top tips on finding the best black friday travel deals

IMG_5834.JPG#ad #BlackFriday #Expedia

The wonderful thing about being obsessed about finding travel deals is that when a brand you know and love gets in touch and says things such as ‘we’re offering up to 75% off hotels for Black Friday, does that interest you?’ it’s the easiest decision in the world.

So here is a post brought to you by yours truly – and Expedia.

Here’s the deal. On Friday 23rd November at 9am, they’ll be releasing a hotel coupon from here that could see you saving up to 75% off (fan me down, lads).

This can only be used on their app so make sure you’ve got it downloaded and ready to go at 9am before someone else (read: me) swipes a bargain from right underneath your nozzle.

DOWNLOAD ME NOW

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As I’m also in the market for a hotel or two at the moment (when am I not?), I also got thinking about all the things that can help make Black Friday shopping an ease and not an effort. Starting with…

1. Mark your calendar

This year, Black Friday lands on Friday 23rd November however some brands may start to trickle out the deals a few days before and after.

2. Research

The best way to get a good deal is to prepare and have a think about where you’d like to go.

On my list at the moment is:

  • Santiago in Chile
  • Cape Town in South Africa
  • The Azores in Portugal

(so HOLLER AT ME if you see any deals for these come up)

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Who fancies a trip to the Azores with me?

So, what we all need to do before Black Friday is research those destinations a bit more:

  • Who flies there?
  • What routes do they take?
  • Will I need a visa?
  • Will I need to get injections?
  • When is a good time to visit?

Sure, you might find a proper cheap flight but if you find out you’re there for monsoon season and your £100 visa won’t even come back in time, you’ll be gutted.

3. Get ready

As you may need to pounce on a deal, it’s definitely worth asking yourself the following questions:

  • How much time can you take off?

Check your holiday allowances and remember, if you haven’t booked Christmas off yet (and you’re on a standard UK full time contract), you’ll need 4 days to take off between 22nd Dec – 1st Jan.

  • Can you get the time off work?

If you’ve got some dates in mind, it’s worth putting some feelers out with whoever controls your holiday allowance. In the very least, check when you definitely couldn’t take time off to avoid disappointment.

  • Who would you go with?

Be it a mate or a date, get them on board now. That, or just embark on your own solo adventure which makes things a hell of a lot easier to organise!

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I tend to holiday with the ‘housemate’…
  • Do you have everyone’s details?

Get all the travellers passport details ready to go!

  • How much can you spend?

This is really important because sales are EXCITING and before you know it, you’ve plonked £400 on your credit card that you can’t really afford. If you’re travelling with others, agree on your budget, and factor in a maximum price you’d go to if you find something proper lush.

  • Do you have the money?

Most sites will need you to put the full amount onto one card so if you’re going away with someone else, make sure you’ve got enough to cover the cost

4. Bookmark, follow and download

Now you’ve got an idea of where you’re going, it’s time to bookmark websites, follow social media accounts and download apps in preparation.

A good trick on Twitter is to create a list of airlines, hotel groups and comparison sites, which will compile all their social accounts in one place.

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If I was being coy, this is where I’d slip in the old ‘oh, did you know Expedia are up to something fun too?’ trick but I feel like I’ve blown that already. So, all I’m gonna say, again, is UP TO 75% OFF ON THEIR APP! DOWNLOAD IT NOW!

5. Check that you’re actually getting a deal

  • Check the location – nobody wants to stay 25km from where they intended
  • Check the reviews
  • And lastly, check what price it usually retails at

Right, I’m off to limber up for Black Friday morning. Do come and join me on Instagram where I’ll be sharing what I discover!

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how to stay in a €1,000,000 holiday apartment | barcelona wedding vlog

What’s even better than going on holiday and living like a local? Going on holiday and living like a LUXURY LOCAL!

Our apartment in Barcelona was stunning – and here’s exactly how you could stay here yourself for a whole lot less money than your average hotel.

ENTER STAGE LEFT: Love Home Swap!

This is the second time we’ve used Love Home Swap (remember that insane New York apartment with the Emmy Award? Yeah, that one was one of them too) so to say we’re impressed is a total understatement. I really love how not only the quality of homes on the site are proper BANGIN’, but also that there’s nice ‘community vibes’ – because no one’s there to make money out of you. Everyone’s just after the same thing – somewhere nice to stay.

In this video, I’ll break down how we found this particular apartment and how we used Love Home Swap’s clever ‘points swap’ feature to stay. We also go to our friends’ incredible Barcelona wedding, get a chronic hangover (standard) and properly explore the neighbourhood of Eixample.

go karting around tokyo is a REAL THING

Our first two days in Tokyo included yakitori in piss alley, maid cafes, the golden gai and even a whizz around the city that in no way resembled nintendo’s mario kart…

 

how many holidays in save the student

I’ve had a fair bit of press of recent (brag, brag, brag) but I bloody loved this piece that Tom from Save The Student did with me – he even managed to eke out a few extra tips that haven’t made their way into any video yet!

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You can see the full article here.

the holiday breakdown – how much did it all cost?

So yes, yes, I went on loads of holidays last year however, I realised today that I’ve actually yet to post all of them, along with their costs, in one easy-to-find place.

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Remember the rules?

I had £1709 (half the price the average Brit spends in a year) to go on:

  1. At least 10 holidays
  2. Trips must be 2 nights or more and two must be 5 nights or more
  3. Only use 28 days of annual leave
  4. At least 3 continents
  5. At least one flight must be business class

The holidays

1) Valencia, Spain

easyJet flights – £62pp
1 night – Bloc Hotel Gatwick – £32.72pp
2 nights – Hotel Balandret – £75pp
Total – £169.72pp

2) Dubai, UAE

Qantas/Emirates flights – £279.83pp
4 nights – Princess Tower Apartments (similar) – £184pp
Total – £463.83pp

3) Aarhus, Denmark

Ryanair flights – £43.33pp
2 nights – friend’s apartment – free!
Total – £43.33pp

4) Dublin, Ireland

Stena Line ferry & petrol – £14pp
2 nights – Mec Hostel, Dublin – £65pp
Total – £79pp

5) Benidorm, Spain

British Airways Business Class – £216pp
3 nights – Pierre & Vacances Benidorm Levante – £72pp
Total – £288pp

6) Margate, UK

Southeastern train – £13.30pp
2 nights – Airbnb – £25pp
Total – £38.30pp

7) Paris, France

Eurostar snap – £50pp
14 nights – Nomador catsit – free!
Total = £50pp

8) Gdańsk, Poland

Ryanair flight – £16pp
2 nights – Little Home – Prestige – £33pp
Total = £49pp

9) Timisoara, Romania

Ryanair flight – £20pp
2 nights – NH Timisoara – £35pp
Total = £55pp

10) New York & Miami, USA

British Airways return flights – £358pp
2 nights – New York apartment – £45pp
Frontier flights to Miami – £32pp
3 nights – Miami Homestay – £40pp
2 nights – Miami Airbnb – £40pp
1 night – Shelborne South Beach – £66pp
Total = £581pp

Overall total = £1817.18
Cashback = £112.73

Final total = £1704.45

need help booking a holiday?

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As I can’t quite get away with booking another 10 holidays this year I’ve decided to flex my booking skills for others instead – give his girl the Nobel Peace prize or summit riiiiight?

I’ll then post my findings on here each week so that we can all be tempted to book the shit out of some cheap (but lushhhhh) getaways.

So, how to get in touch? Send me a message to chelsea@howmanyholidays.com and answer the following:

  • What dates are you looking to go and is there any flexibility?
  • Where are leaving from?
  • Where would you like to go?
  • Where would you not like to go? (already visited, etc.)
  • Who are you going with?
  • What’s your budget per person?
  • What temperature are you after?
  • What do you like to do on holiday? Sightseeing, food & drink, hiking, etc.
  • What has been your favourite holiday of the last couple of years?

In general, I’ll only find you well rated and nice looking accommodation so also point out if you’re willing to slum it a little if it means you get the best price out there.

Right, let’s see what comes of this, eh?!!

the recap | most drunk, biggest fail & best accommodation

Do you remember at the end of each series of Friends where they did their ‘and here’s our best bits’ episode? Well, this is basically that.

Featuring most drunk, biggest fail and best accomm – oh, and James attempts to do the non-handed shot one last time…

WHY DOES THAT BOY NOT LEARN?!!

the paris vlog

So as well as general cat sitting, we also got out and about to enjoy the many sights of Paris!

Paris often splits opinion but my top tip would be to choose an area and really get to know it. In the past, this has been around Montmartre (still my favourite area) but this year we really enjoyed moseying around Le Marais – lots of cool shops and coffee stations – WHEN THEY’RE BLOODY OPEN. (Note, a lot of Paris go on holiday during August).

James had never visited Disney in any capacity before so we decided to pop along. We just wish it wasn’t on the day after a rather messy night out… Rollercoaster rides and tequila regret DO NOT GO WELL.

Since our cat sit was free, this trip cost a mere £50 – the price of our eurostar there and back. It also ticked off one of my ‘5 days or more’ stipulations. Get in.

With 3 holidays left to go, there’s £576.82 left in the kitty.

Bring it on.

how to get your airbnb for half the price

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Airbnb is bloody great but when you’re trying to get a bargain, you don’t have winter sales and promo codes to help you get the price down – or do you?

What many people don’t realise is that whilst Tara has stated that her flat in Knightsbridge is £290 a night, she – as an Airbnb host – has an option to send potential stayees (yes that’s a real word) a ‘special offer’.

I.E. IT’S TIME TO GET YOUR HAGGLE HAT AND YOUR BARTERING BROGUES ON LADS

Before we get into this, if you haven’t signed up for Airbnb yet make sure you do so with a referral link as you’ll get money off your first stay. Here’s mine if you want to use it!

£25 off your first Airbnb.

You could give this a go in any situation, but here are the two scenarios where bartering can be particularly successful:

  • You’re staying a decent amount of time – there’s a lot of work that comes with checking people in and out so if you’re looking for a place for a week or more, owners will be much more open to having you stay rather than 7 different people across 7 different nights
  • They haven’t filled their room/home and time is running out – this is riskier as it could mean you’re left without, yet you could always book a back up hotel room with a great cancellation policy so that you’ve got something to fall back on

I decided to go with the latter whilst plotting a UK break for holiday number six after realising just how bloody pricey staying in the homeland can be.

Here’s what I did:

STEP ONE – Compile

One week before, I searched for available rooms and homes in a whole host of places within a 2 hour train ride of London – notably Oxford, Brighton and Margate.

I created a new ‘wish list’ and popped them all in – this is a great tool as it automatically updates what’s available.

I found 40 places in total.

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STEP TWO – Wait

Whilst checking and then seeing the place you were secretly lusting for get booked up is THE PITS, it’s worth checking in a couple of times over the next 4 or 5 days to see how things are shaping up.

STEP THREE – Pounce

Two days before you intend to go away should be a good point to put some feelers out there.

When I clicked back on, I saw that just 10 places were still available – I said it was risky, didn’t I?! – and the next step was to schmooooooze.

Done in the form of a ‘oh me? I’m just super casual this is helping you more/oh god please house me’ message:

Hi XXX,

Your place looks absolutely beautiful!

My boyfriend and I both work in radio in London and after a rather hectic week at work (and we’re only three days in!), we’ve decided to try and get out of the city, get some of that sea air and hit ‘refresh’.

Our plan would be to explore the area and sample whatever delights the local restaurants and bars have to offer!

Our budget for staying 2 nights is £XX including Airbnb’s service fee which I understand is under what you’re currently looking for, but if you’re wanting to fill your place with respectful guests who you wouldn’t see much of – then look no further!

I look forward to hearing from you.

Chelsea

STEP FOUR – Wait again…

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All my messages got a reply (thank you, kind Airbnb brethren).

8 said they were actually booked but they hadn’t updated their calendar (bahhh)

1 said ‘can you check back in tomorrow?’

and 1 said ‘yeah sure!’

GREAT SUCCESS.

So how much did we save?

My bartering meant that we were able to get a super cute room (with its own bathroom and living room) in Margate down from £105 to £80. Not too bad?

It’s worth saying that the ‘can you check back in tomorrow?’ place would have been an entire house in Brighton for £90 down from £180! So there’s definitely some massive deals to be had.

Extra saving

As it’s always me doing the booking around here, this was James’ FIRST EVER BOOKING on Airbnb meaning he had a £30 welcome offer from a friend, bringing our final cost to a mere £25 each.

If you’ve never used Airbnb before, you can also get some moola off by being referred to by a friend.

Fancy seeing how we got on?