Shop with any retailer on Quidco and spend £10 or more before 31st March 2020
Earn cashback on your purchases for just being a Quidco member
Receive a £10 cashback bonus from Quidco
Withdraw your cashback to your bank, PayPal or as vouchers
You can find the full terms and conditions and a load of helpful pointers here.
How I used Quidco to save £45 on this amazing Greek villa
I signed up on the original offer myself and earned a £25 bonus by booking this UNREALprivate villa on the island of Paros in Greece.
It should have been £367 for 4 nights but because I’ll earn £19.18 in cashback and then get an extra £25 on top of it, it works out at just £80.55 a night!
Watch how I found and booked this amazing place – thanks in large part to throwing a dart at a map of Europe whilst blindfolded…
If you’re new to Quidco, and cashback in general, here’s what you need to know.
What is cashback?
Cashback is the money you can get back on your purchases as a reward when you are a member of a cashback site and buy online using their partners.
What is Quidco?
Quidco are the UK’s #1 cashback and voucher site and they have over 4,500 retailers on their website that their members can earn cashback from.
Is this just for UK residents?
Yes, you must be a resident of the UK to register for a Quidco account.
Do I have to pay to sign up?
No, Quidco earns money from sponsored advertising paid by their retailers and they also have a Premium membership. There is a free membership as well.
How much money can I earn?
It all depends on how much you buy but on average, active members earn £280 a year.
How do I sign up?
Visit Quidco, enter your email and a password, select what options you want and then click ‘Join for free!’
How do I get cashback?
Select which retailer you want on the Quidco website and click the relevant links to start shopping. Quidco will track your visit and your purchases.
How do I know that Quidco has tracked by purchase?
Once you’ve made a purchase, Quidco will track the amount of cashback you’re due and send you a confirmation email. It will also show as ‘Tracked’ on your personalised homepage.
How do I get paid?
Once the retailer confirms your purchase, your cashback will be paid into your Quidco account. From there you can transfer it to your bank account, Paypal account or have it paid as an Amazon.co.uk Gift Card.
How often will this get paid?
Payments are made on request.
How long will it take for me to get cashback on my purchases?
This varies so check the ‘Retailer Stats’ given on the retailer’s page.
How can I make sure that my purchases will get tracked?
Clearing your browsing data can help. You can follow Quidco’s advice on this here.
My purchase hasn’t tracked, what should I do?
You can raise a claim by clicking on ‘Missing Cashback Claim’ in Support.
How do I get a £20 bonus?
Quidco are currently running an offer where if you are a new user who signs up via this link and spends £100 or more on travel before 31st March 2020, you will receive an additional £20 on top of the cashback you earn.
Can I spend £100 across multiple retailers?
At present, this needs to be purchased through one retailer.
I’ve got the £20 bonus – can my partner sign up too?
They can as long as you don’t live at the same address. You can only claim one bonus per household.
For any additional help, pleae visit the Quidco support pages.
A big thanks to Quidco for supporting small creators, like me, and giving us all a chance to save some more money on travel this January.
This week we’re helping Jade who’s after a group trip to Krakow in Poland.
I love a group trip as more people means more people to split the cost by!
I also chose this holiday hotline because I thought it would perfectly show just how amazing Google Flights can be when you have a place in mind but you can be a little bit flexible on your dates.
3 nights is also the perfect amount of time to hook a getaway around a weekend so that you don’t have to use up too much annual leave.
Top tip for weekend trips: A lot of people are looking for that Sunday flight back but by moving the trip back one day and getting the Monday flight home, you can save money and you’re often taking the same amount of time off work!
So first things first, let’s head to Google Flights and most importantly change your passengers to the correct number as there may only be a few tickets left at the lower price you find.
(The eagle eyed of you will spy in the screenshots that it’s for one but this is just as it’s the only way to reflect cost per person!)
Next, pop in where we’re leaving from and where we’re going to.
Next, click on the date box and change your desired trip duration at the bottom. Here, I’ve changed it to 3 days for Jade and her mates.
Now, that seems pretty straight forward but actually, things get even more helpful on the next page so for now just click some dates. Any dates, it doesn’t matter.
By doing this, you’ll see the cheapest flights possible for that day but what if you don’t want an evening flight?
And I bet you deffo don’t want that 6am flight home.
Meaning that your £33 return flight could quickly become more expensive.
And what if the flight times you actually want could be cheaper on another day?
Can you search for that?
The good news is, yes you can.
So, the next thing you’re going to do is select the ‘Times’ button and decide what times you’d ideally like to leave between, and then do the same for your return journey.
For Jade, I’m actually going to keep in a later departure so that it cuts down on annual leave needed getting to Krakow, however I am going to get rid of that 2050 flight option because I think that gets in just a tad too late.
For the return I’m also going with a later flight so that they can make the most of their last day but make sure it arrives home before 2200 so that most public transport is still up and running.
After doing this, go back to the calendar and you’ll see that the prices will have updated to reflect your needs.
You may need to change the length of your trip again at the bottom.
Now, I’m in a great place to look for a cheap price that hooks around a weekend and within a few clicks, I find this great price in March.
The 1950 departure time means that most people, if working in Central London, would only need to take half a day off work or nothing at all if they’ve got a nice boss who will let them leave just before 5pm!
Wizz Air only includes a small piece of hand luggage but I’m a firm believer in that being more than enough for a weekend away! Plus, if you’re travelling in a group you could split a suitcase between you to pop some extra liquids in.
As I’m searching for 7 people for Jade, here’s what the final cost looks like on Google Flights.
Which indeed works out at £48 each.
Before clicking through, always check your flights on Skyscanner as it can often find cheaper prices as it searches more third party companies.
The flights are showing up the same price but hilariously, Skyscanner are throwing in an even cheaper option with Ryanair for £43 return.
However, as it’s flying from and returning to different airports AND I have a way to save more money on Wizz Air, I’m going to stick with what I found on Google Flights and click through to book direct with the airline.
The great news for Jade is that she can buy the group membership for £69 and it will save her £108 across 6 tickets – so the membership has instantly paid for itself and, once we’ve added in one remaining full price ticket, brings the cost in at £42.43 each for 7 people.
Even better is that the membership will last Jade a year and as she’s the only one named on the account, she can go away with a group of totally different people and still use the discount – or just use the discount for herself.
To buy this membership, Jade just needs to change the amount of tickets to six passengers and then click on the ‘WIZZ Discount Club Price’.
She’ll then be able to buy membership on the same screen.
Jade then just needs to buy the last ticket at the full price cost.
It pulls in homes from loads of different sites, including Airbnb, and whilst isn’t always the slickest websites (sometimes listings aren’t available) I do like the range of choice it offers.
Top tip: Too many Airbnb results being shown? Select ‘Balcony/Patio’ or ‘Garden’ in your search filters as Airbnb doesn’t have this option and therefore all will leave the listings. However, you will only get listings with those amenities but I always love to have a balcony so this is a plus for me!
For Jade, I’m searching for a place that has at least 4 rooms so that 7 people won’t feel too cramped!
I’m also using the map to search for a spot in Central Krakow.
As the flights were so cheap there’s enough budget left for accommodation to cost £483 a night but I reckon we can get something much cheaper!
From now on, I’ll be selecting just one holiday query a week but I’ll be going IN on it, and covering all the bases.
If you want me to help you in the future, make sure you’re following me over on Instagram.
So, Amy’s been in touch, and here’s what she’s after.
End of March
Cherry blossom season
Flying from Manchester
As someone who visited Japan last year in cherry blossom season and booked it all pretty last minute – not advised, by the way – I know that this can be done!
Cherry blossom season is always super popular – with both tourists and the Japanese – and you can check out the best dates to visit the different areas here.
For 2020, Tokyo’s supposed to start flowering from 21 March and be in full bloom by 27 March.
But be aware that last year it came early and so it’s not quite an exact science!
I was so lucky as I found our flights for just £258 (ridiculous, I know!) and so the first hurdle is gonna be getting Amy to Tokyo on a budget…
Let’s do this.
So, as Amy wants the end of March, it does make things a bit pricier (it’s getting close to Easter!) so as a quick aside, if you can fly between Thurs 12th – Fri 27th March, you’ll pay £133 each less.
But anyway, onwards!
Tues 24th March to Tues 7th April Manchester to Tokyo Nippon Airways / Swiss Air £670 each
£670 may not seem a great price initially but actually, according to the stats on Google Flights, it’s not too shabby at all!
There is also a £469 flight on the 29th March yet the connections are a total horror show. But… I guess an option if you love flying and long layovers???!
What about other airports?
Alright, alright, I suppose I can help a few others out as well.
London – Tues 24 Mar – Tues 7th Apr – from £370 each
It does involves a long layover in Shanghai both ways but they do have a 72 hour visa pass for people in transit and there are plenty of hotels in and around the airport for that overnight layover on the way home!
There’s also this option with much shorter layovers for £433 each.
If you wanna fly direct, the best price is from Mon 16th for £780 but if you want to go later on like Amy, it’s going to set you back £979 each!
Edinburgh – Tues 24th Mar – Tues 7th Apr – £706 each
It does involve a 19 hour layover in Amsterdam on the way out but it’s timed really nicely for you to enjoy an evening there and get up with loads of time for your early afternoon flight.
Inverness – Tues 24th Mar – Tues 7th Apr – £630 each
Another long layover in Amsterdam on the way outbut again, a nice excuse for a quick trip there too!
Cardiff – Tues 24th Mar – Tues 7th Apr – £695 each
Once again! KLM with their Amsterdam breaks!
The hilarious thing is that if you were to fly direct from Amsterdam on all of these KLM flights it would cost MORE than any of these listed above. How does that even make sense?!
Normally I’d move onto accommodation but for exploring Japan, the rail pass is a very important component.
But first of all, what is it exactly?
The Japan Rail pass – also known as the JR Pass – is a special discounted ticket available for tourists. It offers unlimited travel on trains operated by Japan Railways Group and includes the high-speed service known as the Shinkansen, or the Bullet Train.
Can you find a discount? No. There aren’t any, so don’t waste your time looking for one (I did).
For a two week trip, I think 7 days feels too short and 14 feels too long but I think if you’re trying to save money, think about doing a stint in Tokyo either side of your travels (that’s what we did!) so you can go for the shorter pass.
However, I’m going put Amy down for the full whack – £319 each – just to cover all bases (and because I love to make life difficult for myself).
There’s no set website to buy your rail pass on – a load of third parties do this – but I can personally recommend Japan Travel Centre as they offer free delivery (they also offer free pick up if you’re in London which is what I did).
Top tip: You cannot reserve seats on most trains outside of the country so make sure you head to a travel centre when you arrive to get a seat! You’re travelling at peak times so it’s deffo worth doing this. More details are here.
I swear I’ll get to accommodation next but more important is to first work out where you want to go.
There are loads of great two week itineraries available online – one of my fave things to do is to look at a professional tour and then try to recreate it – but for the purpose of this challenge, I’ll be following this:
25th – 29th Mar / 4 nights / Tokyo 29th Mar – 1st Apr / 3 nights / Kyoto 1st Apr – 3rd April / 2 nights / Hiroshima 3rd April – 5th April / 2 nights / Osaka 5th – 6th April / 2 nights / Tokyo
This is loosely based on my own journey but do your own research and see what you fancy.
Here we go then! We finally made it!
As the flight arrives in a day later, we actually need to find 13 nights accommodation for this trip.
Given that the total for flights and a rail pass is already £931 each (jeez) this means we have £519 each left for places to stay.
That’s just £43.67 a night each.
Can we do it?
YES WE CAN!
Hold on a second…
Before we get into this, what I found was the best way to keep to budget in Japan was to change accommodation every couple of nights or so. This allowed us to explore new areas, work around a hotel’s busy calendar and also save money on some nights and splurge on others.
Due to this, I’d also recommend packing light. I actually only took my 45L Patagonia rucksack and James took a small wheelie case and a backpack. It made it so much easier.
Please be aware that Japanese rooms are MUCH smaller and if you’re staying in an Airbnb, it can feel pretty basic, but it’s a great insight into how many live in the city. Plus, make sure you check out some pod hotels because they are AMAZING/BIZARRE AF.
My top advice would be to get on trivago, enter your dates and just see what you can get for your money.
I’ve done some searching for you, but please do see the following places as a pick’n’mix selection!
Andon Ryokan – £84 a night / £42 each Pssst – make sure you’re signed in to Booking.com as the price can go down more!
Traditional Ryokan style (you sleep on fold out futons on the floor) but with a modern twist – and a cracking breakfast included too!
Bizarrely, the price is often cheaper for men than women on the same night. It can also fluctuate from night to night and as you have to fully check out in the morning, I’d only recommend this as a first night or last night in an area. But a great experience!
Check out when we stayed in this type of capsule in Kyoto here!
Today, British Airways have announced a flash sale on flights to and from London Gatwick. They’ve got over 200,000 seats up for grabs for £30 or less each way based on a return fare for journeys until 29th March 2020.
So, what have they got on offer?
Nice from £47 return
I cannot think of this place without recalling a VERY OLD episode of BBC’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ where he visiting and repeated the line ‘Nice is nice‘.
Just googled. That episode was on in 1999.
You can find your own deals here, or perhaps some of these work for you?
Click to book!
Verona from £47 return
Home of star crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, Verona holds many charms beyond its links to Shakespeare.
You can find your own deals here, or perhaps some of these work for you?
Click to book!
Amsterdam from £52 return
I can’t believe I STILL haven’t been to Amsterdam on holiday and for this price, it’s gonna be hard to say no. In fact… HAND ME MY PURSE.
You can find your own deals here, or perhaps some of these work for you?
So, a weekend getaway in a top 10 Christmas Market destination from just £81pp?
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR BBZ?!
THE REQUEST: Boxing Day Flights to Moscow
From: London To: Moscow Dates: Leaving 26th Dec and coming back end of Jan Budget: £200pp People: 2
London to Moscow Thurs 26th Dec – Thurs 30th Jan Wizzair – small bag included From £167 each
You can also fly on Christmas day, returning on the 30th Jan for £138 each.
Please note: you will need a visa to visit Moscow which will cost around £100 and will need to visit their visa centre in either London, Manchester or Edinburgh and allow for at least 20 business days for it to process so do it sooner rather than later! There is also an urgent option but it will cost you a lot more. Here’s the info you need as a British national.
THE REQUEST: Christmas getaway from Manchester
From: Manchester To: Anywhere Date: Leaving 24th Dec Duration: 3-5 nights Vibes: Fun!
Fun you say?
Well, there’s no place quite as fun as Berlin!
Manchester to Berlin Tues 24th – Sun 29th Dec Ryanair – small hand luggage only easyJet – carry on case £99 each
This is the hotel that James and I stayed at this summer and we loved its cool, boutique vibes and most importantly the AMAZING breakfast place downstairs. The best bit about staying is that you can ring down to reserve a spot and not have to wait in their huge queues!!
However, if you fancy having your own space so that you can properly enjoy a cosy day in on Christmas Day, here’s a cute Airbnb that may suit too!
However, since this is for a mini honeymoon, let’s see if we can also find a great hotel choice.
Artemisia Domus 3 nights for £334 total Breakfast included
Fancy the best room in the hotel? It’s £165 a night for the King Suite with spa bath!
That’s everything fo this week’s holiday hotline.
Once again, I’m so sorry if I didn’t get to yours this week but make sure you’re following me over on Instagram to get involved with the next one!
If I’ve helped you out, or you fancy getting access to more perks (and more holiday hotlines!) then you can also support me over on Patreon for the price of a really average coffee once a month.
Until next time!
I have used some affiliate links throughout this article. They don’t charge you more, but if you book through them you’ll be helping me to continue my cheap travel booking hobbies. For full transparency, I earn about 10p if you book a flight through a link so… Yeah, I’m rolling in it la!
Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’ve heard it all before, but how does that explain how I was able to do 6 nights around the ring road of Iceland for £600? All in?!
I captured all of this on my budget Iceland series but I realised that whilst there were lots of tips, tricks and travel hacks across six videos, there wasn’t one place where they could all hang out.
So here we have it!
And, just to make it even easier, here’s all the tips written in one place for you. Before you scroll down, why not follow me over on Instagram for daily top tips?!
Right, let’s start with things you should do before you get to Iceland.
1. Use Google Flights to find the cheapest flights Go to Google Flights, pop in your departure and destination and then click on your the date box. This brings up a calendar view which clearly shows you the best days to travel. You can also toggle between how long you want your trip to me at the bottom, and the costs will updated instantly!
2. Search for weekend dates to use less annual leave Google Flights also has you covered for this, but this time in your search you need to leave the destination blank, click on the dates and find the ‘flexible dates’ option and then select ‘weekend’. You can also select the month you want to travel in too if that’s helpful. Then zoom in on Iceland on the map and voila.
IMPORTANT: Before you go ahead and pay, always put the dates you find into Skyscanner.
9 times out of 10, it will find you a cheaper price.
3. Check local car hire companies I tend to use Skyscanner to find hire cars yet when looking for Iceland, I realised it wasn’t pulling in any local results. So, after a quick google I found Northbound, an Icelandic broker who were consistently cheaper.
We found a 4×4 for 6 days for just £26 a day.
4. Get a card that lets you spend abroad for free If your regular bank card charges you for spending abroad, take a look at online banks or top up cards that have no fees and are free and easy to sign up to. We use Monzo but Starling Bank and WeSwap are other good choices.
Iceland is a pretty card friendly place and we only took money out once.
5. Make a meal plan and a shopping list Do this before you arrive in Iceland and then stick to it when you get to the supermarkets. Be clever with your choices and think about how you could reuse leftovers for future meals.
Here’s what my meal plan looked like beforehand:
Of course, some items changed but having this and then making a shopping list from it really helped keep me on track and meant no food waste!
6. Buy a check in bag It’s an initial hit of money but you can use that extra space to pack things, like food items and towels that you would have to pay for further down the line. If you’re going with someone, why not share a big case between you?
7. Pack some basics With that extra space, go around your kitchen before you leave and pack a tupperware box with some basics. I packed some rice, sachets, cutlery, plastic bags, smaller tupperware boxes, loads – it saved me a fortune.
8. Use travel mini pots Use mini cosmetic pots for things like salt, pepper, sugar, washing up liquid – those items that you only need a little bit of but would really add up if you bought them in full
9. Bring a thermos flask If it’s cold out you will want hot drinks and you could easily spend £4 every single time you fancy a tea or a coffee
Next, let’s chat booking accommodation.
10. Choose the guesthouseover the hotel! When deciding on hotel versus guesthouse, choose the guesthouse. Icelandic design is pretty minimalistic and so you’re not going to miss out loads by going for the cheaper option. A lot of them are really clean and highly rated – they’re really good value for money.
11. Choose a place with cooking facilities Most guesthouses have them (and many hotels do not!) and you’ll save a fortune by making sure to check this out
12. Check Airbnb Don’t forget Airbnb. We used it to stay in a cute little cabin in the middle of nowhere for £75 a night – and there’s also a lot of guesthouses on there too. However, always google to see if you can book direct as that will usually be cheaper than booking through a third party.
You can get money off your first Airbnb booking if you haven’t used it before!
13. Try House Swapping We stayed in a ridiculous house on our first two nights thanks to a website called Love Home Swap. We didn’t actually have to swap our house with anyone (you can read the details here with a 25% link off membership) but basically, this place was only £27 a night each.
14. Flip your road trip on its head! Struggling to find availability? Try turning your road trip on its head. Most people go anti-clockwise but there’s nothing stopping you from doing it the other way around which may free up some rooms for you.
Before we get to the holiday itself, there’s one more thing you should do before you board the plane.
15. Buy alcohol from duty free Iceland isn’t part of the EU so you should get the cheapest price at the airport, which will be so much cheaper than buying it in Iceland. You don’t need to buy mixers too, you can easily get them at the supermarket.
Arriving in Iceland.
16. Ask for petrol station loyalty cards When you collect your car hire, ask if they any petrol station membership cards. Northbound found us a car with Lava Rentals and they provided us with a sticker on our keys which got us money off every fill up at that particular petrol station, and a free coffee!
17. Fill up at the cheapest stations in Iceland If you are a Costco member, bring your card as there’s one 15 mins outside of Reykjavik and it is easily the cheapest place on the entire island. If you’re not a member, there’s a nearby petrol station that does it’s very best to match without the need of a discount card.
By the way, when filling up, don’t choose the ‘Fill-Up’ option as the station usually makes a hold of about 200 euros on your card. This hold should be released immediately but it can be delayed so it’s don’t choose it, just in case.
18. Share your parking ticket If you’re parking at a tourist attraction, look around for people leaving whose ticket may still be valid. Also, why not pass yours on when you’re done too – then you’ll have the gods of karma on your side too!
19. Shop at Bonus, Kronan or Netto When shopping, the cheapest supermarket is Bonus but Kronan and Netto are well priced too. If your flight arrives later on in the day, Bonus will probably be closed. Don’t worry, just shop at one of the others. You’ll save more money getting it done straightaway versus going out for dinner and waiting for Bonus the next day.
I extensively cover the prices in Netto here:
You can also find a list of our costs written up here.
And some of the costs in Bonus here:
20. Don’t go to the Blue Lagooon This is a controversial one… I know it looks beautiful but it’s so expensive and there are plenty of other geothermal pools that are either cheaper, or completely free. Here are some! And remember to take your packed towel to get the cheapest rate.
21. Make the most of happy hours It is possible to go out drinking if you use the happy hours. Your best bets are in Reykjavik or even cheaper, Iceland’s second city Akureyri where it’s possible to find happy hours ranging from 4pm to 10pm where beers are less than a fiver each.
If you haven’t heard of the holiday hotline before, it’s something I do over on my Instagram stories where I ask you for what cheap getaway I can help find for you.
As I can only get to a few every week, I’ve decided to include how I go about finding deals so that even if you weren’t picked, there will hopefully be something here to help you with your own booking.
Well, as long as you don’t want a group trip to Amsterdam…
More of that coming up!
THE REQUEST: CHEAP Winter weekend getaway FROM MANCHESTER
From: Manchester To: Krakow/Finland/Latvia/Slovakia When: Jan/Feb weekend People: 2
Manchester to Krakow Fri 7th – Sun 9th Feb Ryanair – small hand luggage only £84
If you’d like a bigger bag, you can also fly with easyJet and Jet2 for £111 who both allow a carry on case.
Not interested in Manchester? Here’s where else you could fly to that weekend:
London – from £42 Liverpool – from £104 Glasgow – from £136
As Krakow is so good on the pocket, I always like to make the most of it by staying a lush hotel that I normally couldn’t afford.
PURO Kraków Kazimierz is that rare partnership of incredible style and incredible value, coming in at just £53.50 a night.
If you book with Hotels.com (who are currently offering the cheapest rate), you’ll also collect 2 nights stay as part of their loyalty programme. Once you’ve collected 10, you’ll get a free reward night!
However, if you’re wanting to keep the budget down, check out this cute little Airbnb instead which is just £32 a night.
You can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!
Between two, that means you could have yourself a cheap getaway from just £116 each!
THE REQUEST: GROUP GETAWAY TO AMSTERDAM
From: Liverpool To: Amsterdam When: 14th May Duration: 4 nights People: 10 Budget: £300 each
Liverpool to Amsterdam Thurs 14th – Mon 18th May EasyJet – who still allow small suitcases in hand luggage. Hurrah! From £59
Note: this price is for 8 travellers – unfortunately you can’t book 10 at a time on Skyscanner though interestingly, this price is cheaper than booking for just 2 people by a few quid!
Top tip: Most airlines will do group bookings and whilst unfortunately it’s for a minimum of 15 for easyJet, it’s definitely worth keeping in mind as most give you the option to confirm the names of all your passengers last minute. This can be slightly more costly than if you booked in advance, but it can really take the stress out of organising big groups.
Now, I’m a bit nervous about trying to find a place for ten people as Amsterdam is NOTORIOUSLY SPENNY when it comes to places to stay.
This isn’t because it’s a super expensive destination, it’s just really popular and places get booked up fast, thus driving the price up so my biggest tip if you want to visit is book sooner rather than later!
From a quick look on Airbnb, I could see that there was absolutely nothing coming in under budget for a large group.
By thousands of pounds 😬😬😬
Well, apart from this which looked very promising but after clicking through the pictures I stumbled on this:
Do not trust anything that directs you away from Airbnb! This is totally against the rules and I wouldn’t be surprised if this gets pulled sooner or later.
I did find this Airbnb which comes in just over budget but boy, it looks a bit bleak for the money… I mean, where are the windows??!
Anyway, on with the search!
Next, I went over too hometogo which is like the trivago of holiday rentals – it searches loads of different sites including Airbnb, Homeaway and Booking.com, and brings you all the options in one place.
However, that wasn’t bringing up anywhere either!
Time for PLAN B!
I’ve headed over to Booking.com’s apartments and what I’m looking for are smaller apartments that are in the same complex.
The only thing I found that could work was Cityden The Garden Amsterdam South – but if you haven’t clocked it from the name, it is 30 minutes from the city by public transport.
For 2 x two bedroom apartments (each has a sofa bed as well), the total cost would be £182.50 per person for 4 nights for ten people.
It looks lovely, but it seems quite far out, doesn’t it?
What about if we tried to find hotel rooms instead?
Just sneaking in – in budget – is the ibis Amsterdam City West. Whilst it’s still not super central, you’re not far from a metro that will get you to the main train station in a couple of minutes.
Selecting 2 x triple rooms and 2 x double rooms comes in at £221.80 a night each for 4 nights for ten people.
As a bargain hunter, I’m still not completely satisfied so my last search will be at the complete opposite that Sarah was looking for.
This time hopping over to hostelworld, where I find Clinknoord. A very well rated hostel in a fairly central location.
A 10 bed dorm with private bathroom for £179.30 each for 4 nights for ten people.
I’ve spent about an hour looking and these are genuinely the best deals I can find. So, do I have any final thoughts?
Just go somewhere else.
If there’s one thing I can’t stand is paying a lot of money for something not that good.
Spending just 5 minutes looking at alternative options, I’ve already found flights from Liverpool to Barcelona for £91 and numerous apartments in the centre of the city that easy house 10 people.
If you’re adamant that you want to go to Amsterdam – then find the accommodation first. Go to Airbnb and whack in your amount of guests without the dates. Find what you want and then check to see if it’s in budget, and when it’s available.
Then check for flight prices.
I hope that’s been on some help!!!
THE REQUEST: OCTOBER BUDAPEST WEEKEND FOR TWO
From: London To: Budapest Dates: 11th – 14th October People: 2 Budget: £200
London to Budapest Fri 11th – Mon 14th Oct Wizzair – small hand luggage only £107
Plus, as the cheapest price is with Hotels.com at the moment, you’d earn yourself 3 nights on their loyalty rewards programme where you get your 11th night for free.
However, I don’t think anything is gonna beat this BEAUTY from Airbnb which costs just £50 a night including fees.
(You can even get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)
Check out those high ceilings!
Between the two of you, that brings your three night trip to Budapest in for £182 each.
Okay, time for one more!
THE REQUEST: 50TH BIRTHDAY BREAK IN NEW YORK
From: Manchester To: New York Dates: April Duration: 5 nights People: 2 Details: 4* – it’s ma birthday innniiitt (okay fine Angela didn’t add that bit)
For this, I want to show you a brilliant function that Google Flights has.
As you can see above, once you pop your dates in, you can toggle the duration of the trip at the bottom which will really easily show you the best prices for the month you’re after.
THANK YOU GOOGLE.
So I’m going to go for the trip starting on the 22nd April et voila, a direct fare to New York with Virgin for just £319.
(Shit, people are going to start to realise that my cheap holiday skills aren’t that difficult to grasp… 🤣)
However, whilst Google have done the hard job for us here, they don’t always show the cheapest prices and so my next step is to put the dates into Skyscanner, and this is what comes up.
£302?!! YES PLEASE.
The reason Skyscanner is able to offer this cheaper is because, as you can see above, you’re actually buying from a third party. They are the exact same flights that you could book direct with Virgin, it’s just that these companies often offer discounts to entice you in.
Skyscanner do vet all their third party companies and clearly show how customers rate them.
I’ve used them many times before and have only once had an issue when the price had increased and so they returned my money. In hindsight, I should have known it was going to happen as the fare was half the price of what everyone else was offering 🤣 (god loves a trier!)
Okay, so we’ve got the flight, now onto…
Now, Angela wants 4* and as someone who’s often cursed the prices of nice hotels in New York, I’m gonna do something a little rogue here…
🎉 CUE PACKAGE HOLIDAY 🎉
Since our flight is with Virgin, it does make me wonder if Virgin Holidays will have a good deal for these dates…
The cheapest deal is at Row Nyc for £912 per person (other sites list it as a 4 star but Virgin use their own rating system).
To work out if that’s a deal, we need to pop to trivago and whack in the same hotel.
Once I click through, I can see that Travel Republic are offering the room for 5 nights for £857 – which once split between two and added to the flight price comes in at £730.50 per person.
FFS VIRGIN HOLIDAYS.
I WAS ROOTING FOR YOU.
WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU.
However, before we call it a day, I want to see if I can find a slightly nicer hotel for Angela.
ANGELA’S 50TH DESERVES MORE THAN A 6.5 RATING OKAY?!
So this time sticking to trivago, I’ve whacked in the dates and used the filters to find us a 4* hotel with at least a 7.5 guest rating.
A Queen Room at the Westgate New York City is coming in at £148 per night on loveholidays (it’s £267 on Booking.com!)
And finally, this Queen Room at Hotel Indigo Lower East Side New York is just £185 a night if you book through loveholidays.
This hotel is GORGEOUS – check out the photos on Booking.com (in my opinion, they have the best gallery!) and also check out how much more expensive it is if you book with them 👀
This would cost £764.50 each for everything.
Have a great 50th birthday, Angela!
That’s everything fo this week’s holiday hotline.
Once again, I’m so sorry if I didn’t get to yours this week but unfortunately the business of finding the best deals isn’t quick work!
Remember, you can get involved in the next holiday hotline by simply following me over on Instagram and looking out for it on my stories.
Until next time!
I have used some affiliate links throughout this article. They don’t charge you more, but if you book through them you’ll be helping me to continue my cheap travel booking hobbies. For full transparency, I earn about 10p if you book a flight through a link so… Yeah, I’m rolling in it 😂