As I sat down to get my booking on, I had three things in mind.
- I wanted to go somewhere new
- I wanted to go some warm(ish)
- I wanted to go somewhere for 2 nights
I was also planning on going with the housemate, James, so everything I’d be searching for would be for two.
So with a quick stretch of my most prominent key-tapping fingers, I set forth, loose in the wily heaths of the world wide web.
Here’s how I got on:
1. Flights first
I bloody love Skyscanner because its nifty search tool allows you to search ‘everywhere’ when you’re not sure where to go, and ‘cheapest month’, when you just want a good deal.
This time, I knew my dates so just used ‘everywhere’.
After sifting through many a cold (but cheap) destination, I settled on Valencia.
Total cost – £61.98 each (yes, I really am counting that 2p!)
Tip – Whilst there certainly are last minute deals to be had, deals were pretty thin on the ground 10 days before. I saw some incredibly cheap flights (£38) to Cyprus at the same time just 2 weeks ago!
Booked with easyJet (via Skyscanner)
Cashback – No monies for easyJet, but we’ll let it slide… This time…
2. Getting to Gatwick
Since our flight is leaving Gatwick at 7:10AM, I’d rather put my head into a bag of wet prawns that leave the house at half three on a Saturday morning. Therefore, I had a quick look for a cheap hotel at the airport itself et voilà!
The BLOC hotel is actually IN THE TERMINAL. As in, roll out of bed, brush teeth, do 12 lunges (how else do you think I maintain my physique?) and walk through security.
What’s more, some of the rooms look out onto the runway which excited James so much, he asked if we could just stay there for the weekend.
I found a ‘no window’ room for £71 on hotels.com, but after hitting up trivago which is a great tool for comparing prices, I found one with a window for £67 on a site called Amoma. What’s more, when I checked if it did cashback, I saw that there was a 5% off code as well.
Total cost – £32.78 each
Tip – Always use a comparative site such as trivago to check you’ve got the cheapest price on your hotel.
Booked with Amoma (via TopCashback)
Cashback – 9.2% cashback = £5.95 PLUS a cheeky 5% off code to boot (HOTEL5OFF – expires 31st March 2017).
3. A Valencia hotel worth of an Instagram (or six)
There were a bevvy of beautiful hotels for under £75 a night to choose from, including the highly rated Hotel Vincii Mercat and Vincii Palace.
However, it was two others that caught my eye.
First, One Shot Colon because – well, yes, because of the absolute lolathon the name gave me (and its minimalist but cool decor, great reviews and a bargain price of £50 a night).
But we ended up going for the slightly more expensive Hotel Balandret which has a 4.5 rating on TripAdvisor, and also comes second in The Telegraph’s expert ‘best hotels in Valencia’ list.
It’s also on the sea front (we paid an extra £15 in total to have a sea view) and comes with free breakfast each morning.
Total cost – £75 each
Tip – Sure, we could have done this bit for cheaper but a few extra pounds has got us a better room and we’ll save money on spends by eating in for breakfast.
Also, the hotel is part of Hotels.com’s loyalty scheme so we’ve banked 2 nights out of the 10 needed to get a free night stay at a hotel in the future.
Booked with Hotels.com (via TopCashback)
Cashback – 9.2% = £8.15
Total cost = £169.72
Total potential cashback = £14.10
As the cashback is only a bonus once it comes through, there’s no deducting it from the final total (just yet) so for now, here’s what we’re left with:
Total left = £1543.29
Holiday one: BOOKED.