cheap school holiday getaways for families, teachers and groups

For this week’s holiday hotline, I decided to tackle a very hot topic: cheap summer holidays.

For teachers, families, or those wanting to just make the most of the summer weather, I know it really can be difficult to bag a bargain.

So, for this hotline I’m going to go through six different things – which you can click on to jump to if you don’t fancy a long read (if you do, grab a cuppa!)

NAVIGATION

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Top tips for cheap summer holidays

  • Book your flights sooner rather than later

Long gone are the days when you could rock up to the airport on the day and ask for a cheap flight. The stats show that flights costs almost always go up in the last week before travel – and that’s before even taking into account travelling at peak times.

The fact is that the summer holidays are always going to be popular travel times and so waiting for the price to drop is always going to be a tricky game.

My advice is if the price is an ‘typical to lower’ than the average cost, then book knowing that you will have spent less than more than half of the people on your flight.

You can find this out by popping your flights into Google Flights, selecting them and looking out for their helpful price bar (though remember to check the flights on Skyscanner too as they can often be even cheaper!).

Hopper is also a good app that uses stats to predict whether it’s the right time to book.

  • Book a hotel with a good cancellation policy and then check for last minute deals

The good news is that it is still possible to score a last minute deal when it comes to your accommodation – hotels do not like leaving rooms empty and so last minute price slashes are known even in peak times.

However, there is an element of risk here and so a good way to get around that is to book a hotel with a good cancellation policy early. Some hotels will offer this as standard.

Then, closer to your holiday you can scour to check for last minute bargains and cancel your original booking if you find a deal.

  • Book a holiday rental instead of a hotel

Whether it’s an apartment or villa with pool, the great thing about a holiday rental is how much money you can save by buying food, drinks and snacks for the duration of your stay!

  • If you want an Airbnb or villa, book early

Whilst many owners do higher their costs for peak times, some just have a basic rate that runs across the whole year. However, to find these cheap deals you’re going to have to get in and book early before someone else does.

And remember, if you haven’t used Airbnb before, you can get £25 off your first booking here!

  • Check more sites than just Airbnb

Hometogo searches lots of holiday rental websites, including Airbnb and it’s also worth checking out other websites such as Oliver’s Travels, Booking.com, Canopy and Stars and Sykes Holiday Cottages.

  • If you want an Airbnb or villa and have left it late, get ready to haggle!

Similar to hotels, Airbnb hosts don’t want their place going empty so put an offer in instead!.

Read my full guide on how to haggle on Airbnb here – there’s even a template email to send!

  • Booking a package holiday? Do it yourself for less!

One of my favourite things to do is to use package holiday sites as a springboard for my own searching. If they’re advertising a mega deal, before you hit ‘click’, have a search for the flights on Skyscanner and accommodation on Trivago to see if you could do it cheaper – often you can!

What I also like about this is that it’s a simple way to discover cheaper flights to popular destinations and then you could always swap out their chosen hotel for something more you, or perhaps even a villa or an apartment.

Do bear in mind that if you’re booking your flight and accommodation separately you will not get the ATOL or ABTA insurance offered by most package holiday companies so make sure you’ve got travel insurance and buy on a credit card or a visa debit card for added payment protection on purchases over £100. Read up on more ways to protect yourself here.

  • House sit for free accommodation

Did you know that you can bag free accommodation by looking after someone’s house, watering their plants or even feeding their pets? I’ve done it twice and it is amazing.

  • Get your flights for the cheapest price possible

Use my cheap flight checklist and find the scenario that best fits your getaway!

There’s also a list of alternative ways to whittle down that price at the end too.

  • Get £25 off by booking with cashback

This isn’t supposed to be part of the work I’ve been recently doing with Quidco but I thought I would highlight here that you can get a £25 bonus plus cashback by signing up to Quidco and spending £250 on travel before 9th Feb 2020 by using this link.

  • Visit a non traditional summer holiday destination

Yes, I’m sure you’d to relax at the beach but if you’re really after a great value holiday, I’d recommend heading inland or to a city. As there’s less demand for these destinations, you could end up finding a much better deal and just because it’s not by the sea doesn’t mean you can’t score yourself a hotel with a pool!

  • Fly inland and travel to the coast another way

If you’re really gagging for that beach holiday try flying inland instead – big capital cities that aren’t on the coast are normally a good shout as there’s lots of flights going there – and then look at either taking the train or driving to the coast.

Whilst not a beach destination, we once took a 2 hour train in Italy to get between Rome and Perugia and it cost just £10 each and was a lush way to travel (though that may have something to do with the bottle of prosecco we took on board…)

  • Pack light

The great thing about summer holidays is that it’s warm and you really don’t need to pack much. Make a clothes plan before you go away and stick to it. Use a big fabric backpack (this is what I use) that you’ll be able to use for flights with even the crappest allowances. If travelling in a group, book a suitcase between you for liquids if you really need them or order your liquids through click and collect at a Boots after security. Yep, THIS IS A THING!

I used to pack LOADS but now I love going travelling light – give it ago on your next holiday!

  • Not sure where you’re going to go? Use clever search engine tools

When you just want to get away, there are loads of search engine hacks that can help you spot a cheaper fare.

My favourite is the Ryanair fare finder which allows you to select date ranges. DREAMY.

WHY DOESN’T EVERYONE ELSE DO THIS??!!

Other search engines have great tools but a lot of them clump your searches into month blocks. This can be really helpful for August, but not in July when you only want to search for school holiday dates and the cheapest prices will obviously be those outside of that.

Here’s one way you can kind of hack your way around it – though it’s a bit long winded!

Kayak let’s you search for ‘anywhere’ and they also allow you state the duration of your trip – LOVE IT as it allows flexibility.

They also make out that you can search for 4 weeks around your selected date but it’s a lie mate.

Once you click search it forgets that date and then you can only select a whole month to search.

WHY ARE YOU TEASING US KAYAK?!!

However, I did find this helpful…

Once you’ve selected a destination, look to the right as this graph does allow you to toggle through the trip duration and you can spot where the cheaper prices will lie.

But then again, if you know what destination you want, you’ll also get this from the banging calendar view on Google Flights!

Google Flights also have a clever search tool that allows you to search for weekends, weeks and two week return flights in a certain month (though annoyingly we’re note quite at the summer holidays yet!).

On the homepage, leave your destination blank, click search, and then click into the dates and toggle over to ‘flexible dates’.

And as always, check your flights on Skyscanner before you book.

Skyscanner also allow you to search for ‘everywhere’ in a certain month but I’d like to see some more options from these guys in the future!


The Request

This week’s holiday hotline is a culmination of a few people asking for cheap summer holidays so I’m going to show you some of the deals I’ve rustled up for couples, families and groups of mates.

Remember, if you want to be involved with the next holiday hotline, make sure you’re following me over on Instagram.


Cheap summer flights from all over the UK

Before I give you some solid holiday options, here’s some cheap flights from all over the UK that might intrigue you but remember – check the accommodation prices before you hit buy on those cheap flights!

From London

Berlin, Germany – 5 nights – Weds 19th Aug – Mon 24th Aug – £58 each
Ibiza, Spain – 4/5 nights – Sat 8th Aug – Thu 13th Aug – £60 each
Nice, France – 7 nights – Tues 28th July – Tues 4th Aug – £67 each
Budapest, Hungary – 7 nights – Tues 18th Aug – Tues 25th Aug – £86 each
Seville, Spain – 7 nights – Thurs 6th Aug – Tues 11th Aug – £86 each
Porto, Portugal – 5 nights – Sun 26th July – Fri 31st July – £102 each
Luqa, Malta – 9 nights – Tues 21st July – Thu 30th July – £106 each
Faro, Portugal – 7 nights – Tues 28th July – Tues 4th Aug – £115 each

From Manchester

Copenhagen, Denmark – 5 nights – Wed 22nd July – Mon 27th July – £41 each
Amsterdam, Netherlands – 5 nights – Wed 12th Aug – Mon 17th Aug – £48 each
Prague, Czechia – 7 nights – Thu 6th Aug – Thu 13th Aug – £80 each
Lisbon, Portugal – 7 nights – Thu 20th Aug – Thu 27th Aug – £107 each
Barcelona, Spain – 5 nights – Sat 15th Aug – Thu 20th Aug – £110 each
Luqa, Malta – 7 nights – Wed 12th Aug – Thu 20th Aug –£130 each
Malaga, Spain – 8 nights – Wed 12th Aug – Thu 20th Aug – £136 each

From Cardiff

Dublin, Ireland – 7 nights – Wed 5th Aug – Wed 12th Aug – £58 each
Paris, France – 5 nights – Fri 7th Aug – Wed 12 July – £112 each
Malaga, Spain – 7 nights – Wed 22nd July – Wed 29th July – £118 each

From Edinburgh

Milan, Italy – 7 nights – Sun 16th Aug – Sun 23rd Aug – £75 each
Munich, Germany – 7 nights – Mon 3rd Aug – Mon 10th Aug – £76 each
Girona, Spain – 7 nights Sun 16th Aug – Sun 23rd Aug – £97 each
Faro, Portugal – 12 nights – Sun 23rd Aug – Weds 2nd Sep – £105 each
Dubrovnik, Croatia – 7 nights – Thu 13th Aug – Thu 20th Aug – £114 each

From BelfasT

Amsterdam, Netherlands – 7 nights – Sun 9th Aug – Sun 16th Aug – £73 each
Luqa, Malta – 7 nights – Tues 25th Aug – Tue 1st Sep – £75 each
Krakow, Poland – 7 nights – Thu 13th Aug – Thu 20th Aug – £124 each
Venice, Italy – 7 nights – Mon 27th July – Mon 3rd Aug – £156 each

From Leeds

Dublin, Ireland – 7 nights – Sun 26th July – Sun 2nd Aug – £44 each
Amsterdam, Netherlands – 5 nights – Sat 25th July – Thu 30th July – £94 each
Limoges, France – 7 nights – Thu 23rd July – Thu 30th July – £112 each
Pisa, Italy – 7 nights – Fri 14th Aug – Fri 21st Aug – £118 each

Hopefully that will give you some ideas but let’s put a few of them into motion to show what cheap accommodation you could find as well.


Cheap summer holidays for couples

THE HOLIDAY

Berlin is a great example of non-traditional summer holiday destination that’s a lot of fun in the warmer months.

James and I went last August and had the best time zipping about the city of e-scooters, drinking bottles of beer out in the sunshine and even travelling out to one of the many lakes Berlin brags on its outskirts.

What’s more, there are loads of great 4 star hotels available for around £60 a night – even in the summer – though do check whether there will be aircon. Ours didn’t have any initially and it was SO WARM!

FLIGHTS

London to Berlin, Germany
Weds 19th Aug – Mon 24th Aug
£57 each

ACCOMODATION

Leonardo Royal Hotel Berlin Alexanderplatz
4 star
£59 a night / £147.50 each for 5 nights

What’s more, if you book with Quidco you can earn 8.4% cashback if you book with a credit card, as well as qualifying for the bonus £25 back if you sign up with this link.

TOTAL

Without cashback – £204.50 each for 5 nights
With cashback and bonus – £179.61 each for 5 nights


Cheap summer holidays for families

THE HOLIDAY

So, I’m going to show you hear how you can use package holiday sites to find a good deal but then book it yourself to save even more money.

Here’s a week long holiday to Mazagón, a beach town in Andalusia, Spain. The Mazagon hotel has a kids club, entertainment and a pretty bad ass pool (hello pirate ship and slides) and the price per night includes half board which should help keep your daily costs down.

I found this deal on loveholidays which is great website to use if you’re a fan of package holidays as I love the fact you can select multiple departure airports – for this I selected ‘Any North West’ – and that you can select a date but then add up to 5 days flexibility either side.

However, let’s take these details and break it down.

FLIGHTS

Manchester to Seville
Weds 19th Aug to Weds 26th Aug
£97 each / £386 total

HOTEL

By searching on Google Hotels, Trivago and even with the hotel directly, I’ve found the same room for £153 a night with LogiTravel.

TOTAL

The total cost for a family of four comes in at £1460 – that’s £104 cheaper than booking it as a package.

That works out at £365 each.

Again, check out the cashback deal I’ve got running at the moment to earn a bonus £25 plus cashback on the hotel, meaning you’d save £117 pounds bringing the overall total in at £335.75 each.

It is worth noting that booking your holiday as a package can mean you can put down a small deposit (though in this case, LogiTravel also allow you to put down a small deposit for just your hotel) and that you won’t get the same insurance that comes with booking parts of your holiday together.

However, there are some straight forward ways to cover yourself – including buying on a credit or visa debit card and making sure your travel insurance covers insolvency.

You can read up on this here!


Cheap summer holidays for groups

THE HOLIDAY

For our final search, I’m going to show you another way to get a cheaper summer holiday – find the accommodation first!

I find this is especially helpful when you’ve got quite niche requirements, so for this example, here’s what I’m searching for:

  • 24th August for one week (give or take a few days)
  • 6 people
  • At least 3 bedrooms
  • At least 2 bathrooms
  • Hot weather destination
  • Air conditioning
  • Pool

The reasoning behind this is that if you can nail a great price for where you’re staying, you’ll save way more than scoring some cheap flights and then trying to find accommodation that suits.

ACCOMMODATION

So, to search for this I’m going to head over to Airbnb and in the search bar, type ‘Europe’.

I’ll then enter my dates (24th Aug – 31st Aug) and the amount of guests I’m after (6).

Next, I’ll click on ‘Stays’ and on the next screen, will use the filters to finely tune what I’m after.

E.g.

  • Entire place
  • Max budget of £150 a night
  • At least 3 beds
  • At least 3 bedrooms
  • At least 2 bathrooms
  • Air conditioning
  • Pool

Even after all of that, Airbnb is showing me 300+ places to stay so now it’s about using the map to see where may be easy to get to and for a good price.

Almost instantly I find this UNREAL home for an incredibly good price in the south of Spain.

Airbnb
Ribera Baja
Sleeps 12 – 4 bedrooms – 3 bathrooms
£138 a night / £964 total

Get £25 off your first stay

What’s more, the availability on the calendar tells me it’s free from 21st August so we do have some flexibility on dates which will help find the best value flights.

It’s a 2 hours drive from Malaga and a 2.5 hour drive from Seville, so there’s also some flexibility there as well.

FLIGHTS TO MALAGA

Fri 21st Aug – Fri 28th Aug
From London – £141 each

Tues 25th Aug – Tues 1st Sep
From Belfast – £89 each
From Glasgow – £95 each
From Edinburgh – £111 each

FLIGHTS TO SEVILLE

Fri 21st Aug – Fri 28th Aug
From London – £114 each
From Manchester – £152 each

Sat 22nd Aug – Sat 29th Aug
From Edinburgh – £120 each

Mon 24th Aug – Mon 31st Aug
From Manchester – £140 each

Tues 25th Aug – Tues 1st Sep
From Bristol – £116 each

TOTAL

So, if you’re flying from Belfast, this place for six people could be as cheap as £249 each for one week.

BUT, if you were to fill up the place to capacity and have 12 of you staying, it could be as cheap as £214 each!

(Before you question my maths, the price of the Airbnb goes up with the amount of people who stay!)


Phew! That was an epic one! Wanna say thanks?

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Some of these links are affiliated – it doesn’t cost you a penny more but I may earn a little something that will help me run this site. Feel free to search these deals independently!

Can I do a 3 night group getaway to Krakow for less than £100pp?

This week we’re helping Jade who’s after a group trip to Krakow in Poland.

  • Krakow
  • From London
  • 3 nights
  • 7 people
  • £250pp

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!


Flights

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.

Bargain.

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.

How to save more money on Wizz Air flights

By signing up to the Wizz Discount Club, you’ll get access to loads of perks.

And two types of membership are available:

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.


Right, that’s enough flight chat, let’s move onto accomodation.

IMAGINE IF I CAN’T FIND ANY AFTER ALL THAT.

No, positive thoughts Chelsea, positive thoughts.

For this I’m definitely thinking an apartment or house but instead of hopping straight to Airbnb, I’m going to go to HomeToGo instead.

HomeToGo is to holiday homes like what Trivago is to hotels.

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!

Here’s the best that I found.


Accommodation

Rister Apartments
£129 a night / £55.29 each

The dining area may not be big enough for everyone but with 4 bedrooms (though one has a sofa bed), 2 bathrooms and two sofa areas, it’s not bad for £55 quid each!


Airbnb
£164.67 a night / £70.57 each for 3 nights

Not used Airbnb before? Get £25 off your first stay here!

THIS PLACE IS SO BIZARRE AND I FACKIN’ LOVE IT.

Just look at the floor plan 🤣

It will be so wrong for most groups but if you were away with a group of close mates and wanted a posh and trendy sleepover, WHAT A PLACE!

I mean, it has a sauna?!??? But only one bathroom?

WAS SOMEONE OFF THEIR TITS WHEN THEY DESIGNED THIS?!!!


Airbnb
£217 a night / £93 each for 3 nights

Not used Airbnb before? Get £25 off your first stay here!

What I liked about this place is not only did it have 5 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, but it also had two social spaces and a table that actually fits all the people Jade wants to go away with!


House of Loft Affair
2 apartments x 1 bed apartments
£337.16 a night / £144.71 each for 3 nights

These apartments are GORGEOUS and they’ve got big social spaces.

Yet, for people not to be on sofa beds in the living rooms, Jade would need to book this instead.

House of Loft Affair
2 x 2 bedroom apartments
£529 a night / £227 each for 3 nights

Jade will need to select the Palace House and the Pent House.

Now this is slightly over budget but if Jade is looking for something a bit luxe, then this is it!


The final cost

So, going with the cheapest option, Jade and her mates could get away to Krakow for 3 nights for just £97.72 each.

Meaning that the extra £150 can be used for spends.

GET THE BEERS IN, SON.


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cheap christmas market weekends that are STILL available from all over the UK

How is it the end of November already?

And HOW do I not have a European Christmas Market trip not booked in yet?

Madness.

Let’s see what we can rustle up for some last minute cheap weekend trips away this December.

Either scroll on through or click on the trips that interest you:

All prices are based on flights and two people sharing a room.


TOULOUSE

from £59.50pp for 2 nights

Set in their impressive Place du Capitole, expect the traditional style huts bearing the customary toys, candles and local woodcrafts.

FLIGHTS

London – Toulouse
Fri 6th Dec – Sun 8th Dec – from £24 return

You can also fly from Bristol for £64 return

Psst – There’s also flights from London between 13th – 15th for only £44 return

ACCOMMODATION

At just £67.50 a night for a well rated 4 star hotel, Hôtel de Brienne is a great shout!

Want cheaper? The Aparthotel Adagio across the river is just £35.50 a night or this cute Airbnb works out at £50 a night.

Remember, if you haven’t used Airbnb before you can get money off your first stay here!


POZNAN

from £107.49pp for 3 nights

Listed as this year’s 6th best European Christmas market, Poznan ticks all the boxes for a magical festive experience but also if you’re there on the 7th and 8th December, you’ll also experience their amazing Ice Festival where sculptors come together to compete in the streets!

FLIGHTS

London to Poznan
Fri 6th Dec – Mon 9th Dec – from £66 return

Yes, the flights are EARLY (the evening flight with Ryanair costs A LOT more!) but think of how much festive cheer you can cram in? I’ve gone for the return on the Monday morning as it allows you more time to explore the city but you can return early on the Sunday for just £46 return.

ACCOMMODATION

This super central Airbnb works out at just £36.67 a night.

Travelling as mates? This twin bed studio will only cost you £35 a night and if you don’t mind the 40 min walk central, this modern studio is only £27.66 a night!

Remember, if you haven’t used Airbnb before you can get money off your first stay here!


BRUSSELS

from £106.50pp for 2 nights

Another from the top ten Christmas Markets is Brussels! Their ‘Winter Wonders’ gets 2.5 million visitors a year and has markets, an ice rink and a huge Christmas tree in the square.

FLIGHTS

Edinburgh to Brussels
Fri 13th Dec – Sun 15th Dec – from £62 return.

Though you can fly into and out of the main airport for just £67 return.

You can also fly direct from London from £127 and from Manchester from £176 return.

ACCOMMODATION

Currently under offer thanks to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this 4 star hotel – The President Brussels Hotel – has rooms from just £72.86 a night.

Plus, it’s just a 20 min walk from the Christmas markets!

Top Tip: Be sure to click on ‘rooms’ rather than ‘packages’ to get this deal.

Want to stay somewhere cheaper? A private room woth ensuite in Hostel Galia is £56 a night and this simple £44.50 a night Airbnb is a 40 min walk or a 15 min public transport journey away from the markets.

Remember, if you haven’t used Airbnb before you can get money off your first stay here!


BASEL

from £158pp for 2 nights

Okay, it may not be the cheapest once you’re there but if you’re gagging to see some snow, you’re not too far from the Alps here! Placing #15 on the best Christmas Markets, Basel is known as the Switzerland’s biggest and most beautiful Christmas city.

FLIGHTS

Manchester to Basel
Fri 6th Dec – Sun 8th Dec – £78 return

What great timed flights!

There’s also some great times from London for £97 return.

ACCOMMODATION

Top tip: You get a free Baselcard when you check in to a hotel in Basel which offers discounts on local attractions. More importantly it also gives you unlimited public transport in the city and to the airport as well. If your hotel reservation is marked ‘mobility ticket’, you can use this to travel from the airport to your hotel. More information is here.

Hotel Stücki is a really well rated 3 star hotel that’s a mile from the historic old town where the Christmas festivities take place! For Switzerland it really isn’t bad for £80.90 a night.


SEVILLE

from £78.50pp for 3 nights

With average temperatures in December coming in at 17 degrees, you may think Seville is a bizarre choice yet it was voted amongst the Best Sunny Christmas Markets in Europe and was visitors top market in Spain last year. Expect traditional style markets, an ice rink and delicious food, of course!

FLIGHTS

You can fly Fri – sun from London from £83 return and from Manchester for £122 return but I wanted to shine a light on this amazing deal instead.

Bristol to Seville
Fri 13th Dec – Mon 16th Dec – £20 return

What a bargain!

ACCOMMODATION

Okay stop.

WHY IS SEVILLE SO DAMN CHEAP FOR GORGEOUS HOTELS?

LET’S ALL GO TO SEVILLE.

A room at the 4 star One Shot Palacio Conde de Torrejón 09 (mouthfull or what?) comes in at just £64.66 a night.

Lush.

This cute Airbnb is just £57 a night and if you want to keep it really cheap, this one bedroom Airbnb is only £39 a night (the reviews are amazing, I just think they need better photos!!).


If I’ve helped you out, why not pay back the love by sponsoring me over on Patreon? It costs less than the price of a coffee a month (especially if you like fancy ones!) and means that I get to do more of this.

You can also help me out by following me on Instagram, Twitter and subscribing on YouTube.

And as always – remember to tell me where you end up going so I can holiday vicariously through you all!


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.

cheap september 2019 weekend breaks from all over the UK

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

This time, it was all about looking ahead to September for some great value weekend breaks.

For most of these deals, I’ve used a website called Cheeky Weekend which has been a REVELATION to me as someone who loves a trip that only takes up a single day of annual leave. But I’ll talk more about that at the end.


FROM LONDON

London Stansted to Gothenburg
Fri 27th Sep – Sun 29th Sep
Ryanair
£38

Gothenburg is Sweden’s second city, and a brilliant way to experience a bit of Scandi bliss without having to fork out an arm and a leg (we’re looking at you, Norway). 

  • Average September temperature – 17 degrees
  • Pint of beer – £5.79
  • Three course meal for 2 at mid range restaurant – £55.70
  • Cappuccino – £3.19
  • One way ticket on local transport – £2.44
  • For more prices, check out Numbeo!

Having been for a weekend break this year myself, I’d put the prices just a tad more expensive than London but there are plenty of options to choose from if you’re wanting to stick to a budget.

Airbnb
2 nights
£109.50 each
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

This gorgeous Airbnb is close to the hip area of Haga which is full of cool bars, restaurants and shops. Plus, it has a cute balcony! Winner.

Total = £147.50 per person 

Check out what I got up to on my weekend trip to Gothenburg back in January!


FROM MANCHESTER
AND EDINBURGH

Manchester to Brussels South Charleroi
Fri 27th Sep – Mon 30th Sep
Ryanair
£30

You can also depart at 0750 on the Friday for just £42 return, or from Edinburgh between Thurs 19th – Mon 22nd Sep for just £39 return as well.

Now look. This isn’t Brussel’s main airport but if you don’t fancy stumping up £133 for a return to its International hub, then this is the one for you. There’s a shuttle bus that departs every half hour that costs £13 each way, and takes an hour to get into the city, and there’s even more cost effective options if you wanted to head straight to Bruges or Ghent.

Oh, that was a spoiler for what I’ve got planned…

Whilst Brussels may not be the sexiest of destinations, the great thing about it is its quick and easy connections to other parts of the country, and so why not make this a tri-city break and hit up the picturesque cities of Ghent and Bruges as well?

  • Average August temperature – 20 degrees
  • Pint of beer – £3.75
  • Three course meal for 2 at mid range restaurant – £56.22
  • Cappuccino – £2.84
  • One way ticket on local transport – £1.97
  • For more prices, check out Numbeo!

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

Fri 27th Sep – Brussels

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

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

Sat 28th Sep – Ghent/Gent

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

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

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

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

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

Sun 29th Sep – Ghent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mon 30th Sep – Brussels

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

Train from Bruges to Brussels
59 mins
£15.89

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

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

Total = £212.92 each


FROM BRISTOL
AND LONDON

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

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

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

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

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

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


FROM BELFAST
AND GLASGOW

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

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

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

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

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

Airbnb
3 nights
£59.50 each
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

If you want to keep the price down once you’re actually there, then I definitely recommend taking a look into Poland.

Total = £119.50 each


FROM DONCASTER SHEFFIELD

Doncaster Sheffiled to Vilnius
Fri 20th Sep – Mon 23rd Sep
Wizzair
£61

Lithuania’s capital is becoming a really exciting destination. Whilst it may be compact, it has the largest medieval old town in central and eastern Europe. Expect fairytale style buildings and a bustling cafe culture.

Plus, it’s pretty damn cheap.

  • Average September temperature – 17 degrees
  • Pint of beer – £2.81
  • Three course meal for 2 at mid range restaurant – £32.80
  • Cappuccino – £2.05
  • One way ticket on local transport – 94p
  • For more prices, check out Numbeo!

Airbnb
3 nights
Self check in (good for that early morning arrival!)
£67 each
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

Total = £128 each


How to find your own weekend bargains

As I mentioned, a few of these deals were found using a new website called Cheeky Weekend that’s been set up by two travel mad mates. I’m a big fan of supporting new startups and this is such an easy way to discover what weekend getaways are available in your price range.

The site currently works for departures from London, Belfast, Bristol, Dublin, Edinburgh and Manchester (there’s more to come!) and my favourite things is that you can set what time you’re able to sneak away from work at on a Friday.

The lads have a totally free version of the site available if you’re looking to getaway in the next 4 weeks.

There is a subscription fee (around £2 a month) if you’d like to unlock trips up to the next 6 months, but my recommendation would be to see how you fare with the free site first.

If you do want to sign up, you can get a 25% off your membership by using the code HOWMANYHOLIDAYS (I emailed Dave the CEO asking if he could give us a discount – CHEEKY). Since Dave’s a right gem, he’s set it up so that I will get a little kickback from this, but again, give the free site a go first before commiting to spend any money.

WE GOTTA KEEP IT SAVVY, GUYS.


If you want more cheap travel tips, give us a follow on Instagram or check out my YouTube.


I have used some affiliate links throughout this article. They don’t charge you more, but if you book through them you’ll be helping me to continue my cheap travel booking hobbies. For full transparency, I earn about 10p if you book a flight through a link so… Yeah, I’m rolling in it!

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

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

If you haven’t heard of the holiday hotline before, it’s something I do over on my Instagram stories where I ask you for what chap getaway I can help find for you.

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

Let’s get on with it, shall we?

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

THE REQUEST: Cheap but stylish Tuscany getaway

Extra Details:

  • From Manchester
  • In September or October

A LOAD of you asked about Tuscany this week and so I hope this helps a few of you tick the Italian countryside off your bucket list.

FLIGHTS

There are two airport options if you fancy visiting Tuscany – Florence or Pisa. And whilst the former may be the region’s capital, you’re going to be hard pressed to find cheap and direct flights outside of London.

FGS FLORENCE, YOU BOUJIE MADAME.

Therefore, we’re going to be taking a look at Pisa which is much more satisfactory on the ol’ pocket.

Manchester to Pisa
Thurs 17th Oct – Tues 22nd Oct
easyJet
£69 each

If you often fly Ryanair, you’ll be pleased to hear that easyJet still allow you to wheel on a cabin case which I think is more than big enough for this 5 night getaway! You can find out more about their luggage allowance here.

CAR RENTAL

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

The great news is that car hire is CHEAP AF!

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

ACCOMMODATION

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

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

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

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

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

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

TOTAL

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

Total = £272.50 each for 5 nights in Tuscany


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

Extra Details:

  • From London
  • For 2 people

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

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

But here’s the reason I’m so excited…

This isn’t just any old hotel.

This is a FOUR SEASONS HOTEL.

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

✨TOTAL HONEYMOON VIBEZ ✨

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


THE REQUEST: UK mini-moon lodge with hot tub

Extra Details:

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

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

Here’s my favourite that I found!

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


THE REQUEST: Budget Greek holiday for two

Extra Details:

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

Flights from Gatwick and Heathrow to Rhodes and Crete were coming in a little pricey (okay A LOT PRICEY) and so I’m gonna throw a curveball in here.

KEFALONIA.

Kefalonia is an island just west of mainland Greece, so sure, not quite the Southern Greece that was requested, but just have a quick peruse of #Kefalonia on Instagram and I’m sure you’ll be satisfied!

The great thing about Kefalonia is that not only are there some great flight options, but the accommodation is so, damn cheap too.

FLIGHT

London Gatwick – Argostoli Kefalonia
Sat 5th Oct – Sat 12th Oct
Norwegian – 1 cabin bag plus 1 personal item
£101 each
(pssst you can fly for just £54 return later in the month!)

ACCOMMODATION

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

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

If you’re looking for a bigger group, I also recommend taking a look at Unique Kefalonia who have got some outrageous villas for amazing prices. I kept seeing the same properties on Airbnb but for so much more!

TOTAL

Since you’ll also need a car, I’ve chucked that price in here too.

Flights – £101 each
Car hire – £25 each
Accommodation – £221.50 each

Total = £347.50 each for 7 nights in Kefalonia


That’s it for this week’s holiday hotline!

Again, I was totally overwhelmed by the amount of requests and so please do accept my most sincere apologies for not getting to you. I will do my best to work through all the responses this week so that if I can steer you in the right direction, I will!

Remember, you can get involved in the next holiday hotline by simply following me over on Instagram and looking out for it on my stories.

SEE YOU NEXT TIME!


I have used some affiliate links throughout this article. They don’t charge you more, but if you book through them you’ll be helping me to continue my cheap travel booking hobbies. For full transparency, I earn about 10p if you book a flight through a link so… Yeah, I’m rolling in it 😂

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

It’s time for this week’s holiday hotline where I ask you to submit your requests via Instagram and I go on a search for you.

If you’re not following me already, head on over and you can be part of the next one!

Right, let’s get cracking!

THE REQUEST: Cyprus at the end of September

Extra details:

  • 2 people
  • 2 weeks
  • Not ‘englishy’

FLIGHTS

Cyprus has 4 international airports but for the UK crowd, your best bets are Paphos and Larnaca but coming in at almost half the price at the end of September, is the latter!

London Luton to Larnaca, Cyprus
Tues 24th Sep – Tues 8th Oct
£75 return

Cheap flights also available Thurs 26th Sep – Thurs 10th Oct for £80.

ACCOMMODATION

As you’re going for 2 weeks, I’d deffo use this as an opportunity to stay in a few different types of accommodation. I tend to start a little cheaper and then towards the end of the holiday, treat myself to a LUSH hotel. It gives you something to look forward before you go home!

So, let’s take a look at some different types of accommodation.

Airbnb
£50.85 a night – £356 a week
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

Located in the beautiful village of Bellapais, there’s ancient buildings, sights for daaaaysss and also, you’re only a 4 mile drive from North Cyprus’ coast.

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

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

Guesthouse
From £51 a night – £357 a week

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

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

I am full on obsessed with place and have taken to visiting it online once a week. It’s adults only, on a vineyard and brags an amazing restaurant. Plus, at just £90 a night in October I think it’s great value for something a little bit more special.

What with the to-ing and fro-ing, a car will need to be hired too!

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

TOTAL

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

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

Total = £550.50 each


THE REQUEST = 3 nights in Majorca for 10 adults

Extra details:

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

FLIGHTS

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


ACCOMMODATION

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

Total = £167.70 each!


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

Extra details:

  • From London
  • Hot and sunny
  • £300pp max
  • Hannah likes exploring, her boyf likes relaxing!

How about… MILAN! Not only are there cheap flights all the tiiiimme, you can combine an explore around the city with a couple of day up at Lake Como which only takes an hour to get to by train – and is as cheap as €4,80!

FLIGHTS

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

ACCOMMODATION

Okay, I’m thinking a jaunt up to Lake Como for some chill time first I personally prefer to stay at a hotel on the last night as it means you can easily leave your things at the front desk if you decide to take the later flight home.

So, let’s look at Lake Como.

There are lots of options all around the lake but for ease, I’d take a look at Airbnbs around the town of Como itself for easy access from the train, and a central starting spot for exploring.

Airbnb
Thurs 29th Aug – Sat 31st Aug
£119 a night – £238 total
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

Next, we’re heading back to Milan and let’s think HOTELS.

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

Enterprise Hotel Design & Boutique
Sat 31st Aug to Mon 2nd Sep
4 star spa hotel
£92.50 a night – £185 total


THE REQUEST: Chill Croatia break in early October

Extra details:

  • 2 people
  • £350pp budget

FLIGHTS

CHECK OUT THESE CHEAP ASS FLIGHTS TO PULA:

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

ACCOMMODATION

Having flown into Pula recently for a little ‘chilled’ break myself, I know that there are plenty of places within an hour’s drive to choose from. I stayed in Rabac which was a cute resort town (though perhaps a little too resorty for me) so instead, we’re going to take a look at Rovinj which is a 40 min drive from the airport.

GORGEOUS.

Yet again, I’m gonna mix up a cheaper Airbnb and then end off the stay in a LUSH hotel (that again, I visit often online).

Airbnb
Weds 2nd Oct – Mon 7th Oct
£50.20 a night – £251 total
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

Hotel Lone
Mon 7th Oct – Weds 9th Oct
Breakfast included
£136 a night – £272 total

Last of all, you’ll need a hire car.

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

DAMN CROATIA AND YOUR CHEAP CAR HIRE

TOTAL

Flights – £30 each
Car hire – £16.50 each
Airbnb – £125.50 each
Hotel – £136 each

Total = £308 each


That’s it for this week’s holiday hotline. If I didn’t get you then I’m SO SORRY but blimey, there was a lot of you to get through and I hope I can help you out in the future.

If you fancy being involved with the next one, make sure you’re following on Instagram and checking on my stories.

Until then!


That’s it for this week’s holiday hotline. If I didn’t get you then I’m so sorry – I hope I can help you out in the future!

If you fancy being involved with the next one, make sure you’re following on Instagram and checking on my stories.

Until next time!


I have used some affiliate links throughout this article. They don’t charge you more, but if you book through them you’ll be helping me to continue my cheap travel booking hobbies. For full transparency, I earn about 10p if you book a flight through a link so… Haha!

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!