokyo trip in April 2020

Liam wanted:

  • Edinburgh to Tokyo
  • April 2020
  • 1 week

Whilst I’ve ran out of time to plan Liam’s whole trip for him, I can recommend staying at The Millennials pod hotel. IT’S AMAZING!

I did a full review with pictures about my stay in their Kyoto hotel and it was just such a good experience.

The Millennials Shibuya
Tokyo
Upcoming rates from £45 a night

You can also watch how our stay went down for yourself!

REQUEST: Hot summer holiday from Dublin

Viv has asked for:

  • Dublin to anywhere cheap af
  • Touristy
  • Flight out Weds
  • July or Aug
  • Warm please

Here’s some flights that might help you on your way, Viv. Lisbon is one of my FAVOURITE cities and it’s really affordable, especially for a capital.

The same goes for Madrid – check out last week’s hotline where I spoke about this more in full!

Palma in Majorca is more of the ‘touristy’ vibe you may be after and if you find yourself your own villa, you could save so much money on food and drink across the week.

Dublin to Lisbon
£88

Dublin to Lisbon
£73

Dublin to Lisbon
£82

Dublin to Madrid
£55

Dublin to Palma
£73

REQUEST: Seville rental for group stay

Sean’s off to Seville with his mates and has already bagged himself some cheap flights. So what does he need?

  • Accommodation for 4 people
  • 5 nights between 4th – 9th Sep
  • 3 beds – no sofa beds
  • Kitsch vibe

This was actually a lot harder than I thought it would be, but here are some great value options that I rustled up:

City Centre Sevilla ARCO MACARENA
£543 total – £135.75 each

This apartment currently doesn’t have many reviews so maybe it’s worth enquiring and asking if they have any more reviews (they may have this listed elsewhere!) before booking. However, what they lack in reviews they make up for in PRICE!

Airbnb
£565 total – £141.65 each
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

And whilst the next one would cost £314 each, I couldn’t resist click on this place 😍😍😍

Luxury loft with pool in Seville centre
£1259 total – £314.75 each


And because I couldn’t resist, I did two quick ones on insta as well:

London – Lisbon
Thurs 8th Aug – Sun 11th Aug
£201

And the great news is that unlike Ryanair and Wizzair, TAP still allows 8kg for hand luggage (55x40x20), as well as an additional small personal item- such as a handbag – up to 2kg.

Accommodation wise, Amy was looking for somewhere lux for her and her girls (and didn’t mind paying for the pleasure) so I recommend getting on trivago, whacking in 5 stars and seeing what she can find in budget. I’m also a big fan on the Telegraph’s best hotel lists.

But if their own places is what they’re after, these options are pretty nice too!

Designer Penthouse Apartment
4 bedrooms – 5 bathrooms
£665 a night – £332.50 total each

I initially found this as one of Airbnb’s ‘plus’ range (‘hand picked high quality homes known for great reviews) yet I actually found it on tripadvisor for £400 cheaper across 3 days! (Always shop around!!)

Stylish apartment with terrace
5 bedrooms – 3 bathrooms
£527 a night – £263.50 total each


Lastly, Abi asked about car insurance and my tips are always:

  • Compare costs on Skyscanner
  • Check if local firms are cheaper (you may need to use Google Translate for this!)
  • When chosen, opt for the basic insurance package
  • Buy additional excess insurance from moneymaxim separately – you will save a FORTUNE and it’s fully endorsed by Martin Lewis and his crew
  • We saved £54 by doing this on a recent 4 day car hire in Croatia!

THAT’S A WRAP!

Again, so sorry if I didn’t get around to your request but I hope the above may have given you some tips or offered some general holiday inspo that you may be able to use in the future.

Make sure to give me a follow on Instagram if you want to be involved in the next one – and let me know if you end up booking any of these!

Let’s end with a photo of me drunk, sat in a basket from my holiday in Croatia last week.

Lovely.


I have used 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 🤣

holiday hotline #2 – aug bank holiday getaways, manchester to barcelona, scottish road trips and cheap new york accommodation

Following the success of. the first holiday hotline (Will is currently planning his trip to Jordan – wahey!) I thought I’d get back on the search to find someone else a proper great holiday for less.

Make sure you’re following me on Instagram so that you know when the next hotline is live!

THE REQUEST: August bank holiday birthday fun – 4 days – somewhere hot

So, this week’s main hotline request comes in from Vicky who’s wanting a getaway over the August bank holiday as it’s her birthday that Friday and her work give her the DAY OFF – what a perk!

Heres what she’s after:

  • Ideally leave on evening of Thurs 22nd Aug
  • 4 days but could take more time off
  • Somewhere hot
  • Going with someone so can share a room

So, where are we going?

Looking at Thursday eve – Monday, there were plenty of options under £50 (including Cologne, Copenhagen, Oslo and Gothenburg) yet none were really giving that ‘hot’ vibe that Vicky was hoping to get.

Unfortunately, flights to warmer destinations such as Lisbon (one of my faves) were starting at £150 so I made the decision to change the return date to Tuesday 27th August instead.

London to Madrid
Thurs 22nd Aug – Tues 27th Aug
£84
(there’s also a flight back at 1310 for £94)

Why Madrid?

As the Spanish capital, there’s so much to see and do but having visited recently, I was really enamoured by the fact that it didn’t come with big city price tag.

With many menu del dia’s (three course lunches with wine – HALLOH) costing less than €10 and €1,20 rides on their well linked metro system, you’ll find that your money goes pretty far in this capital city.

Toledo

As well, with its brilliant connections, you can easily get a train out of the city and visit the UNESCO sites of Toledo and Salamanca, or how about a day trip to Madrid’s Wine Country?

As for the weather, Madrid in the summer gets HOT and August hits an average of 31 degrees – there’s a siesta for a reason. Which is why I think it’s important to find Vicky a hotel with not only some decent air con, but also some outdoor space and maybe, if we’re lucky, a pool.

Where are we staying then?

For this, I simply hopped on trivago and changed my filters to include:

  • Up to £100 a night
  • 3-5 star
  • Guest rating 7.5+
  • City centre location
  • With pool (fingers crossed)

With trivago, I always leave a bit of wiggle room with the price because annoyingly, they only filter based on the price they offer you in bold which is not always the cheapest price out there. That can be found by clicking on ‘more deals’.

Always click on ‘more deals’ for the best price

So, as you can see above, if we’d been looking for a room that cost £85 or less, this option wouldn’t have come up.

SNEAKY.

As Vicky will be staying 5 nights, I’m going to try and find a place around £80 a night so that she and her travel partner aren’t going to be spending more than £200 on accommodation each.

Option 1

Axel Hotel Madrid
£82 a night (£41 each)

  • 4 star with cool, quirky style
  • Very highly rated
  • Rooftop pool and terrace
  • Air con in every room
  • Adults only (no offence kids but HELL YEAH!)
  • Bizarrely would cost you £187 a night if you booked direct
  • Better photos can be found here (Booking.com always create such good picture galleries!)

I wouldn’t have picked up on this at all had I not checked out their own site, but Axel Hotels are a chain that focus on the LGBTIQ+ community who are proudly heterofriendly! They welcome everyone, no matter their sexual orientation, without prejudice which I think is a great business to support.

Option 2

H10 Puerta de Alcalá
£87 a night (£43.50 each)

  • 4 star with super chic decor
  • Very well rated
  • Incredible rooftop pool and terrace (H10 always NAIL this)
  • Air con
  • Again, you can peruse a better photo gallery (in my opinion) here

Option 3

Airbnb – Duplex with terrace in Central Madrid
£74.40 a night (£37.20 each)
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

  • Well rated with great reviews
  • Okay so NO POOL – but you do have your own cute terrace
  • The sofa bed means that two adults could have a bed each
  • Air conditioning
  • A kitchen with everything you could need to help you save money on food whilst in Madrid

So how much is this costing?

Based on going with the cheaper hotel, this 5 night birthday getaway will set Vicky back £289.

Which for a long capital city break across a popular bank holiday staying in a well rated, central hotel with a pool seems a pretty good deal to me.

I hope you have the best birthday holiday EVER, Vicky!

Any time for a few more requests?

Sure, let’s razz through a few more.

THE REQUEST: Venice – August bank holiday weekend

You lot are mad for your bank holiday getaways it seems!

Flights to Venice are not cheap but the best deal I could find was flying out later on the Friday and coming back early on the Tuesday morning.

London to Venice
Fri 23rd Aug – Tues 27th Aug
£126

If you can get the time off, you can also fly back on the Tues at 2125 for £134.

Venice isn’t necessarily the cheapest destination and is already pretty booked up that weekend but there’s still some decent deals to be had!

Airbnb – Sky Tower Suite
£65.67 a night (£32.84 each)
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

In the same building as a hotel, what it lacks in personality it makes up for with its clean, practical and low cost. The hotel reception also means you can check in 24/7 and you’re just a 10 minute bus from the historic centre of Venice.

Airbnb – Venetian Bridge Private Room
£81.67 a night (£40.84 each)
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

Hurrah, we’ve made it over to the main island but it does mean we’ll have to stay in a private room… But it’s a very cute one if that helps?!

Hotel Pausania
£108.33 a night + €21 on check in (£57.17 each)

If you want to be super central, get ready for some proper OLD SKOOL ITALIAN DECOR! Which I personally love. This place is 3 star, well rated and really close to many of Venice’s historic monuments.

THE REQUEST: Barcelona – September. About £500 all in. 3 people from Manchester.

Now this didn’t say how many days, so I’ve gone for a cheeky little long weekend getaway for you!

Manchester to Barcelona
Fri 6th Sep – Mon 9th Sep
£59 each

The Bicycle Apartments
£124.66 a night (£41.50 each)

As I wasn’t sure on what formation the 3 adults would need to sleep in, The Bicycle Apartments have a range of options that would work and if you can stretch to the Design Duplex at £55 a night each, you can all get a double bed!

An 11 min walk from Plaça d’Espanya and has plenty of transport options in its midst.

Total cost = £183.50 each leaving plenty of money for food and fun!

Went went to Barcelona last year and managed to bag ourselves an INSANE apartment for next to nothing so you could try giving Love Home Swap a try too!

THE REQUEST: Booked flights to NYC for 30th November – 5th December… Now to find a hotel? Under £700 please!
Where better to enjoy the New York skyline than in Brooklyn?!

Ah yes. New York accommodation. It’s never fun 🤣

Now, there are some options in Manhattan for around £140 a night but they are – pardon my French – absolute horse shit. And I refuse to recommend anyone stay anywhere so crap!

So instead, I’m going to take us across the East River to Brooklyn. It has easy access over to Manhattan and is a place to visit and enjoy in its own right. In fact, it’s my favourite area of New York!

It’s also particularly helpful if you’re flying in from JFK as it’s the same side of the city.

Henry Norman Hotel £684.28 total

  • Trendy 3.5 star hotel with excellent ratings
  • Greenpoint is another area that’s become a ‘hip’ place to visit in recent years
  • 11 min walk to the G line up to connect to then connect to either the L or the 7 across to Manhattan
  • Also, the hotel provides a shuttle to take you to nearby subway station

Hotel Le Jolie£799 total

  • Basic (but with a modern edge) 2.5 star hotel
  • Very well rated
  • Williamsburg is an AMAZING part of Brooklyn – full of cool shops, cafes, bars and restaurants
  • Great location – just a 7 min walk from L line over to Manhattan (20 mins to Union Square)

Less nice but cheeeap, is the Bogart Hotel for £519 and much more expensive, but super lovely is the Hoxton Williamsburg for £933.

THE REQUEST: Mid August trip in Scotland. Ending in Glasgow. Car hire, beautiful roads & good value

Okay, there’s a lot to unpack here but here are my headlines:

  • Look into the North Coast 500 road trip. James and I did it in 6 days last summer and it was phenomenal
  • Whilst in many places you may have no choice, but always choose B&Bs over hotels. Much better value for money and the breakfasts are EPIC!!!! Check Airbnb too for B&Bs
  • For car hire, Skyscanner is great at giving an overview but also check Turo – it’s like Airbnb but for people’s cars!
  • Also, if you’re very lucky you may be able to relocate a campervan from Edinburgh for £1 A DAY with Spaceship Rentals! The only problem is you’ll probably have to return it to London… But hey, did I mention the £1 a day??!
  • We also ended our trip in Glasgow and went all out by staying at the Dakota hotel. It’s not cheap but we got their Friday night offer (can only be booked via their website) where we both got a cocktail, £25 each towards dinner, a cooked breakfast and a LUSH ROOM for £200 (£100 each). It was a total treat but I would absolutely recommend it, especially after a week of B&Bs!!
Dakota Glasgow
THE REQUEST: More drunk videos of James

Hahaha. We’re off to Croatia on Wednesday so I’m sure there will be more to come. But for now, skip to 37 seconds to keep you going.

This is from the FIRST VLOG I EVER MADE!!! #classicdrunkjames


So, thats it for the second every holiday hotline! I’m so sorry to all the people I didn’t get to – I do hope I can help you out in the future.

Make sure to give me a follow on Instagram if you want to be involved in the next – and let me know if you end up booking any of these!

holiday hotline #1 – solo travel, jordan hacks, dog friendly retreats and birthday fun in budapest

If you’re following me over on Instagram, you may already know that I’ve opened up shop and am taking your holiday requests once a week!

And in the first official ‘holiday hotline’, I had so many requests through that I literally could spend all week searching for getaways for you all.

Alas, I only had a couple of hours to properly research one meaty request and then I thought I’d give my fleeting thoughts to a few others as well.

All of this is over on my stories today and remember, if you’re after a holiday of your own, follow and get ready to submit your own request next time!

THE REQUEST: Perfect solo retreat in Europe first week of July

What a great first query to get stuck into!

Now, if I was planning a solo trip, I’d definitely want to spend some time chilling and enjoying my own company but then I know that I’d definitely get bored and want something or someone to entertain me a little. So what I’m going to suggest is a nice mix of the two.

Now, I’ve clocked the word ‘perfect’ here and thought SHIT THIS IS NOT AN ALL INCLUSIVE CALIPPO ON THE BEACH JOBBY. They want something special. So that’s exactly what I’m going to deliver.

So where are we going?

Well, here’s the flights:

London to Paphos
Sat 29th June – Sun 7th July
£121

Paphos is full of incredible food, archaeological sites, and road trips to beautiful beaches. Plus, at a whopping 4 hours 30 mins flight out there, it’s literally as far as you can get in Europe without hitting the middle east.

Speaking of which…

Paphos to Amman
Weds 3rd July – Sat 6th July
£30

YEH BOI. Not only are we doing Cyprus, but we’re gonna fly on over to Jordan. JUST COZ WE CAN.

Told you this was gonna be spesh.

The top tip here is that you can fly to Jordan from Cyprus for disgustingly cheap. In fact, flying Tuesday to Saturday will cost just £14 return, but the flights for Weds to Sat worked better for what I’ve got planned.

To put into perspective just how cheap these flights are, do you want to see how much it would cost to fly direct from London to Amman on the same dates?

VILE.

But before we get excited by Jordan, let’s get back to Cyprus to talk car hire and accommodation.

Car hire

Paphos and the surrounding area is definitely worth exploring so renting a car will help you to get out during the day if you don’t fancy just chilling at the pool.

The good news is car hire is super cheap at £35 for 4 days.

Paphos Accommodation

There are still so many options available for a whole range of budgets but given what’s coming up in Jordan, I think keeping it on the cheaper (but definitely still cheerful) side will help level out the costs later on.

Paphos Airbnb Studio
Sat 29th June – Weds 3rd July
£47.25 a night / £196 total
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

This studio apartment is the perfect base. With a small kitchen, air conditioning, balcony and access to a shared pool, it ticks a lot of boxes.

You’re also just 700m from the sea and in easy access to sights, restaurants and nightlife. What’s more, you get access via a lockbox meaning you won’t be charged more for that late check in.

I was really impressed with how many options there were both in Paphos and the nearby area so here’s a few more if you’re interested:

Paphos Airbnb Private Room
£19 a night / £76 total

Tala Airbnb Apartment
£54.74 a night / £219 total

Kathikas Airbnb Entire Stone House
£83 a night / £334 total

Pissouri Airbnb Entire Villa w/Private Pool
£97.50 a night / £390 total

And if you fancied chilling out at a hotel instead, this 5 star option is very well priced considering… Well, considering it’s 5 star!

Azia Resort and Spa
£91 a night / £364.16 total

Next stop – Jordan!

The Wednesday is an early start back to the airport to embark on the next adventure.

Named as one of Lonely Planet’s ‘top places to travel in 2019’, now’s your chance to get ahead of the pack before it gets TOO popular.

Some of the most popular reasons to visit include ancient ruins in Petra, the epic desert wilderness of Wadi Rum and the incredible buoyancy of the Dead Sea.

Now, it’s absolutely possible to visit all three of these places from Amman yourself HOWEVER, as a solo traveller you won’t be able to split the cost of a hire car, hotel rooms or a tour guide, so I think this would be a great chance to embark on a group tour. It also gives you the chance to meet new people!

For our trip to Jordan, I’ve found a 4 day tour, that begins with a pickup at Amman airport. Given our early arrival, this also gives us time to explore the city for the day before we get on the road.

Across the next three days, we’ll explore the desert, Petra and visit the Dead Sea all before being brought back in time for our flight home on the Saturday.

The tour is £372 via Tour Radar and includes:

  • 3 star hotel accommodation for 3 nights (though you may well be sharing will a fellow group member)
  • Tour guide in Jordan (for min 5 persons)
  • 3 breakfasts & 2 dinners
  • All transportation and English speaking driver

Not included are your entrance fee to Petra ($60), tips and additional meals but for what works out as £93 a day, I think it’s exceptional value.

This particular tour worked really well for these dates but currently has only 1 review, so I’d definitely recommend chatting more to Tour Radar (they’re the middle man who sells on the tours) before you book. This 3 day tour has loads of great review but didn’t work as well for our dates.

Back to Paphos!

After an incredible four days of exploration, we’ll be ready to relax so for the last evening in Cyprus, I think it’s time to go ALL OUT and stay somewhere lush.

Staying a hotel will also help with that late flight the next day home as they’ll be able to keep hold of our luggage, and we should be able to still chill out by the pool all day should we want to!

Almyra
Sat 6th July – Sun 7th July
£129 a night with breakfast

As I said, I’m all about going cheaper at the beginning so you can stay the last evening in LUXURY.

This hotel is gorgeous. It even features on the Mr & Mrs Smith website which if you don’t know, is like a directory of bloody beautiful hotels. They don’t let any old muck on there.

However, if you’re hoping to spend a little less, there are plenty of other options including:

Azia Resort & Spa
£114 a night

St George Hotel
£76.96 a night

So how much for the whole trip?

Flights – £151
Paphos car hire – £35
Paphos Airbnb Accommodation – £196
Jordan 4 day tour – £372
Paphos luxury hotel – £129
Total = £883

It may not be a ‘budget trip’ but for the price, I think it’s pretty damn special (I TOLD YA SO!!)

What if I don’t have £883? Is there anywhere else you’d recommend?

Yes! For a solo trip I’d definitely recommend getting a cheap flight out to Germany (so many in July for under £60) and using their great train network to visit a few different cities.

Germany in the summer is gorgeous and thanks to the popularity of Europe’s interrail passes, many cities are so ready to embrace people travelling on their own.

Stay in trendy hostels for under £20 a night to meet new people and act as a base for exploring historical cities with GREAT BEER!

Now for a few quick requests.

THE REQUEST: 4 day Italian escape

I went to a wedding in Italy last year and flew into Perugia – a place I’d never heard of before but would definitely visit again.

Explore the beautiful city (and eat at La Taverna – INSANE FOOD!), hire a car and explore the Italian countryside – you’re not far from Tuscany either!

There’s loads of decently priced flight options but I found Fri 28th June – Tues 2nd July for £109 which is pretty good considering it’s the summer.

When I went, I stayed with three friends in this sweet apartment which is set in the grounds of a families LUSCIOUS garden. There’s just two or three other apartments so you often have the pool to yourself. It was GORGEOUS.

THE REQUEST: Can take our 20kg dog without a passport, no/few kids, nice accommodation, good nature

I stayed in dog-friendly The Gallivant right on the beach of Camber Sands in East Sussex last year and it is gorgeous.

With spa treatments, yoga on the beach and a great restaurant, it ticks all the boxes for a boutique getaway that feels like a treat.

What’s more, they only allow babies under 18 months and children over the age of 12.

Rates start at £115 a night and they even have a ‘dog lovers escape‘ deal which is £330 for two nights (Mon – Thurs in Sep-May) with breakfast, afternoon tea, a 3 course dinner, endless dog biscuits and a dog rug, toy and water in your room!

THE REQUEST: The best comparison site?

My go to is Skyscanner but I like to check Momondo for prices, particularly for long haul flights.

I also like Google Flights for spotting cheap fare patterns but then I’d always check the price against those mentioned above.

THE REQUEST: Villa in Portugal (Vilamoura are) for 8 adults, a 4 year old and 6 month old

Get on the ol’ Airbnb and my top tip is to not forget about the other websites too!

Hometogo is a handy website for comparing holiday rental sites (it saves you a hell of a lot of time!) – though unfortunately they don’t compare Airbnb!

Also, sites like Booking.com now offer apartments and villas so try searching there too.

THE REQUEST: Looking to go Copenhagen for 2 nights in Dec for 3 adults & 2 children

Manchester to Copenhagen
Fri 6th Dec – Sun 8th Dec
£69 each

Central Airbnb
£388 for 2 nights
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

4* hotel – 1 x Superior Extra and 1 x Standard room
£555

1* hotel – 1 x Double Room + 2 extra beds and 1 x Single Standard room
£350

Make sure to visit Tivoli theme park – it’s beautiful at Christmas!!

THE REQUEST: Budapest in Nov for 40th birthday

Bristol to Budapest
Thurs 7th Nov – Sat 9th Nov
£68

You can also go for 5 nights, returning on Thursday 14th Nov for the same price!

Since you’re celebrating your 40th, it only seems right that you should stay somewhere nice. Both of these are great boutique hotel options!

Hotel Moments
£109 a night with breakfast

Brody House
£120 a night with breakfast


Right, that’s all for the first official holiday hotline!

Make sure to give me a follow on Instagram if you want to be involved in the next – and let me know if you end up booking any of these!


I have used affiliate links throughout this article. They don’t charge you more (in fact, I’ve put non-affiliate links where that’s the case), but if you book through them you’ll be helping me to continue my cheap travel booking hobbies. For full transparency, I make around 10p if you book a flight through one of my links so… Yeh. NO ONE’S GETTING RICH HERE PAL 😂

how to fly to the europa league 2019 final in Baku on a budget

First the mad scurry to get to the Champions League in Madrid and now both Chelsea and Arsenal have made it to the final in Baku on Wednesday 29th May 2019. Cue airfare meltdown.

Unfortunately, Baku isn’t going to be quite as easy as my deep dive into cheap ways to get to Spain. But let’s see what we can do here, pals.

Before I crack on, if you find that this helps you at all, feel free to help a gal out by giving me a follow on either YouTubeInstagram or Twitter and I promise even more top money saving tips when it comes to your future travel.

In this post, I’ll be exploring the following. Either scroll through or click on which bit applies to you:

  1. Where is Baku and will I need a visa?
  2. Direct flights from London from £604
  3. Cheapest 1+ stop flights from the UK from £451
  4. Fly from just £289 one way by DOING IT YOURSELF

First Things First

Where the bloody hell is Baku? And WILL I NEED A visa?

Baku is ‘the capital and commercial hub’ of Azerbaijan. A place I literally only know of due to their yearly inclusion in the Eurovision. But if they’re in Eurovision, surely we can all jump in our cars and embark on an epic road trip, right?

Ah, rigggghht.

I mean, if driving 60 hours is your kinda ‘thing’, then go for it pal. But just remember that you’ll need to get an eVisa sorted for scurrying through Turkey.

Speaking of visas, you will need an eVisa to get into Azerbaijan but fortunately, it’s a simple process that you can do over the internet that will set you back around £20. Make sure to select ‘Europa League Final’ in the ‘purpose of visit’ and give yourself at least three working days to get it sorted.

On to the flights…

DIRECT FLIGHTS FROM LONDON TO BAKU

This section should otherwise be named, ‘let’s all have a big laugh, shall we?’

Direct flights are as good as gone, unless you fancy a 12 day trip to Baku for £609 instead:

Seems a bit of a hassle.

The next best thing I could find was this weeklong schlep with one direct flight for a cool £764.

It is worth saying that airlines are obviously aware of the demand and so may put extra planes on. Sure, they’ll hike up the prices, but if you really need get there and back in a sharpish manner, it may be worth keeping an eye on Azerbaijan Airlines.

Anything cheaper?

CHEAPEST 1+ STOP FLIGHTS FROM LONDON

Remember – if you’re not flying direct, you may have to re-check your bag and even go through security again so make sure there’s enough time. My top tip would be to not check in any bags at all to make this as simple as possible for you.

Tues 28th May – Thurs 30th May

Let’s pause for a moment here to rinse our eyes out with bleach.

£1566 for a NOT EVEN DIRECT FLIGHT to Baku? Get a grip, love.

Unfortunately, these really are the cheapest flights you’re going to find that don’t involve 15+ hours with multiple transfer. But, because we don’t have many options here, let’s take a look at these too:

TOP TIP: when searching for a flight that needs to get me into somewhere for a certain time, I always search on Momondo as they allow you to filter by landing time.

Weds 29th May – Fri 31st May

With the game kicking off at 11pm Azerbaijan time (thanks to @Mattswfc1 for pointing this out on Twitter 🙈) the following flight might just work… But it would be tight!

Tues 28th May – Fri 31st May

One stop only is still a sickening mess at £1463:

Whack in a few more stops and you only need pay £704! WHAT A BARGAIN! (Please sense my intense sarcasm).

Tues 28th May – Sat 1st June

One stop from £1276:

Two stops from £695:

Can you tell I’m getting bored of the repetitive high prices yet? Okay, what’s it going to take to find a sub £500 ticket? WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE?!

Mon 27th May – Mon 3rd June

A week off and a change in Stuttgart, Ankara and Riga, that’s what!

And what about for a sub 10 hour leg and a sub £500 ticket?

Sun 26th May – Tues 4th June

Yeah. I couldn’t actually find one in the timeframe/lost the will to live. FFS BAKU!

Right, let’s try doing it ourselves instead.

HOW TO FIND YOUR OWN CONNECTING FLIGHTS FOR LESS

Search engines like Skyscanner and Momondo are good, but they can’t always show you every single possible connection. So this is a little trick may be useful now, and worth holding onto for the future too.

To do this:

  • Open a new browsing tab – we’re going to call this tab one – and go to Skyscanner and in ‘From’ type in your departure airport
  • Next, in ‘To’, write ‘Everywhere’
  • Select the date you’d like travel on
  • This will bring up a list of countries in price order – leave this open
  • In a new tab – this will be referred to as tab two – again, go to Skyscanner but this time, write ‘Baku’ underneath the ‘To’ box
  • In the ‘From’, you’re going to look back at that list of cheap countries in tab one
  • For a European city (I used this tactic to find super cheap flights for the Champions League final in Madrid), I’d usually go through the list one by one but for Baku, we know that not many places are going to fly there. So whilst we may find a cheaper fare from these places listed (and therefore they may be worth checking) it’s likely that they’re going to be pretty gnarly flights.
  • Therefore, I’m going to now head over to the Baku arrivals page to see where may be a good place to invest my efforts.
  • Straightaway I’m getting Turkish vibes so I scroll through the list of cheap countries listed to me in tab one and find direct flights from London to Turkey for £53 on Tuesday 28th May
  • Next, I head back to tab two and enter ‘Turkey as my departure country to Baku and hit search
  • Unfortunately Antalya’s one flight is really early in the morning but there are a few viable options for Istanbul, so I head back to tab one and see what’s available from London to Istanbul on Tues 28th May:
  • Now, there are cheaper flights with Pegasus but these fly into Istanbul SAW airport which is the other side of the city. HOWEVER – I have actually had to travel between SAW and IST airports in rush hour before and it took around 1 hour 45 minutes and just £35 in a taxi using their app, Bitaksi – BUT, you would have to buy an eVisa for entering the country so I guess it all adds up!
  • Heading back to tab two, I see if any of the flights from Istanbul to Baku work and they do!

THE BORING BUT IMPORTANT PART:

  • As you are booking two flights separately, it will look like to Turkish Airlines that you are ending your journey in Istanbul and therefore they are well within their right to check that you have a Turkish eVisa before allowing you to board the flight. It may be that by showing them your next booked flight they accept that you do not need it, but PLEASE CHECK THIS WITH THEM DIRECTLY BEFOREHAND. It’s only $20 and is a quick process online, but check before you turn up to the airport.
  • Secondly, whilst 2 hours and 25 minutes sounds like more than enough time to connect to your next flight, each airport has a different process and whilst you may not want to leave the airport, you may be obliged to go through immigration and re-check in to get onto your next flight so again CHECK WITH YOUR AIRLINES!

Update: Joe who has family in Turkey has done us a solid and given his first hand experience of all of this!

  • I would definitely recommend not checking in a bag so that you won’t have a reason to leave the airport!

If you can indeed stay in transit then that 9 hour trip for £289 is a pretty sweet deal (and just £306 for a longer, but much less risky journey) – especially when you look at the one way options that Skyscanner offer up. That’s a saving over over £661.

Now, you just need to do the same trick for the flight back and believe me, finding it and knowing you’ve saved hundreds of pounds is half the fun!!


I hope this has helped you find a flight that works for both your budget and your schedule. If you end up booking something, let me know so I can holiday vicariously through you!

And if you’ve found this useful, give me a follow over on YouTubeInstagram and Twitter for even more cheap travel tips.


I have used 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 – and make me feel better about spending my Saturday morning in bed researching this!! For total transparency though, I’ll have you know my post about the Champions League directed thousands of clicks to sites and I made £6 from it. SIX POUNDS. And that bad boy took me 8 hours to write up 🤣🤣🤣

how to fly to the champions league 2019 final on a budget

With both Spurs and Liverpool through to the Champions League final in Madrid on Saturday 1st June 2019, flights to the Spanish capital from the UK have sky rocketed:

Jesus wept.

Therefore, I’ve pulled together a load of different ways that you can get yourself over to the final for less.

If this helps you at all, feel free to help a gal out by giving me a follow on either YouTube, Instagram or Twitter and I promise even more top money saving tips when it comes to your future travel.

Right. ONWARDS!

I’m going to take you through five different options. Click on what you’re after to head straight to that section:

  1. The cheapest flights from London, Liverpool and Manchester that only require up to one day off
  2. The cheapest flights from London, Liverpool and Manchester if you can be flexible with your dates
  3. The cheapest flights leaving from alternative UK airports
  4. The cheapest flights to alternative Spanish airports
  5. WILDCARD – Do it yourself and fly from as little as £119 each way

Scenario One

THE CHEAPEST FLIGHTS FROM LONDON, LIVERPOOL AND MANCHESTER
(that only require up to one day off)

The headline here is that the only way you’re going to be able to pull this off for under £500 is to do a one stop flight.

For all of these one stop flights, I haven’t included any overnight waits but warning – there are some long layovers…

I didn’t say it was gonna be pretty.

From London
Fri 31st May – Sun 2nd June
£379

From London
Sat 1st June – Mon 3rd June
£284 (there’s also a flight with a 4 hour 55 min return for £349)

From Liverpool
Sat 1st May – Sun 2nd June
£504 (just nipped over from £499 this morning – genuinely this was the best deal I could find!!)

From Manchester
Sat 1st May – Mon 3rd June
£498 – Rising quickly – last night’s best price was £379 (though the flights included longer layovers).


Scenario Two

THE CHEAPEST FLIGHTS FROM LONDON, LIVERPOOL AND MANCHESTER
(if you can be flexible with your dates)

London – All direct

Thurs 30th May – Mon 3rd June – £812 (08/05 price £710)
Thurs 30th May – Tues 4th June – £379 (08/05 price £418)
Thurs 30th May – Weds 5th June – £287 (08/05 price £288)
Thurs 30th May – Thurs 6th June – £268 (08/05 price £291)
Weds 29th May – Mon 3rd June – £532 (08/05 price £465)
Weds 29th May – Tues 4th June – £156 (08/05 price £143)
Weds 29th May – Weds 5th June – £56 (08/05 price £63)

Liverpool – see details

Thurs 30th May – Mon 3rd June – £481 – 1 stop (08/05 price £437)
Thurs 30th May – Tues 4th June – £244 – 1 stop (08/05 price £303)
Thurs 30th May – Weds 5th June – £380 – 1 stop/direct (08/05 price £378)
Weds 29th May – Mon 3rd June – £355 – 1 stop (08/05 price £311)
Weds 29th May – Tues 4th June – £201 – 1 stop (08/05 price £194)
Weds 29th May – Weds 5th June – £618 – direct (08/05 price £588)
Weds 29th May – Weds 5th June – £265 – 1 stop/direct (08/05 price £252)

Next direct and cheap(ish!) flight is:
Mon 27th May – Mon 10th June – £371

Manchester – see details

Thurs 30th May – Mon 3rd June – £344 – 1 stop (08/05 price £475)
Thurs 30th May – Tues 4th June – £870 – direct (08/05 price £866)
Thurs 30th May – Tues 4th June – £320 – 1 stop (08/05 price £303)
Thurs 30th May – Weds 5th June – £240 – 1 stop/direct (08/05 price £231)
Weds 29th May – Mon 3rd June – £397 – 1 stop
Weds 29th May – Tues 4th June – £240 – 1 stop (08/05 price £223)
Weds 29th May – Weds 5th June – £153 – 1 stop/direct (08/05 price £146)
Weds 29th May – Thurs 6th June – £120 – 1 stop/direct

Next direct and cheap(ish!) flight is:
Tues 28th May – Thurs 6th June – £210

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


Scenario Three

THE CHEAPEST FLIGHTS LEAVING FROM ALTERNATIVE AIRPORTS

Whilst flying from your nearest airport may be the most convenient, have you thought about travelling within the UK first to get the price down?

This is also one for those Liverpool and Spurs fans that don’t reside in London or Liverpool!

Now there were quite a few good deals to be found here but since Tottenham qualified, many have been snapped up – GODDAMIT!

FRIDAY 31ST MAY – SUNDAY 2ND JUNE

One stop
Bristol – £375 (includes overnight layover) (09/05 price £375)

FRIDAY 31ST MAY – MON 3RD JUNE

All one stop
Edinburgh – £335 (08/05 £364)
Southampton – £450 (08/05 price £417)
Bristol – £394 (08/05 price £383)

SATURDAY 1ST JUNE – MON 3RD JUNE

All one stop
Cardiff – £332
Birmingham – £358


Scenario Four


THE CHEAPEST DIRECT FLIGHTS TO ALTERNATIVE SPANISH AIRPORTS

VALENCIA

  • 1 hour 40 train from Valencia to Madrid – around £80 return for 1 adult
  • 3 hours 40 drive from Valencia to Madrid – car hire as cheap as £5 a day!

London to Valencia – All direct (these have FLOWN up since Spurs qualified)

Thurs 30th May – Sun 2nd June – £429 (08/05 £572)
Fri 31st May – Sun 2nd June – £586 (08/05 £797)
Fri 31st May – Mon 3rd June – £546 (08/05 £574)
Fri 31st May – Tues 4th June – £293 (08/05 price £396)
Sat 1st June – Sun 3rd June – £1118!!! (08/05 price £570)
Sat 1st June – Mon 3rd June – £637 (08/05 price £492)
Sat 1st June – Tues 4th June – £590 (08/05 price £314)

Liverpool to Valencia – One stop

Fri 31st May – Tues 3th Jun – £415 (cheaper option for overnight layover)

Manchester to Valencia – One stop

Fri 31st May – Fri 7th June – £289 (cheaper option for longer durations)

East Midlands to Valencia – Direct

Tues 28th May – Tues 4th June – £254 (08/05 price £136)

Bristol to Valencia – Direct

Fri 31st May – Mon 3rd June – £468 (08/05 price £466)
Fri 31st May – Fri 7th June – £254

Edinburgh to Valencia – Direct

Thurs 30th May – Tues 4th June – £185

BILBAO

  • 4 hours 10 min bus from Bilbao to Madrid – prices from around £50 return
  • 4 hours drive from Bilbao to Madrid – car hire as cheap as £7 a day!

London to Bilbao – All direct

Thurs 30th May – Sun 2nd June – £341 (08/05 price £452)
Fri 31st May – Sun 2nd June – £768 (08/05 price £761)
Fri 31st May – Mon 3rd June – £494 (08/05 price £358)
Fri 31st May – Tues 4th June – £255 (08/05 price £126)
Sat 1st June – Sun 3rd June – £516 (08/05 price £522)
Sat 1st June – Mon 3rd June – £494 (08/05 price £281)
Sat 1st June – Tues 4th June – £228 (08/05 price £79)

Manchester to Bilbao – All direct

Fri 31st May – Tues 4th June – £469 (08/05 price £485)

Bristol to Bilbao – All direct

Thurs 30th May – Sun 2nd June – £509 (08/05 price £474)
Thurs 30th May – Tues 4th June – £199 (08/05 price £170)

Edinburgh to Bilbao – All direct

Weds 29th May – Sun 2nd June – £260 (08/05 price £261)

BARCELONA

London to Barcelona – All direct

Thurs 30th May – Mon 3rd June – £273
Thurs 30th May – Tues 4th June – £143
Thurs 30th May – Weds 5th June – £81
Fri 31st May – Mon 3rd June – £320

Liverpool to Barcelona – All direct

Fri 31st May – Tues 4th June – £454

Manchester to Barcelona – All direct

Thurs 30th May – Mon 3rd June – £633
Thurs 30th May – Tues 4th June – £323
Thurs 30th May – Weds 5th June – £272
Fri 31st May – Mon 3rd June – £742
Fri 31st May – Tues 4th June – £431
Fri 31st May – Weds 5th June – £380

Birmingham to Barcelona – All direct

Thurs 30th May – Mon 3rd June – £599
Thurs 30th May – Tues 4th June – £341
Thurs 30th May – Weds 5th June – £261
Fri 31st May – Sun 2nd June – £531 (note that morning flight back!)
Fri 31st May – Mon 3rd June – £531

Bristol to Barcelona – All direct

Thurs 30th May – Mon 3rd June – £354
Thurs 30th May – Tues 4th June – £171
Fri 31st May – Mon 3rd June – £437
Fri 31st June – Tues 4th June – £254

Cardiff to Barcelona – All direct

Tues 28th May – Tues 4th June – £72

Glasgow to Barcelona – All direct

Thurs 30th May – Sun 2nd June – £268 (note that 1215 flight home!)
Thurs 30th May – Mon 3rd June – £227
Fri 31st May – Mon 3rd June – £315

East Midlands to Barcelona – one stop/one direct

Fri 31st May – Mon 3rd June – £364

Newcastle to Barcelona – All direct

Thurs 30th May – Sun 2nd June – £477
Thurs 30th May – Mon 3rd June – £336
Thurs 30th May – Tues 4th June – £167
Fri 31st May – Sun 2nd June – £551
Fri 31st May – Mon 3rd June – £410
Fri 31st May – Tues 4th June – £241

Edinburgh to Barcelona – All direct

Fri 31st May – Mon 3rd June – £351

SANTANDER

  • 4 hour 7 train from Santander to Madrid  – around £75 return for 1 adult (but they don’t run often so check those times!)
  • 5 hour drive from Santander to Madrid – car hire as cheap as £8 a day!

London to Santander – All direct

Thurs 30th May – Mon 3rd June – £280 (08/05 price £241)
Thurs 30th May – Tues 4th June – £121 (08/05 price £109)

Edinburgh to Santander – All direct

Weds 29th May – Sun 2nd June – £176 (08/05 price £150)
Weds 29th May – Sun 5th June – £107 (08/05 price £82)

SEVILLE

  • 2 hours 30 min train from Seville to Madrid for around £110 return
  • 5 hours drive – car hire from only £7 a day

London to Seville – All direct

Thurs 30th May – Mon 3rd Jun – £392
Thurs 30th May – Tues 4th Jun – £225
Fri 31st May – Mon 3rd Jun – £607
Fri 31st May – Tues 4th June – £344

Manchester to Seville – All direct

Weds 29th May – Mon 3rd June – £403
Weds 29th May – Weds 5th June – £225

Bristol to Seville – All direct

Tues 28th May – Tues 4th June – £54

East Midlands to Seville – All direct

Tues 28th May – Tues 4th June – £117

Edinburgh to Seville – All direct

Thurs 30th May – Mon 3rd June – £257
Thurs 30th May – Tues 4th June – £143

REUS

  • 6 hour overnight bus from Reus to Madrid and 7 hour bus back to Reus around £70 return (they don’t run often so check before booking)
  • 6 hour drive from Reus to Madrid – car hire as cheap as £17 a day!

London to Reus – All direct

Thurs 30th May – Sun 2nd June – £313 (08/05 price £313)
Thurs 30th May – Mon 3rd June – £339 (08/05 price £321)
Fri 31st May – Sun 2nd June – £419 (08/05 price £395)
Fri 31st May – Mon 3rd June – £364 (08/05 price £319)
Fri 31st May – Tues 4th June – £199 (08/05 price £174)

Manchester to Reus – All direct

Thurs 30th May – Tues 4th June – £292 (08/05 price £292)

East Midlands to Reus – All direct

Thurs 30th May – Sun 2nd June – £340 (08/05 price £311)
Thurs 30th May – Mon 3rd June – £336 (08/05 price £305)
Thurs 30th May – Tues 4th June – £158 (08/05 price £138)
Fri 31st May – Sun 2nd June – £428 (08/05 price £419)
Fri 31st May – Mon 3rd June – £364 (08/05 price £364)
Fri 31st May – Tues 4th June – £219 (08/05 price £239)

Birmingham to Reus – All direct

Thurs 30th May – Tues 4th June – £174 (08/05 price £174)

Glasgow to Reus – All direct

Fri 31st May – Tues 4th June – £206 (08/05 price £205)

Leeds to Reus – All direct

Fri 31st May – Tues 4th June – £255 (08/05 price £141)

MALAGA

  • 2 hours 45 mins train from Malaga to Madrid for around £116 return
  • 5 hour 20 min drive from Malaga to Madrid – car hire as cheap as £1 a day (erm, wtf lads?)

London to Malaga – All direct

Thurs 30th May – Tues 4th June – £146
Fri 31st May – Sun 2nd June – £456 (1100 flight – 2240 is £604)
Fri 31st May – Weds 5th June – £179

Liverpool to Malaga – All direct

Thurs 30th May – Sun 2nd June – £752 (1000 flight)

Manchester to Malaga – All direct

Thurs 30th May – Sun 2nd June – £605 (1050 flight – 2110 flight is £649)
Thurs 30th May – Mon 3rd June – £577
Thurs 30th May – Tues 4th June – £396

Birmingham to Malaga – All direct

Thurs 30th May – Mon 3rd June – £407
Fri 31st May – Sun 2nd June – £511 (1225 flight – 2120 is £680)

Southampton to Malaga – All direct

Fri 31st May – Weds 5th June – £280

Norwich to Malaga – All direct

Thurs 30th May – Mon 3rd June – £453

Leeds to Malaga – All direct

Thurs 30th May – Sun 2nd June – £468 (1205 flight – 2135 £563)
Thurs 30th May – Mon 3rd June – £448
Fri 31st May – Sun 2nd June – £523 (1205 flight – 2135 flight is £622)
Fri 31st May – Mon 3rd June – £473
Fri 31st May – Tues 4th June – £298

Glasgow to Malaga – All direct

Thurs 30th May – Sun 2nd June – £456
Thurs 30th May – Mon 3rd June – £324
Thurs 30th May – Tues 4th June – £187
Fri 31st May – Sun 2nd June – £422 (1325 flight – 2045 is £488)
Fri 31st May – Mon 3rd June – £354
Fri 31st May – Tues 4th June – £248

Exeter to Malaga – All direct

Thurs 30th May – Mon 3rd June – £196

Edinburgh to Malaga – All direct

Thurs 30th May – Sun 2nd June – £355
Thurs 30th May – Mon 3rd June – £235
Fri 31st May – Sun 2nd June – £435
Fri 31st May – Mon 3rd June – £315

East Midlands to Malaga – All direct

Fri 31st May – Mon 3rd June – £473

Bristol to Malaga – All direct

Thurs 30th May – Mon 3rd Jun – £275
Fri 31st May – Sun 2nd June – £399 (1210 flight – 2350 flight is £630)
Fri 31st May – Mon 3rd June – £369

Belfast to Malaga – All direct

Fri 31st May – Sun 2nd Jun – £440


Scenario Five

LASTLY – DO IT YOURSELF AND SAVE EVEN MORE

Okay, so for all of these I’ve done a standard ‘whack it in Skyscanner and hope’ jobby but actually, you can save even more if you have a little play around with these ‘one stop’ options yourself.

To do this:

  • Open a new browsing tab – we’re going to call this tab one – and go to Skyscanner and in ‘From’ type in your departure airport
  • Next, in ‘To’, write ‘Everywhere’
  • Select the date you’d like to travel to Madrid
  • This will bring up a list of countries in price order – leave this open
  • In a new tab – this will be referred to as tab two – again, go to Skyscanner but this time, write ‘Madrid’ underneath the ‘To’ box
  • In the ‘From’, you’re going to look back at that lovely list of cheap countries in tab one
  • For example, for London, my results show that flight to Germany start from £10 so I’m going to go back to tab two and enter ‘Germany’ as my departure country and hit search
  • Straight away it tells me that I can fly from Berlin to Madrid for £54 and from Hamburg to Madrid for £56 – pretty good – and so now I head back to my London list in tab one to see how much they’re coming up as
  • Hamburg is pretty pricey at £125 but Berlin is coming in at £44
  • Next, return to each of your tabs to inspect the flights you’ve found to see if they could work together
  • You want to check that they’re getting into the same airport and that you’ll have enough time to get on your connecting flight
  • Here’s what I found:

London to Berlin

Berlin to Madrid

From the above, I think the £80 LTN flight at 1325 and the £39 TXL flight work well. They both use the same airport – so no having to change – plus there’s more than enough time to make my connection. And at £119, it’s a pretty great price too.

This option simply does not come up on Skyscanner – or if it does, it gets lost in the results. In fact, these are the cheapest one stop options it comes up with:

Now, this was just my first try and so with this method, there’s huge potential to save even more money when booking your flights to the Champion’s League final in Madrid!

And remember – this way, you also don’t have to fly from and back into the same airport so check all the options to be in with a chance of bagging super cheap flights.

Good luck!


I hope this has helped you find a flight that works for both your budget and your schedule. If you end up booking something, let me know so I can holiday vicariously through you.

And if you’ve found this useful, give me a follow over on YouTube, Instagram and Twitter for even more cheap travel tips.


I have used 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 – and make me feel better about spending about 8 hours researching this!! For total transparency though, I’ll have you know that after 2 years, I still haven’t made enough money from affiliate links to actually withdraw anything 😂😂😂

how to stay in luxury accommodation in Iceland on a budget

Here’s how you can stay in this luxury home in Iceland for just £27 a night.

With Iceland not being known as a ‘budget destination’, we were quite ready to spend our week traversing the ring road in pretty basic accommodation.

So imagine James’ face when we turned up here:

It is genuinely one of the most beautiful places I have ever stayed in.

But a place like this is likely to set you back hundreds of pounds a night, right?

Wrong.

Here slides in one of my favourite websites: Love Home Swap.

Love Home Swap is what it sounds like – a website that allows you to swap your home with other people across the globe.

Yet, if like me, you think ‘who in their right mind would swap their luxury pad for my gaff?’ then don’t be put off just yet, because they offer an alternative service that for me, has worked an absolute treat.

It’s called a points swap. Quite simply, instead of swapping our home, we swapped points to stay at this beautiful cabin in Iceland.

So how do I get points?

On joining the website, you’ll be allocated points. At the time of writing, these are the current rates:

Lite – 0 points
Standard – 200 points
Premium – 500 points

With my refer a friend link, you get 25% off your first year which brings the Premium membership to £9 a month. You do have to pay in full so this will set you back £108.

Whilst this can feel like a lot, let’s take the Icelandic home of DREAMS you’ve seen above as an example.

On Love Home Swap, it’s 220 points a night meaning that with the Premium membership, you can ‘afford’ to stay there for two nights.

Two nights = 440 points
Premium membership = £108

Therefore, the nightly price would equal £54 costing just £27 each if two of you were staying.

It’s worth saying that this place sleeps SIX (two doubles and two single beds), so if you were heading there with a group, it would be just £9 a night each.

Absolute madness.

Do I have to add my home when signing up?

Yes you do! The crux of this website is swapping your home with someone else, yet the points swap allows you to get started without having someone come and stay at your place.

Do I have to pay up before I’ve booked the place?

You do have to sign up before you can confirm a home but you will get a two week free trial when you sign up that allows you to message people and get something in place before you spend your money.

This is exactly what I did when I used Love Home Swap for the first time for a trip to New York. And look where we ended up!

How likely is it that we’ll find a place?

It depends on where you’re going. Big cities and popular tourist destinations will tend to have more options, but a lot of it does come down to whether the owner has availability, whether they’re wanting to do a points swap (some don’t offer this) and whether you have enough points!

I found it really difficult to find a place in New York and it took me four weeks (I had a month free trial) to bag my place. However with Iceland, I actually found four different places that would accept my points, so it all just depends!

Whatever you find, just make sure you put a reminder in to cancel your membership before your trial is up so that it doesn’t end up costing you a thing.

From my own experience, Love Home Swap’s customer service is brilliant and they were in constant contact with my during my free trial to see if they could help.

How easy is it to cancel?

You’re in touch with a real person by email and so cancelling would be very straightforward if that’s what you needed to do. You can also reach them by phone.

What tips would you give for finding a swap?

Love Home Swap is a community. Whilst they do now have some places that allow you to book ‘instantly’, this isn’t like booking a place on Booking.com or Airbnb. These are largely people’s homes and therefore you may have to wait a little longer for a response and you can’t demand services in the same way that you could with a hotel.

Also, you book homes through messages so my top tip would be to be personable and warm. Tell your potential hostees about yourself. Why are you visiting the area? What are you excited about? What do you like about their home?

If they’ve got five different people offering the same deal, what would make them choose you over the others?

Also, especially if you sign up for the Premium service, you get access to the site’s dedicated ‘Swap Team’ who can find places that match your wants. Use this! It’s their job to help and it will make your search so much easier.

Do you offer a discount?

Why YES I DO cheers for asking pal 🤣 Love Home Swap have a refer a friend scheme that’s open to all their members which gives mates 25% off the prices online. This is genuinely the cheapest way for you to sign up:

2 weeks free trial and 25% off

What do I get in return? 3 months free membership! Cheers lads.

Are you getting paid to tell me all this?

No. I’ve been a full paying member of Love Home Swap for two years and will continue paying whether people use my link or not. In my second year I paid £180 for my standard membership and having already stayed four nights in Napa and two nights in Iceland, it’s more than paid for itself already.

I’ve used all my points up, what do I do now?

I would absolutely recommend getting involved with the Love Home Swap community and accepting points swaps of your own! We’ve had a few people stay at our place when we were away and the points we’ve earned have allowed us to continue our cheap travels.

I don’t fancy home swapping – can I still do an Icelandic road trip for a similar price?

Absolutely. I already had two guesthouses lined up if Love Home Swap didn’t work out.

The first was Centric Guesthouse in Reykjavik .

£33.50 a night each for a double room with private bathroom.

We would have then got on the road first thing in the morning and made our way over to do the Golden Circle.

The second night would have been staying properly nestled into the Golden Circle route in Flagbjarnarholt (catchy) at Elin Guesthouse.

£30 a night each with a shared bathroom, but this property had an outdoor hot tub!

Sure, they’re not as fancy as where we ended up but both are clean and highly rated. They also have access to a shared kitchen meaning that you can really keep costs down when you’re on the road.

Coming up, we’ll be staying in a similar guest house so check back for what we made of it!

the ultimate checklist for finding cheap flights

Finding a cheap flight is a complex beast.

One time it may be a 10 minute job, the next you may spend hours going round in circles, feeling like you’re the main character in a heist movie.

Attention!

This post is a little epic (Homer eat your heart out) as I wanted to compile all the information in one place so I definitely recommend saving for when you’re about to book and then clicking on the scenario that’s most relevant for you:

The first five are fairly straightforward but the latter is my ultimate checklist.

This is something I’ve added to over the years and that I use to squeeze out extra deals. It’s literally all my trade secrets in ONE PLACE 🙈😂

So if you’re somewhat travel savvy already, then I’d head straight there.

Unless, like me, you love this kind of thing, this is a bit of a long read and so remember to bookmark or pin this article so that you can pop back when booking any flights in the future.

Pin me on Pinterest!

This post does include some affiliate links. They won’t boost the price for you, but they will help me to continue running this site!


Before we get cracking, here’s a few things to bear in mind off the bat:

  • Always do your searches in private or incognito mode so that sites don’t inflate prices that you’ve searched repeatedly. This isn’t always needed, but it doesn’t hurt to use it as standard.
  • If you’re spending more than £100 per ticket, always book on a credit card as you’ll have payment protection if the seller goes bust, or the product isn’t as described

Scenario One

WHEN YOU’RE FLEXIBLE ON DATES AND DESTINATION

Option one:

  • Head to Skyscanner, type in your departure airport, click on ‘whole month’ and then select ‘cheapest month’ for your dates
    • You can also type in just your city, e.g. ‘London’ or country, e.g. ‘United Kingdom’, and tick ‘add nearby airports’ for even more options
    • If you’re overwhelmed by results, try selecting whole months instead
    • Good to know: Skyscanner vets all of the travel agents they use and monitor them closely.
Screenshot 2019-02-20 at 16.52.58

Option two:

  • Similar to Skyscanner, you can use Kayak’s flight page to search ‘Anywhere’, however more fun is their ‘explore‘ function which can be accessed by clicking on ‘explore’ in the homepage’s menu (this may be hidden in ‘more’) and pop in your date range and duration
    • Here you’ll gain a map view of potential destinations which is a great visual tool!
    • (Skyscanner actually has a map view too but… I prefer Kayak!)
Kayak

Option three:

  • Head to Ryanair’s Fare Finder – yes, you can only search their flights but the search options are AMAZING. If only all sites had this functionality!
  • First things first, get past the initial page as you can really tailor your search on the next page
  • What I love is that not only can you search ‘anywhere’ and ‘anytime’, but you can also look at the next 3 months and, my favourite, date ranges!

Option four:

Lastly:

  • Before booking, check your chosen flights on momondo – sometimes they’ll find cheaper prices, though this tends to be for long haul flights
    • momondo seem a bit more relaxed on the travel agents they use (hence, the greater range of prices!) so if you’re feeling nervous, check their rating on trustpilot

Scenario Two

WHEN YOU’RE FLEXIBLE ON DATES BUT KNOW THE DESTINATION

Option one:

  • Head to Google Flights, type in your destination and click ‘reset’ on the dates to reveal a calendar that clearly shows you the best prices
  • Don’t worry if you don’t know your trip duration, the calendar shows all options so just ignore this at the bottom
  • What is fantastic about Google Flights is that once you’ve selected your dates, you can also add in a range of filters including bags, stops and times that really help when you need to be specific.
  • It also suggest tips, such as the fact you can fly the same route Premium for £753.
  • Google Flights is amazing for spotting patterns of when cheap flights land however, they often do not show the cheapest prices so once you have your dates, remember to check against Skyscanner and momondo

Option two:

  • Head to Skyscanner, type in your intended destination, click on ‘whole month’ and then select ‘cheapest month’, or, if you know what month you’d like to travel, select that instead
Skyscanner Destination
  • Similarly, you can try Kayak’s flight page which allows you some flexibility on your dates but personally, I prefer Skyscanner’s offering
  • However, there is a weekend option which is good for finding those annual leave friendly flights
  • Also, I really like the explore option that allows you to search a map
  • The explore function also has a ‘holidays’ option that lets you search school holiday dates

Lastly:

  • Once more, before you book, do check your chosen flights on momondo as you may be able to get a cheaper deal here

Scenario Three

WHEN YOU’RE FLEXIBLE ON DESTINATION BUT KNOW YOUR DATES

Option one:

  • Head to Skyscanner, type in ‘everywhere’, and then pop in your dates
Skyscanner flex dest

Option two:

  • Head to Kayak and peruse their explore function to visualise where you could go on a map!

Lastly:

  • Again, remember to whack in your chosen details into momondo as you may save a few bob using this site

Scenario Four

WHEN YOU KNOW YOUR DATES AND THE DESTINATION

Option one:

  • Head to Google Flights, fill in what you want and use their clever filters to navigate the best price once you’ve added all your preferences – check in bags, departure times, stops, etc.
  • This is handy as other search engines may only allow you to search these extras once you’ve selected a flight and so if a particular airline has a cheap fare but an astronomical price for luggage, you’ll be able to spot that using Google easier
  • Once you have this knowledge, or if you simply want the cheapest of the cheap, head on over to Skyscanner and momondo to double and triple check the costs

Lastly:

  • As flight prices can go up and down, it can be sometimes difficult to gauge if you’re getting it for the cheapest price possible. Whilst there’s a lot of theories about when is the best time to book, on a Sunday for example, but it often comes down to market demand – which can be very hard to plot!
  • However, a more scientific way to gauge this is using apps and the Hopper app uses stats to tell you whether to pounce or wait it out
  • I’ve used the app for over a year now and I will admit that I have totally ignored it’s warnings, and gone on to find cheaper flights, HOWEVER, what it is very good for is flagging when you’ve found a KILLER deal – particularly on long haul
  • I’ve also picked up that in general, the closer you get to the date of departure, the more expensive it’s going to get. Just because a flight isn’t sold out, doesn’t mean they’re going to flog the seats for cheap. I once paid £355 (okay fine, work paid) for a last minute flight to Luxembourg and when I got on board, there were only 10 other people on it!

You still with me? Good. Because now is the time to reveal all those little tricks I’ve picked up over the years that can save you hundreds of pounds.

They won’t all work for your specific trip, but what I hope they’ll do is help you develop alternative methods that will not only help you save money, but make you feel like a TOTAL TRAVEL GURU!


Here we go.

THE ULTIMATE CHEAP FLIGHT CHECKLIST

  • Find your accommodation first
    • Well. This isn’t what you expected, was it? But before we get down to the nitty gritty, I wanted to just pop my head up and go ‘yes cheap flights are brilliant and all that but…’ – do not let a cheap flight distract you from the fact that accommodation tends to be the biggest cost when going away.
    • SO. Do have a look at that first because if it means paying an extra £50 for your flight, it will be well worth it if your accommodation is £300 cheaper for that period
  • Top tip: It can be hard to find when hotels are cheap so why not look at Airbnb instead? Whilst there’s lots of choose from, I recommend their ‘Plus‘ range (the creme de la creme of Airbnbs) or try googling ‘best Airbnbs in New York‘ (replace with city of choice, obvs). These places do get booked up quicker but you can use their availability calendar as a starter for dates, and have the peace of mind that you’re staying somewhere lush
  • Oh go on have another tip: the Airbnb app displays the prices in a calendar format but the website doesn’t so definitely get that bad boy downloaded for the easiest way to see prices

OKAY I’M READY TO CHAT FLIGHTS NOW.

  • Check nearby airports
    • Sometimes ticking ‘search for nearby airports’ isn’t enough – you need to manually search for alternative airports
    • For example, did you know that you can reach Birmingham International airport for as little as £7 and it’s only 1 hour and 10 minutes away from London?
    • I used this trip when I needed to find a cheap flight from New York to Miami. Everything was so expensive, but then I discovered that I could fly from Long Island (just over an hour’s train away from NYC) for just £30! I saved myself so much money.
  • Book a multi-city trip to fly from/return to a different airport
    • Travel jargon alert – when you fly from and back from different airports, this is called an open jaw flight
    • If your flight is coming up pricey, it may be that one of your legs is much more expensive than the other. Therefore, why not look to see if you could swap the pricey one to/from a different location?
    • I did this when flying to a wedding in Perugia. The flight out was £30 – SOUND AS A POUND LAD – but the flight back was £270. WITH RYANAIR. I was horrified. So instead, I looked at other Italian airports within a two hour radius and not only did I find a flight back from Rome for less than half the price, it was also BUSINESS CLASS 💁‍♀️💁‍♀️💁‍♀️ (could literally not be more smug).
    • What’s more, the train from Perugia to Rome was a chilled two hour £10 trundle through the Italian countryside with a bottle of prosecco. As I said. Smug AF.
  • Turn your connection into another destination with multi-city
    • Does your long haul flight have a stop? Then why not turn that stop into another destination?
    • Using the multi-city function, enter the flight details that you’ve been presented with flight by flight but instead of a measly 3 hour stopover, change the date so that you can spend some time in that destination instead.
    • So often this will cost the same, or even, if you’re lucky, even cheaper!!
  • Flying to an International hub? Super serve your holiday by adding another destination!
    • If your destination also happens to be one of the world’s largest airports – think Atlanta, Beijing, Dubai and Los Angeles – there could be a chance you could add on another destination for not much more
    • I wrote a blog post about how you can super serve a trip to Dubai by adding in Sri Lanka, Hong Kong and Vietnam for less than £100
  • If flying to multiple destinations, try flying with the same airline
    • You can get a cracking deal by flying multi-city, but often only if you’re flying with the same airline
    • Why not check out where else the airline you’re flying with goes to and try adding that in a multi-city search
  • If flying with multiple airlines, try booking your flights individually
    • Got a connection and then continuing with another airline? Try popping the flights into multi-city and also individually as one way trips, just to check you’re getting the best possible deal
  • Flying one way? Try searching for a return
    • Yep – sometimes it’s cheaper to purchase a return flight than just one way. Madness.
  • Searching for two people? Try searching individually
    • There may be one ticket left at the cheapest price, so check how much it would cost if you selected the tickets individually in case it adds up to less
    • You could also try booking the cheap rate simultaneously – but most websites won’t be fooled that easily!
  • Not travelling on your own? Make sure you’ve changed your search to reflect it
    • It can be easy to search for prices on the preset of ‘1 adult’, but strangely, you can sometimes get cheaper rates when you’re booking more than one ticket so give that a go too
  • Go on a holiday someone else can no longer make
    • Transfer travel is a site that lets you book unwanted holidays and the great news is that the price you see INCLUDES the name change fees
    • There’s flights, hotels, package deals and even bus and train fares on here!
    • I also really like that some people tell you why they can no longer go – one fella lamented that it was intended as a romantic getaway but they’d unfortunately broken up… 🙈😬🤣
    • I haven’t used this site yet, so can’t vouch for it, but I am SO INTRIGUED
  • Go for a dump
    • I mean a FUEL DUMP obviously (I’m 29 and in desperate need of a better sense of humour)
    • As well as referring to when a plane needs to dispose of fuel, the secret meaning is when you have a connecting flight, but you sack off the last flight and leave halfway through
    • For example, you may find a cracking deal from Inverness (oddly, Inverness often gets airfares cheaper than the rest of the country!!) but you could do with jumping out at London Heathrow on the way back
  • Well, you could technically do this as long as you didn’t check in any luggage
    • Now, this is FROWNED UPON but it’s very unlikely that an airline would take action about you not turning up for your final flight (though some have!) since people miss them all the time, but definitely read up on it before you do this
    • Skipplagged is site that exploits this, though they’re pretty US centric
    • It’s definitely worth saying that you cannot join a flight midway through – you can only ‘dump’ the final leg!
  • Check the departures and arrivals board of your wanted destination
    • If you know exactly where you want to go, it’s definitely worth checking to see what flights are coming in and out. This is because new airlines, or new routes, can sometimes take a while to filter through
    • I saw this recently when looking for flights for a friend travelling to Shenzhen in China. Neither Skyscanner or momondo showed me that a new route served by Shenzhen Airlines was a whopping £300 cheaper than the direct options they were giving me (they are finally coming up in the search results now!)
  • Try foreign search engines
    • Search engines local to the destinations you’re heading may be able to offer you a better a deal – but remember to book with a card that doesn’t charge you a foreign transaction fee
    • When travelling around Vietnam, I came across Baolau‘s search engine and not only did it offer train fares, it consistently offered plane fares for less money than the likes of Skyscanner – and having just checked, it still does!
    • Baolau also works if you’re travelling around China, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Philippines or Indonesia
  • Try booking in a currency that’s seen a sudden dip in value
    • This is quite a new tip I’ve heard about but I like it in theory! The thought is that if a currency dips, you could try to book a flight in said currency and save a lot due to the conversion rates
    • It’s likely that airlines will be across this, but if you’re quick, you might just catch them out!
    • Of course, remember that when booking in a currency different from your own, you may incur a foreign transaction fee so check what rates you have on the card you’re purchasing with!
  • Check business class
    • Now this sounds WILD I know, but sometimes, just sometimes, someone makes a blunder and you might find a better class of seat for the same or less money – it’s happened to me ONCE where it was £25 cheaper to fly business than economy with British Airways. Absolute insanity mate.
The best thing about business class? THE LOUNGE.
  • Double check how much it would cost you to upgrade
    • Often, you can only select different classes for a return journey if you’re booking direct with the airline (which often costs you more that third party travel agents) however, do double check as I once missed a £100 upgrade to Premium Economy when booking with TravelUp (booked via Skyscanner) for a 12 HOUR FLIGHT from Mexico City which I wasn’t allowed to add on after purchase
    • When I got to the check in desk, they said it would cost me £800 to upgrade. I was FEWMIN’
  • Check vouchers and promo codes
    • Now, money off and promo codes aren’t the norm when it comes to booking flights but some third parties, such as opodo, do often flaunt these from time to time so it can be worth a quick google
  • Book an error fare
    • An error fare is exactly that – when someone makes a f*ck up and you reap the benefits
    • You can technically find these yourself but it will take a lot of man hours without the certainty of finding a deal so instead, take a look at the sites listed next who will flag error fares as and when they arise
    • Also heed their advice on booking them – they’re not always honoured!
  • Check Secret Flying
    • Secret Flying is my FAVOURITE website when it comes to a place that compiles the best deals, open jaw flights, error fares – the works! The only problem is that there is just too much on there 😂
    • What’s more, most of their deals are completely free to access
    • My tip would be to sign up for daily emails as you can choose your departure location
    • Also, the search options on their website is pretty helpful
  • Sign up for Jack’s Flight Club
    • Jack’s Flight Club also compiles the best deals out there. There’s a free option that will get you one or two deals a week, but as a paid member (which I’ve been for three years running – it costs £35 a year), you’ll get sent ALL the deals and lists of weekend friendly flights
    • What I will say is that I will rarely see a deal via Jack’s Flight Club that I haven’t then seen for free on Secret Flying, HOWEVER, they do send you an email as and when the deal is found and since you have to react quite quickly to them, I do find this really convenient
    • If you’re on Three, there’s currently a 30 day free trial for the premium service on their rewards app, wuntu, but remember to set a reminder to cancel
  • Sign up for Scott’s Cheap Flights
    • Scott’s Cheap Flights is a similar offering to Jack’s Flight Club.
    • I’m not a paying member of this one so alas, I cannot comment further!
  • Check Airfare Watchdog
    • Airfare Watchdog is yet another option, but if you’re searching for that particular flight, it may be worth checking in with what offers they’ve got there as well – JUST IN CASE
  • In general, I find that once one group reports a cheap deal or error fare, they all start circulating it so don’t be overwhelmed by the choices. Perhaps choose just two and check those more often
  • Seen a great deal but it doesn’t fit your dates?
    • All these cheap flight groups are amazing but they may not list all available dates or, if they do, they may have missed one
    • Head to Google Flights and add in the locations and dates that have been given as an example
    • Do not worry if Google Flights aren’t showing the same cheap price – this is normal, as you tend to get the best prices by checking with other websites
    • However, what Google Flights is amazing for is spotting the patterns. So, if the example dates are showing up as say, £400, you can then hit ‘reset’ on the dates, scroll through the calendar and look for other £400 dates
    • Then, whack those newly found dates into Skyscanner and momondo and hopefully they’ll also show the same bargainous price!
  • In general, I find that once one group reports a cheap deal or error fare, they all start circulating it so don’t be overwhelmed by the choices. Perhaps choose just two and check those more often
  • Need a specific fare? Set price alerts
    • If you’ve already download the Hopper (the app that uses stats to give you hints on when to book) and have decided to wait it out, it’s worth setting price alerts on the routes you’re after
    • On Skycanner, you can find this to the right labelled as ‘Get Price Alerts’ after you’ve made your initial search
    • They’ll then email you when prices change – be that up, or down
  • Need bags? Know the airlines that offer them for free/cheap
    • With more and more airlines (we’re looking at you, Virgin and BA) offering fares without bags, if you need to add in some luggage, that cheap rate may not be so cheap after all
  • Google Flights allows you to add in carry on bags to your search
    • Otherwise, keep scrolling through your results on the lookout for an airline that offers bags as standard.
    • A few to look out for are Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Etihad
  • Whilst on the face of it, Ryanair has one of the worst baggage policies since they only allow you a small personal item on board HOWEVER, you can make it work for you since you can add a 10kg piece of checked luggage from £10 each way (used to be just £8 – the scoundrels!)
  • Ignore the ‘upgrade to plus’ nonsense, select a basic/standard fare and on the next page, you’ll be give further bag options
  • This means that from just £20 return, you can go wild on 100ml+ products and even pack a bottle of voddy (no?? Just me???)
  • easyJet also offer a ‘Hands Free’ service where you pay £6 (or £14 for a group of 3 to 6 people) to drop your cabin bag at an easyJet Bag Drop before security – where you’ll receive a tote bag for the items you’ll need on the flight
  • The idea behind this is that you don’t have to drag a case around with you but the total winner is that since it’s BEFORE security, you can have liquids over 100ml in there
  • What’s more, your bags will be tagged as ‘priority’ so will be out first
  • If you have a Pay Monthly deal with Three, you can currently get this service for free but only for the flight departing the UK
  • Bag Drop is not available on all flights so check and book ahead!
  • Lastly, if you’re flying from London, it may be worth checking British Airway’s Holiday Finder as they offer a free checked bag for all flight + hotel deals (they also have a really fun search engine that lets you search destinations by temperature!)
  • Check British Airway’s Holiday Finder
    • As mentioned above, not only do you get a free checked bag if you book with British Airway’s Holiday Finder, you can also get a cracking deal
    • A few times I have found the price of the entire deal to be cheaper than the flight alone –  winner – however, do always check the costs individually because on the flip side, you could end up paying more
    • As well, you can pay just a deposit on bookings over £300 from £75 per person
  • Check package deals
    • Now, I love making life hard for myself so I’m not always a huge package deal fan BUT, after my mate managed to blag flights and a five night stay in a 4 star New York hotel for just £600, I realised that I was probably missing out on a cracking deal or two
    • My favourite place to check is lastminute.com
  • Buy a ’round the world’ ticket
    • Genuinely thought these only existed in 50’s fiction but no, they are indeed a real thing!
    • Skyscanner have done an impressive job of summarising here and have given these following reasons for why you should book one of these rather than doing it yourself via multi-city:
      • Your trip is less than a year
      • You’re not bothered about flying with budget airlines (like Ryanair or AirAsia)
      • You have a set travel plan
      • You’re buying tickets on behalf of a group or family
      • You’re part of a frequent flier programme and collect miles and perks
  • Get a free upgrade – sign up for frequent flyer programmes
    • Now, I wish I could tell you how to nail this but alas, the last time I got a free upgrade was 13 years ago – BLIMEY!
    • However, one thing you must do is sign up for the frequent flyer programmes. Not only will you collect points (that one day may equal prizes in the form of free flights), but you’re just giving yourself that boost up for being selected for a free upgrade
    • Obviously, you’ll be up against all the frequent flyers but HEY, this is a very free way to get your foot on the ladder!
  • Fly for free with points
    • Now, I’m not the best person to talk about collecting miles as I’m a total floozy and will cast aside all brand loyalty to save money
    • However, there are credit cards out there that will reward you with free miles but first things first – DO NOT GET ONE UNLESS YOU ARE WILLING TO PAY IT BACK MONTHLY
    • As someone who’s not so good with money, I was wary of this so ended up signing up for the American Express Gold card (I’m not gonna link to these as I do not want to encourage anyone to get into debt!) because it is in fact a charge card rather than a credit card meaning that I HAD to pay it off every single month
    • I got 10,000 points by spending (and paying off) £1k in 3 months and with my spending throughout the rest of the year, I earned another 15,000 points which I transferred out to Virgin miles
    • These were the very ones I used recently to upgrade to premium economy for £78 when flying to LA, which would have cost me £800 otherwise
    • So yes, it can work, but be wary and check additional fees
  • Top tip: If you travel by train a lot for work or fun, always book with Virgin Trains as you can add in your frequent flyer number and earn airmiles!
  • Another top tip: Shop with Tesco? You can turn your clubcard points into points too!
  • Is there another form of transport cheaper?

Right. I need a bloody drink. And so do you if you’ve got to the end of that.

Overall, I hope that’s given you some ideas about how you can make your money go further when it comes to booking flights.

Got any more tips? I’d bloody LOVE to hear them so please comment below.

And remember to let me know if you use any of these so that I can holiday vicariously though you all!

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