holiday hotline #3 – summer in Ljubljana, European mini moons, £150 family accommodation, cosy UK stay, Dublin departures & Seville group stays

Once a week, I open up the holiday hotline to see what travel queries I can answer from you guys.

So let’s see what’s on the cards this week!

THE REQUEST: 3-5 nights in Ljubljana in July or August

Will got in touch and gave me the following brief:

  • Ljubljana
  • Flights & accommodation
  • July/August
  • 3-5 nights
  • Based in Shrewsbury but can fly from anywhere

Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana, is getting some real traction at the moment and with the average cost of a pint coming in at £2.20, I CAN SEE WHY!

There’s lots to see and do in the city and you’re also not too far from the devastatingly beautiful Lake Bled!

Flights

Since Will is coming from Shrewsbury, his nearest airports are Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and Birmingham. Unfortunately, only Manchester flies direct and DAMN it’s expensive (and only once a week). However, I have found a couple of cheap one stop options from Manchester – albeit with lengthy layovers in Brussels.

£108

£125

However, the best prices for direct are – you guessed it – from London.

3 night trips

London to Ljubljana
Fri 16th Aug – Mon 19th Aug
£112

London to Ljubljana
Sun 14th July – Weds 17th July
£98

4 night trips

London to Ljubljana
Mon 15th July – Fri 19th July
£103

Top tip: Skyscanner has a great calendar view that normally shows really easily the cost of a return flight, HOWEVER, it was not playing ball with this combination and kept showing up blank dates.

Therefore, I headed over to Google Flights instead which was much clearer in its prices.

It’s a great tool, just once you find the cheapest option, do check the dates on Skyscanner and Momondo once more to check you’re getting the best price.

For Will’s query, I’m going to go for the 3 night trip between Sun 14th July – Weds 17th July for £98.

Let’s crack on with the accommodation!

Accommodation

First of all, let’s take a look at a central apartment.

With Airbnb, the average entire home is coming in around £103 but I’ve found this cute and well rated studio for just £73 a night.

Airbnb
£219 total for 3 nights
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

If he fancies something lighter, brighter and with a balcony, I also found this home for £85 a night.

Airbnb
£255 total for 3 nights
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

There’s also two separate beds should he be travelling with someone he’d rather not share a bed with 😂

Lastly, let’s have a quick look at hotels.

As always, I recommend hopping over to trivago and using the filters to help narrow down your results. For this, I’m selecting 3 star+, a guest rating of 7.5+ and near the city centre.

Quickly I found the 4 star Grand Hotel Union which is super central, extremely well rated and £97 a night including free breakfast.

Grand Hotel Union
£291 total for 3 nights

Another great find is this 4 star hotel that’s just £78 a night and even includes breakfast.

Central Hotel
£234 for 3 nights

However, if Will’s wanting to keep the budget small, there’s also this super affordable option which is just 850 yards from the old town, is very well rated and is just £53.33 a night.

AURA Guesthouse Ljubljana
£160 for 3 nights

This means that this 3 night getaway could cost Will and his travel partner as little as £178 each – not too shabby, eh?


THE REQUEST: September mini moon with beautiful views

Joanne asked for:

  • Mini moon
  • September
  • Beautiful views
  • Nice food
  • Europe

I’ve been lusting after this hotel for AGES so please Joanne, go live out my dreams for me!!

Gillham Vineyard Hotel
Cyprus
Adults only (the mini moon dream????!)
Rates start from £114.47 and come with breakfast and a bottle of wine
Half board options are also available

The restaurant on site is great, and you’re not too far to head out in a hire car to explore what other foodie options Cyprus has to offer! I’d recommend looking at the Rose Suites which come with their own balcony overlooking the vineyard – and the great news is that they’re not even the most expensive type of room!


THE REQUEST: Family accommodation for £150 total in school holidays

So this next one for Abbie is TOUGH! She’s after:

  • Between 25th July – 31st August
  • 3-7 days
  • 2 adults and 2 kids
  • £150 all in

I tried using Ryanair’s fare finder but the closest cheap flight I could find in this date range was £33.80 return to Dortmund in Germany which would have only left £14 for the accommodation…

So it looks like it’s going to be a UK stay!

Whilst this is a super tight budget, the good thing is that you can search ‘United Kingdom’ on Airbnb and then bring down your budget.

I’ve popped in £50 a night and here’s what I’ve found that wasn’t a tent in a field (honestly way too many of them on Airbnb???)

Airbnb – 2 double rooms
Tillicoultry – 20 min drive from Stirling, Scotland
£46 a night
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

Airbnb – 2 double rooms
Blantyre – 20 min drive from Glasgow, Scotland
£46 a night
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

Whilst this one has no reviews yet, this is a great way to bag a place for a cheaper price as the cost is usually low as they try to get their first bookings!

Another great website to try searching is hometogo which is the world’s largest holiday rental search engine.

Unfortunately there wasn’t anything available coming in at under £50 a night – but it’s definitely one worth checking in the future if you’re after an apartment or villa. Airbnb is not the only option!

My last search was on trivago as it could be that we could swipe a family room for a good price!

Holiday Inn Aberdeen West
Aberdeen, Scotland
Queen room with sofa bed
£43 a night

Hampton By Hilton
Aberdeen, Scotland
Family room with free breakfast
£50 a night

Holiday Inn Express Stafford
Stafford, England
Family room with free breakfast
£54 a night

Okay, perhaps Aberdeen and Stafford aren’t the most ‘traditional’ holiday destinations, but both would serve a great base for exploring the area!

CURVEBALL

Now these don’t work for the exact dates but house sitting can mean totally free accommodation so if you wanted to get out of the UK, this may be a good option to look into.

I’ve used Nomador twice before (it’s free to sign up and message three owners) and from a quick peruse I’ve found two housesits in France that could work a treat. One even has its own pool!

Normandy housesit with pool – 20th July – 27th July

Parisian apartment – 25th July to 5th Aug

Here’s all my tips on bagging that free house sit!

THE REQUEST: One night cosy UK stay for cheap

This one comes from Roushan who’s after:

  • End of July
  • One night
  • Easy to get to from London
  • Cosy to chill in
  • Super cheap!

If you’re after super cheap, a really good place to look for a cute place is definitely Airbnb as you’re likely to get much more space for your money – and if you’re lucky, you may get an additional living room space to chill out in.

To help narrow down the search, I’ve decided to look for Saturday 27th July 2019:

Airbnb – Farm Home Annex
Stanton near Bury St Edmunds – 1 hr 47 mins drive from London
£49 a night
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

B&B in Georgian House
Wymondham near Norwich – 2 hour drive from London
£65 a night
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

Airbnb – Studio flat
Thorpe Langton – cute village in Leicestershire – 2 hour drive from London
£64 a night
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

Whilst the next options aren’t quite as cheap, they’re much closer to London and they also tick the ‘couples break’ box really well as they both feature on Mr and Mrs Smith – a hotel site that compiles chic stays for romantic getaways.

Aviator
Farnborough – 1 hour 30 mins drive from London
Views across their private airfield
£105 a night

And finally, I’m adding in this one because you can get there via the overground from London meaning you’ll cut down significantly on your travel costs.

The Crown Hotel
Amersham – Zone 6 on Metropolitan Line (peak – £7 / off peak = £4.10)
This was the inn from Four Weddings and a Funeral!
£122 a night

I’ve stayed at this place before and it just serves up so many country pub vibes. I loved it!

Not quite as close for Roushan but still worth sharing are:

Airbnb – Private Room
South Yorkshire
£35 a night

Airbnb – Private guesthouse
Derbyshire
£58 a night

THE REQUEST: Edinburgh to Tokyo trip in April 2020

Liam wanted:

  • Edinburgh to Tokyo
  • April 2020
  • 1 week

Whilst I’ve ran out of time to plan Liam’s whole trip for him, I can recommend staying at The Millennials pod hotel. IT’S AMAZING!

I did a full review with pictures about my stay in their Kyoto hotel and it was just such a good experience.

The Millennials Shibuya
Tokyo
Upcoming rates from £45 a night

You can also watch how our stay went down for yourself!

REQUEST: Hot summer holiday from Dublin

Viv has asked for:

  • Dublin to anywhere cheap af
  • Touristy
  • Flight out Weds
  • July or Aug
  • Warm please

Here’s some flights that might help you on your way, Viv. Lisbon is one of my FAVOURITE cities and it’s really affordable, especially for a capital.

The same goes for Madrid – check out last week’s hotline where I spoke about this more in full!

Palma in Majorca is more of the ‘touristy’ vibe you may be after and if you find yourself your own villa, you could save so much money on food and drink across the week.

Dublin to Lisbon
£88

Dublin to Lisbon
£73

Dublin to Lisbon
£82

Dublin to Madrid
£55

Dublin to Palma
£73

REQUEST: Seville rental for group stay

Sean’s off to Seville with his mates and has already bagged himself some cheap flights. So what does he need?

  • Accommodation for 4 people
  • 5 nights between 4th – 9th Sep
  • 3 beds – no sofa beds
  • Kitsch vibe

This was actually a lot harder than I thought it would be, but here are some great value options that I rustled up:

City Centre Sevilla ARCO MACARENA
£543 total – £135.75 each

This apartment currently doesn’t have many reviews so maybe it’s worth enquiring and asking if they have any more reviews (they may have this listed elsewhere!) before booking. However, what they lack in reviews they make up for in PRICE!

Airbnb
£565 total – £141.65 each
(you can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)

And whilst the next one would cost £314 each, I couldn’t resist click on this place 😍😍😍

Luxury loft with pool in Seville centre
£1259 total – £314.75 each


And because I couldn’t resist, I did two quick ones on insta as well:

London – Lisbon
Thurs 8th Aug – Sun 11th Aug
£201

And the great news is that unlike Ryanair and Wizzair, TAP still allows 8kg for hand luggage (55x40x20), as well as an additional small personal item- such as a handbag – up to 2kg.

Accommodation wise, Amy was looking for somewhere lux for her and her girls (and didn’t mind paying for the pleasure) so I recommend getting on trivago, whacking in 5 stars and seeing what she can find in budget. I’m also a big fan on the Telegraph’s best hotel lists.

But if their own places is what they’re after, these options are pretty nice too!

Designer Penthouse Apartment
4 bedrooms – 5 bathrooms
£665 a night – £332.50 total each

I initially found this as one of Airbnb’s ‘plus’ range (‘hand picked high quality homes known for great reviews) yet I actually found it on tripadvisor for £400 cheaper across 3 days! (Always shop around!!)

Stylish apartment with terrace
5 bedrooms – 3 bathrooms
£527 a night – £263.50 total each


Lastly, Abi asked about car insurance and my tips are always:

  • Compare costs on Skyscanner
  • Check if local firms are cheaper (you may need to use Google Translate for this!)
  • When chosen, opt for the basic insurance package
  • Buy additional excess insurance from moneymaxim separately – you will save a FORTUNE and it’s fully endorsed by Martin Lewis and his crew
  • We saved £54 by doing this on a recent 4 day car hire in Croatia!

THAT’S A WRAP!

Again, so sorry if I didn’t get around to your request but I hope the above may have given you some tips or offered some general holiday inspo that you may be able to use in the future.

Make sure to give me a follow on Instagram if you want to be involved in the next one – and let me know if you end up booking any of these!

Let’s end with a photo of me drunk, sat in a basket from my holiday in Croatia last week.

Lovely.


I have used 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 🤣

the future of how many holidays

I’ve had A LOT of fun embarking on cheap travels for the last two years but what’s next for this channel? Will my cheap travels continue?

Well, I sure hope so. But to keep on going, I’d love your help to spread the word of this channel! And if you’re not subscribed already, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR PAL?!

In return, I promise to upload more. Let’s give this a proper bash, eh?

cheap christmas market weekend getaways from manchester

I think you can’t get excited for Christmas until AT LEAST 25th November however, that doesn’t mean to say we can’t all be booking our Christmas Market getaways now…

Berlin Christmas Market

All deals listed are:

  • 2 night weekend breaks – Fri to Sun or Sat to Mon
  • Decent flight times that allow at least 1.5 days in your chosen city
  • Based on 2 people travelling
  • Less than £175pp for flights and accommodation

And this time, I’m looking at departures from Manchester.

(You can check out my London deals here).

Sat 1st Dec – Mon 3rd Dec

Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg.jpg

  • Christmas Markets start: 22nd November 2018
  • When it comes to this sort of thing, Hamburg is a worldie. I mean, nothing says German Markets more than actual real life Germany, right?
  • Great food, great drink, great nightlife – Hamburg should be on your wishlist, regardless of markets!

Screen Shot 2018-11-15 at 19.21.35.png

Flight – £96pp

Screen Shot 2018-11-15 at 19.23.08.png

Airbnb – £71.50pp

  • This Airbnb may not be nothing particularly fancy, but it looks clean, full of light and has got great reviews
  • Location wise, you’re just a few metro stops away from the action
  • Not booked with Airbnb before? Sign up here to get £25 off your first booking
  • For a bit more, you could stay in this CUTE studio for £85.50 per person – it’s slightly more central as well

Total cost – £167.50 per person

Sat 8th Dec – Mon 10th Dec

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam.jpg

  • Christmas markets start: from 17th November 2018
  • Amsterdam has A LOT going on for Christmas including multiple markets, multiple ice rinks and even a World Christmas Circus!
  • It’s such a popular city to visit anyway – you won’t be stuck for things to do!

Screen Shot 2018-11-15 at 18.50.25.png

Amsterdam – £80pp (there are a few cheaper options but I preferred the timings on this one)

Qbic Hotel - Amsterdam.jpg

Hotel – £78pp

  • Qbic Hotel Amsterdam WTC
  • This is a proper cool 3 star hotel – I actually once won a stay at the Qbic in London (I am bloody jammy) which I gave to my parents and they loved it!! A really great way to do a more budget stay but without having to lose out on the style
  • Whilst on a map you may think it’s fairly far out, it’s in the area of Amsterdam Zuid which is well known for its museums. The hotel is also next to the Metro station and so you can be at Centraal station in just 10 minutes

Total cost – £158 per person

Also for the same dates is a cracking £27 flight to Belfast – their markets are also supposed to be top notch.

Sat 15th Dec – Mon 17th Dec

Basel, Switzerland

Basel .jpg

  • Christmas markets start: from 22nd November 2018
  • This is not your start up Christmas Market, this is your bonafide WINTER WONDERLAND Christmas Market but do keep in mind that Switzerland is PRICEY!
  • The airport is actually in France so you can say you’ve visited two countries in one – kapow

Screen Shot 2018-11-15 at 18.08.20.png

Flight – £64pp (or just £54pp if you left at 1810)

There are some really decently priced Airbnbs including this and this HOWEVER, in 2018, Basel introduced a nifty little incentive for tourists where if you book into a hotel, you get a free BaselCard which gives you free public transport and a load of discounts! Given how spendy the city is, I think that’s a good deal. The website says that it will be handed to you on check in, but apparently if your booking is marked ‘mobility ticket’ then you can even use it to get to your hotel. Madness. So make sure you email your hotel ahead of time to ask what’s what.

165438532.jpg

Hotel – £81 each

  • Hyperion Hotel Basel
  • I really wasn’t expecting such lush hotels for the budget! This one is 4 star and really well rated
  • 22 min walk from the markets!

Total cost – £145 per person


Let me know if you end up booking any of these – or if you find your own deals of your own! I STILL haven’t booked a getaway for myself… There are just TOO MANY OPTIONS!

cheap christmas market weekend getaways from london

Christmas may only be 6 weeks away but if you’re hoping to amp up your excitement with a festive weekend break, there’s still time to bag a bargain.

IMG_0966.JPG

All deals listed are:

  • 2 night weekend breaks – Fri to Sun or Sat to Mon
  • Decent flight times that allow at least 1.5 days in your chosen city
  • Based on 2 people travelling
  • Less than £150pp for flights and accommodation

First up, we’re taking a look at deals from London. Make sure you check back throughout the week to also find deals from other areas on the UK!

(Prices last updated on Monday 12th November at 7:30am)

30th Nov – 2nd Dec

Warsaw, Poland 

  • Christmas markets start: 24th November 2018
  • Poland is great value – the average cost of a pint is £2
  • As Poland’s capital, there’s lots to see and do around the city!

Screen Shot 2018-11-11 at 21.07.42.png

Flight – £73pp

Warsaw Airbnb.jpg

Airbnb – £48pp

  • City centre studio apartment
  • Great reviews
  • Not booked with Airbnb before? Sign up here to get £25 off your first booking

Total cost – £121 per person 


Sat 1st Dec – Mon 3rd Dec

Toulouse, France

  • Christmas markets start: 23rd November 2018
  • Held in the heart of Toulouse, at the famous Place du Capitole
  • Airport is just a 18 minute drive from the city centre

Screen Shot 2018-11-11 at 21.24.01.pngFlight – £21pp

Toulouse Hotel.jpg

Hotel – £81pp

  • Le Grand Balcon Toulouse
  • 4 star city centre top rated boutique hotel
  • You could find even cheaper hotels or Airbnbs but this is a great deal!

Total cost – £102 per person


Fri 7th Dec – Sun 9th Dec

Bucharest, Romania

  • Christmas markets start: 1st December 2018
  • Yes, you’ll pay more for your flights but you’ll spend a lot less when you’re there – we’re talking £1.50 a pint!
  • As the capital, you’ll have plenty to see and do

Screen Shot 2018-11-11 at 21.38.20.png

Flight – £94pp

Bucharest Airbnb.jpg

Airbnb – £41pp

  • Just a 10 min walk to the Old Town (and 23 mins from the market)
  • Brilliant reviews
  • Not booked with Airbnb before? Sign up here to get £25 off your first booking

Total cost – £135 per person


Sat 8th Dec – Mon 10th Dec

Bremen, Germany

  • Christmas markets start: 26th November 2018
  • No one does German markets like the Germans, right?!
  • Bremen airport is super close to the city centre – only 10 mins away!

Screen Shot 2018-11-11 at 21.48.33.png

Flight – £34pp

Bremen Hotel.jpg

Hotel – £95pp

  • Maritim Hotel and Congress Centrum Bremen
  • 4 star city centre and well rated
  • I do prefer a more modern hotel but for the location and the fact that most places (even Airbnb) is super booked up, it’s a good deal!

Total cost – £129 per person


Fri 14th Dec – Sun 16th Dec

Copenhagen, Denmark

  • Christmas market starts: all will be open from 17th November 2018
  • Often featured in top 10 lists of the best markets in Europe
  • Make sure to visit the city centre amusement park Tivoli which looks incredible at Christmas – park entrance will cost you 110DK (around £12) and then you pay extra for rides

Screen Shot 2018-11-11 at 22.09.41.png

Flight – £67pp

Copenhagen Hotel.jpg

Hotel – £97pp

Total cost – £164 per person

FINE I WENT OVER BUDGET ON THIS ONE – but it does have free breakfast so… Can you let it slide??!

If you want something fancier than a 2 star, you could also try this lush 4 star hotel for the same price but it is a little further out. However, Copenhagen public transport is very good.

FINAL OPTION: you could also fly to the Danish city of Aarhus on the same dates for a mere £35! The flight times are mint too and, having visited twice before, I can imagine Christmas on its cute, cobbled streets being proper magical.


Sat 15th Dec – Mon 17th Dec

Gothenburg, Sweden

  • The second largest city in Sweden has plenty to offer – including the fact that it’s a hell of a lot easier to get to from the airport than its capital (if you’re flying cheap, that is!). The centre is just a 30 minute bus shuttle away.
  • Another Scandi country with a festival amusement park! Visit Liseberg for artificial snow and over five million fairy lights (110 SEK – around £9.50)

Screen Shot 2018-11-11 at 22.27.52.png

Flight – £46pp

Gothenburg Hotel.jpg

Hotel – £91pp

  • Scandic No 25
  • The room may be on the cosy side but this hotel is well rated and in a great location
  • Free breakfast – this will definitely help in pricey Sweden!

Total cost – £137 per person


If you do end up booking any of these deals – or finding an even better one of your own – then please, let me know!

As well as commenting below, you can also find me on Twitter and on Instagram.

London done – Manchester deals are next!


watch related videos:

James and I visited the Christmas markets in Timisoara, Romania last year and for a two night break for two adults with B&B accommodation, flights, airport transfers, a three-course meal, coffee, mulled wine and cake spent the grand total of… £92.10 each.

I AM NOT JOKING.

free upgrades, the biggest mistake & unseen footage | the recap

I’ve properly milked this now so I’m sure you’ll all be very glad to hear that this is officially the last video of the ‘how many holidays’ challenge series!

However, not all is done and dusted – make sure you do subscribe as there’s more to come. Starting with ‘Ask a Local: London’ next week!

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.

eva-darron-214170-unsplash

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