vlog 1 | 7 day iceland ring road trip for cheap – flights, car hire and supermarket prices

I’ve enjoyed frolicking around, making the most out of £5 flights but recently I realised that I was eager for a new challenge.

And what better place to flex my money saving muscles than Iceland?

Renowned for its beauty – and the price tag that comes along with it – I thought it would be the perfect destination to do on a budget.

The challenge (which I do indeed accept) is to get flights, accommodation, 4×4 car hire, petrol, food, drink and activities for a 6 night road trip around Iceland’s ring road for less than £600.

In the first video, we nab flights with Wizz Air for £57.98 each, a 20kg suitcase for £29.50 each (we shared!), 4×4 car hire via Northbound for just £78 per person and our first supermarket shop for £28.50 each.

Total spent so far = £193.98 each

Total left = £406.02 each

FLIGHTS

We flew with Wizz Air from London Luton for £57.98 each. Being Wizz Air club members (€29.99 a year for two people) we saved around £15 each but we could have flown for just £55 without the discount (£39 with!) the week prior – alas, the flights didn’t work for James’ work!

Is it worth joining Wizz Air’s discount club?

If you’re planning on more than one trip per year with them and you’re travelling with the same person, then yes. They also do a group membership for €59.99 where the member + 5 companions get discounts so if you often travel as a family or social group, it’s definitely worth looking into.

The flight itself was more than fine. Wizz Air has a very similar offering to Ryanair so sure, it’s not luxury, but for the price you really can’t complain.

As we were travelling in the winter, we decided to add on one 20kg suitcase which cost £59 – ouch. However, as well as helping to keep us warm with the numerous jumpers packed inside, it also made financial sense as I was able to pack some food bits and towels that we’d later get charged to hire at the geothermal pools.

CAR HIRE

I usually jump straight onto Skyscanner yet I quickly realised that it wasn’t bringing up any local rental companies. Some googling later, I found Northbound who consistently offered the cheapest prices.

Northbound are a broker, so they’ll scour a whole host of local companies to bring you the best price.

As we were there during some pretty icy weather, we definitely needed a 4×4 and I quickly found a Suzuki Jimmy for just £156 for 6 days. At just £26 a day, I think that’s unreal value!

One tip – if you’re searching from the airport, make sure to change your pickup destination to their local office as this can often save you even more money.

On arriving at Keflavik Airport (that’s Reykjavik’s international airport), we looked out for our name on a board and were greeted by a very friendly fella from Lava Rentals. Two minutes later, we were in their minibus and five minutes after that, at their Keflavik office.

We lucked out being the first to be served at the desk (there were around four people behind me) and five minutes later we were in our car and ready to go.

We were honestly so impressed with speed and efficiency of the people at Lava Rentals and would definitely recommend the whole process!

It is worth saying that I reached out to the folk at Northbound asking for more info after noting their cheap costs, and they gave us a Dacia Duster. Lava Rentals show this model online at £40 a day but I bet you could find it cheaper via Northbound‘s site.

All in all, we saved around £60 by booking with them over Skyscanner. NOT TOO SHABBY PALS!

SUPERMARKET COSTS

Finding cheap flights and a cheap car was simple enough, but I quickly realised that if one thing was going to catch me out, it was going to be the cost of food on the road.

I knew that we’d be cooking most of our meals but I was nervous about the prices and whilst I’d watched numerous videos about what to expect, I did feel that this area could be my downfall.

My top tips here are to:

  • Make a food plan at home
  • Work out what you can bring from home (small packets of salt, pepper, etc.)
  • Make a list of everything you need to buy

List in hand, we rocked up to the Netto which was just 400m from the hire car company. The other budget supermarkets are Kronan and Bonus – the latter being undeniably the cheapest – yet as we were fast approaching 9pm, Netto was one of the few places still open.

This is what we ended up buying in our first big shop:

ItemQuanitityISKGBP
Beef mince500g936£5.99
Bags140£0.26
Tortellini pasta1 pack498£3.19
Frozen pizza575g679£4.35
Semi skimmed milk1 litre182£1.16
Orange juice1.5 litre299£1.91
Heinz baked beans400g can99£0.63
Heinz baked beans400g can99£0.63
Red kidney beans in chilli400g can189£1.21
Fusili pasta500g199£1.27
Schwepps tonic2 litre339£2.17
Ham1 pack (6 slices)309£1.98
Sour cream and onion crisps165g pack230£1.47
Spring onionBunch205£1.31
Iceberg lettuceHalf (220kg)94£0.60
Bread1 loaf 820g479£3.07
Coca cola1 litre239£1.53
Salad tomatoes365kg127£0.81
Carrots500g389£2.49
Onions635g98£0.63
Potaotes1.15kg277£1.77
Strawberries250g579£3.71
Chopped tomatoes400g can179£1.15
Chopped tomatoes400g can179£1.15
Red pepper200g96£0.61
Mystery item I can’t rememberN/A156£1.00
Bananas4 (740g)181£1.16
Leek1 (400g)144£0.92
Lemon(1) 190g64£0.41
Lime(1) 95g46£0.29
Lime(1) 90g43£0.28
Skyr yoghurt500g277£1.77
Butter400g459£2.94
Eggs10 pack498£3.19
TOTALS.8907£57.00

Overall, I was super pleased by how affordable most things were. Yes, a little pricier than normal but no where near as bad as I had built it up in my head! I also could not believe that Heinz baked beans were cheaper there than in the UK – MADNESS!!!

The list definitely helped and I found this particular Netto (this one!) had a really good range of items. Everything I looked for, I found!


A great start to the trip – and the money saving – but how will we fare further down the line??!


Catch up on the rest of the road trip:

Day 1you’re reading this now!
Day 2The Golden Circle and staying in a luxury, designer home for £27 a night
Day 3Waterfalls, glaciers and black sand beaches on Iceland’s stunning south coast
Day 4 – Escaping the tourists on Iceland’s beautiful Eastern coastal roads

NEW: Competitions tab!

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Notice anything different around here?

That’s right, there’s now a ‘competitions‘ section of this website which will be updated weekly. Because what’s better than a holiday? A free holiday, of course!

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Why not bookmark the site, or follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter where I’ll post weekly reminders.

GOOD LUCK!

the millennials kyoto | full review with pictures

There’s nothing more quintessentially Japanese than a capsule hotel. Yet, shuffling your body into a pod the size of a portaloo is not for everybody.

And that’s where The Millennials comes in.

With a room measuring in at 3 square metres, it may not be enough room to swing a cat, yet its floor to ceiling height does mean that you’ll be able to get through a full rendition of the YMCA before bedtime (you mean you don’t do that before a night’s kip??!?).

Your Key

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Before we get stuck in, it’s worth explaining that you’ll operate most things at the hotel with your very own iPod touch (how very 2007). Not only is it your key, but it’s also your light switch, bed shuffler and alarm clock.

The Pods

After you’ve checked in, you’ll use your key to scan your way onto your designated floor – you can choose to stay with just men, just women or a mix (you don’t always get that last option in Japanese capsule hotels).

The vibes when you enter are very Malmaison meets Big Yellow Self Storage. It’s also dark. The exterior windows are blacked out, but the warm glow from each of the pods stop it from feeling like you’re about to take part in a sordid, x-rated version of Storage Hunters.

The Bed

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Next, you’ll arrive at your pod (it will have your ‘number’ on top) and find the bed in ‘sofa mode’. Squeezed in between each wall is a queen sized mattress but steady on fellas – THIS IS A NO SHARING ZONE. That bad boy is all yours. But to enjoy it to its fullest, you’d best straighten that bad boy out.

Oh yes. IT’S TIME TO USE THE IPOD!

Following a couple of prods, you’ll not only be able to turn the lights on and off, but watch in awe as the mattress slowly pans out to fill the entire size of the pod. I’d recommend doing it whilst you’re sat on it to give yourself that whole ‘going in for an MRI scan’ vibe without having to, you know, go in for an MRI scan.

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Your key also gives you the option to set an alarm that not only dims up the light for you, but can also lift the bed too. For snoozers, there’s even a setting that rises in increments meaning that in 10 whole minutes, you’ll finally be upright. Absolute genius.

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Other things worth noting about the pod are that it’s got a slide out storage rack (big enough for a large suitcase), mirror and a helpful shelf with 2 plug points above the bed.

Your iPod touch will plug into a charger provided for you next to your bed.

On your bed when you arrive will be:

  • towel
  • slippers
  • toiletries bag (earplugs, cotton wool, toothbrush and hairbrush)

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You can also hire pyjamas for 300 yen a pop (that’s about £2.20).

The Bathrooms

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You may get one whole pod to yourself but don’t get excited about a personal bidet. Instead, you’ll have a shared bathroom which is… Well, okay fine. It’s pretty damn nice actually. There’s hairdryers, a washer and dryer, hand soaps, hand creams, extra towels… The showers are also really decent with rainfall heads, shampoo and body wash. There’s also space to dress and undress behind your own locked door so you can make sure you don’t go flashing your bits to Kazimo from pod A19.

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The toilets, too, are kitted out really nicely and yes, the loos are electronic. Bum spritz, anyone?

The Lounge and Kitchen

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You know when you see a picture on a booking website and you’re like ‘yeah, yeah, someone’s had photoshop out here’ well DAMN. The lounge looks proper legit in real life as well. We’re talking serious boutique hotel vibes.

The kitchen has a whole host of contraptions (rice cooker, blender, mincer…) for you to use. There’s also a hob for cooking and a fridge to keep food fresh (when I say food, I obviously mean prosecco).

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Now, with shared kitchen spaces I’m always a bit worried that there will be one Lazy Lorraine who doesn’t pull her weight and ruins it for EVERYONE yet the place was immaculate during our 2 night stay. It almost felt like everyone couldn’t quite believe their luck with the place and therefore were refusing to defy the hotel gods by leaving an empty mug out.

Extras

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Theres free decent Wifi, irons for lending and bikes for renting. There’s even a ‘roof terrace’ (don’t get excited, there’s no view) if you need a bit of fresh air without having to leave.

However, the best extra has got to be the daily free beer hour.

YES YOU HEARD THAT RIGHT.

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Between 5:30pm – 6:30pm every single day, the staff wheel out a ‘do it yourself’ beer pump and it’s a help yourself affair.

If you’re thinking, ‘I’ll just rock up with some empty bottles and make the most of this thang’ then you’re probably going to get kneecapped. (I managed three glasses each night which I feel is getting to the limits of taking the piss).

Everyone was pretty respectful and it was a great chance to meet other people staying at The Millennials. In fact, that’s probably the reason they do it. That and the fact that they probably don’t have a licence which means that bringing a couple of beers or a bottle of wine back of an evening to enjoy is totally fine to do as well. WINNER.

Breakfast

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When booking, you may also notice that breakfast is included but don’t get too excited. It’s a fairly basic offering of a few breads and pastries. To the extent that we didn’t take it up on the second morning (more time for sleep) but if you’re on a budget, hell, it is free!

Cost

We stayed at The Millennials in Kyoto bang smack in the middle of Easter and Cherry Blossom Season. I may also have left booking quite late (what a plonker) and so the pods ended up costing us £65 a night each – including all taxes and fees. However, I have found the pods for as a little as £18 a night each and have done so on several occasions. Therefore, my tip would definitely be to BOOK EARLY!

£18 is unreal value and you could probably make that back in beer alone! Even at £65 a night each, I’d say it was definitely worth it as in comparison to other hotels at that time it was 1) cheaper and 2) so much nicer!

Booking

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As there were two of us, I booked the ‘adjoining smart capsule – mixed’ via Booking.com. This means that they’ll place you either next door or opposite one another (contrary to the photo above, we were actually opposite one another).

We were on the fourth floor and in pods A14 and A13. They felt really private however you are next to the showers and therefore if you’re a light sleeper, the sound of the door rolling back and forth may wake you in the morning.

The most private (and quiet!) would definitely be A08, A09 and A10 as you’re by the fire exit there meaning no through fare and off the main corridor. So why  not email master@themillennials.jp and request them!

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There’s also the option of having a pod with a projection screen (FANCY) for a couple of quid more.

Would I stay again?

Abso-bloody-lutely. I feel like I’m going a little overkill here but I’d genuinely say it’s one of the best places I’ve ever stayed in. I really expected it to be a bit gimmicky and was blown away with the high standard of features and service.

Since our stay in Kyoto, they’ve also opened a branch in Shibuya, Tokyo and are planning to open even more. So here’s hoping there will be even more to choose from in the near future. Hurrah!

You can also watch the video of my stay here.

tuesday 29th may: today’s top deals

Since I’m full on obsessed with cheap holidays, I see a lot of deals from the numerous newsletters, facebook groups and whatsapp groups I’m signed up to. However, since I can’t be on holiday 24/7 (alas!), many of these brilliant buys are totally lost on me.

Therefore, I’ve decided to collate the best deals I’ve seen in the hope that it may tickle the fancy of one of you lot instead.

Here’s today’s batch of fresh holiday talent:

UK to Orlando, USA for £219

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Many UK cities to Orlando, Florida for only £219 roundtrip via Secret Flying
Departing: London/Manchester/Birmingham/Newcastle
Airline:
TUI
Dates:
 Availability in June 2018

UK to Dublin, Ireland for £19

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Fly to Dublin for £19 return from 10 UK airports via HolidayPirates
Departing: Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Newcastle
Airline: Ryanair
Dates: Availability in June 2018

Europe to Dubai for £55 

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Fly from European cities to Dubai for £55 if you’re a Wizz Air member via Secret Flying
Departing: Cluj, Bucharest, Sofia, Katowice and Budapest
Airline: Wizz Air
Dates: Availability from June to August 2018

Wizz Air membership is €29.99 for a member + one companion and €59.99 for a member + five companions.

Without the discount of being a member, you can still find return flights for around £82.

Dubai will be hottttt in summer but remember, it’s a great place to fly to Thailand, Sri Lanka and beyond from!


This is pretty UK centric at the moment but leave a comment if you’re interested in flights from elsewhere.

And lastly, share the deals you’ve spotted with me on either @howmanyholidays or @chchchchelsea and I’ll make sure to give you a shout out on here!

chatting travel with matt and tom

Matt and Tom, off of the YouTubez, invited me onto their Park Bench series to talk all things travel for which I was MORE THAN WILLING.

Due to their well deserved popularity, I also smashed through 1,000 subscribers on my own channel (WHOOP WHOOP) so it’s official, it’s not just my Mum watching (hi Mum, I know you’ll be reading this and yes, I am very grateful for your loyal, unwavering support and no, I can’t make it home for Mother’s Day sorry).

The video features loads of travel tips (with a load I’d never heard of before – WHODATHUNKIT?) so give it a watch and make sure you subscribe to the wonders that are Matt and Tom as well.

Lovely.

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?!!