holiday to dubai? add sri lanka, india or thailand from just £69 extra

If you’ve got your heart set on Dubai, there’s plenty of one stop options to get you there for less than £230 – I talked about these in my last blog post.

However, if you’re flying direct with a top class airline, there’s a great way to make the most out of your money by using Dubai as a stop off.

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Intrigued?

Dubai isn’t called the ‘gateway to the middle east’ for nothing – it’s a key hub for connecting flights, especially when you’re flying from the UK. Therefore, adding in an additional return flight to Sri Lanka, Thailand or India could end up only costing you an additional £69.

For example, here’s the straight forward return from London.

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Thurs 5th Oct – Mon 16th Oct

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So, say we wanted to spend 4 nights in Dubai to explore the city, where could we head on to next?

As our chosen airline, Emirates, flies to over 150 destinations, it means that there’s a lot of choice when it comes to adding another trip on. All you have to do is search for a ‘multi-city’ flight, which is made pretty easy by sites like Skyscanner and Kayak.

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For example, if we were to add in a flight on Monday 9th October to another destination and then return back to London on Monday 16th October (which automatically would send us via Dubai), this is how much it would cost.

Mumbai, India +£69
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Colombo, Sri Lanka +£88
Thurs 5th Oct – Mon 9th Oct – Mon 16th OctColombo - £427.png

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia + £116
Thurs 5th Oct – Mon 9th Oct – Mon 16th OctKuala Lumpur - £455.pngHong Kong, China +£117
Thurs 5th Oct – Mon 9th Oct – Mon 16th OctHong Kong - £456.png

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam +£129
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Bali, Indonesia + £142
Thurs 5th Oct – Mon 9th Oct – Mon 16th Oct
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Phuket, Thailand +£150
Thurs 5th Oct – Mon 9th Oct – Mon 16th OctPhuket - £489.png

And these are just a handful of options. The basic rule is ‘does the airline you’re originally flying with go anywhere else?’ If so, get searching for multi-city deals.

It’s important to note that this doesn’t necessarily mean that this would be the cheapest way of getting to that extra destination, but it does give you a great option if you were heading somewhere anyway, or wanting to do 2 destinations in 1.

Good luck with your search!

holiday two | is dubai worth the money?

I was very aware that getting some cheap flights and accommodation for Dubai wasn’t going to be the end of it. In fact, it’s been the only holiday since I was about 19 that I have actively saved for (my normal holidays mostly involve just eating and drinking which isn’t too dissimilar from my everyday life).

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By the time Dubai rolled around, I’d saved £500 (HUGE FEAT FOR ME, FELT LIKE A REAL LIVE ADULT) so that I wouldn’t have to worry about costs. After all, we were going away for a friends’ 30th birthday and so I knew it was going to be a one off expense that I wasn’t likely to do again.

So, what did we get up to? And most importantly, was it worth it?

The Apartment
The Princess Tower
£184 for 4 nights

Having seen our friends’ flash suites at the Marriott before checking in, we were a little apprehensive of what we’d find but overall, it was clean, spacious and had everything we needed. Sure, we wouldn’t want to hang out and spend our evenings there, but that wasn’t really the point.

Plus, the 97th floor residents lounge had amazing views and the outdoor jacuzzi on hangover number one really helped us out.

Worth it? Definitely.

The Pool
Zero Gravity
£35 for entry + free drink

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After dropping our things off, we headed to Zero Gravity, a beach, bar and restaurant located by Dubai Marina. Costing £35 to get in (or slightly less for a couple – though note that this doesn’t include friends or same sex couples), the price included a free drink and access to all the facilities.

It was very much a place to be seen. The bathrooms were INCROYABLE. Showers, mirrors, hairdryers, straighteners – I almost felt a bit bad for having not put any make up on that day (almost). On my first visit, two girls were doing a mini-photoshoot in there and on my second, they were just finishing up (realised that this could be interpreted that I have a very weak bladder but I was only 2 beers in by this point, fellas).

There’s plenty of sunbeds on the beach and around the pool but if you want a big sunbed, it comes at a price. £200 minimum spend to be exact (YOWZERS). Fortunately, it was a quiet day so we managed to get a couple towards the back without promising away all our dirhams though, between 10 of us and at Dubai prices, we may just have reached the minimum spend… Twice.

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So, was it worth it?

It’s a toughie and it all depends what you want out of your day. If you want a whole day of sunbathing but you want the ease of having everything on hand, then it kind of makes sense. If you’re just going for a couple of hours, maybe not.

As for drinking, it’s definitely pricey – we’re talking about £8 for a bottle of beer and £11 for a cocktail so if you’re wanting to get merry, get ready to spend a lot. But at the same time, you can’t drink on free public beaches.

For me, I had a great time but given that we were only there three hours, I’d say it wasn’t worth the cost. But I can totally see why people go.

The Brunch
Bubbalicious at The Westin Dubai
£125 for 4 hours of unlimited food, drink and prosecco 

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It seemed that when anyone went to Dubai, the one thing they’d bang on about on their return was the brunch. No, not Eggs Benedict but a full scale Red Hot World Buffet on steroids with free flowing fizz.

According to our friends, Bubbalicious is the best, but it’s also the most expensive. There’s plenty of cheaper brunches that take place each Friday (the start of Dubai’s weekend), but we’ve been assured that you get what you pay for.

But £125 is a hell of a lot of money…

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Having been regaled with tales of ‘this one time at brunch…’, I was prepared for the sheer extravagance of it all. The food hall was impressive. Every single kind of food that you could want was there, and whilst I compared it to Red Hot World Buffet, the food is of a much higher quality. Yet, if I’m honest, I’m not really a buffet girl. I like a plate of food that’s been thought about and several drinks in, it was an effort to even remember to eat, let alone find foods that complimented one another.

What I was really impressed with was the drink. There were no knock offs here. Premium beers, spirits and cocktail creations were widely available almost instantly (queues only appeared in the last 30 minutes) and our prosecco glasses were kept topped up at the table. It was incredibly easy to see how people get so trollied at these things…

As I was vlogging (or attempting to at least) during this, I kept a log of evrything I had during those 4 hours.

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Sweet baby jesus.

I actually thought I wasn’t drunk when 4pm rolled in!

After ‘stockpiling’ the drinks in the last 30 minutes, we drank at our table until 4:30pm before taking a couple of drinks each up to the DJ in the hotel club.

So.

Was. It. Worth. It?

Now, let’s not be silly here – £125 is a lot of money. But given the sheer expense of drinks in a bar out there, it’s actually quite easy to get your money’s worth if you’re on a blow out. I actually didn’t spend another penny that day so all in all, I would say it was worth it.

The boat
Cozmo Yachts
£30 each for 18 people for 3 hours – bring your own booze

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When our friend had said ‘I’m thinking of hiring a yacht the day after brunch’, I was a little apprehensive given the fact it was the day following our £125 brunch. Yet, when the price came back as £30 each for 3 hours and that we could take our own drink on board, I thought it was pretty damn reasonable.

The boat was bigger than expected and sat up top deck with the wind whipping around us was the perfect way to shake off our brunch hangovers.

If you fancy doing something similar, just keep in mind that buying drink in Dubai can be difficult – you need a licence to buy some from a store. We’d picked up a couple bottles of gin in duty free (£11 for a litre!) and the boat supplied mixers and ice.

Our boat trip included speeding past the Palm, taking in the sights and having a bit of a dip in the calm (but cold!) waters.

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Absolutely and most definitely worth it.

The tallest building in the world
The Burj Khalifa
£44 for level 124 – £109 (!!!) for level 148

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For our last day, we had really wanted to do a desert safari to inject a little ‘culture’ into the trip, but the weather was god awful and we’d been warned that it was only really worth doing in the sunshine.

With that in mind, we instead decided to check out the mall (which I didn’t actually find that impressive – HUGE but same old shops as you get anywhere) and with it, the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa.

The queues were pretty mega given that we’d already booked a timeslot. It took us an hour to reach the lifts which just so happened to be the exact amount of time it took for a clump of clouds to settle around the viewing deck.

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Lousy views aside, I did feel a little let down about the experience as a whole. Yes, the lift that shot us up in 60 seconds was impressive but it really was just a viewing platform and not a lot more.

For £44, I would have to say that it wasn’t worth it. However the housemate, who is very fond of any feat of architecture or engineering, was really impressed so take from that what you will.

Overall

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So that’s what we got up to, but overall, was it worth it?

It’s tough because it’s not that straight forward. I had a really good time with my friends and after editing the vlog, I was reminded again of what a laugh I’d had but… My lord, it was expensive.

What with the activities plus my food and drink, the £500 I’d saved was decimated and whilst it may not look or sound like it, there were even a couple of evenings where I didn’t drink at all (honest!).

But I had fun, right? Yes, yes, yes.

And I’m glad I went? Absolutely.

So that means it was worth it, surely? Hmmm. Not quite.

I’m happy that I can say I’ve been but I’m not in any rush to go back. The thing is, because Dubai is so new, they’ve borrowed elements from much loved places around the world to create this ‘best of’ metropolitan smorgasbord, yet I didn’t really buy it. I left feeling like I hadn’t really discovered anything new and whilst I had lots of fun, I was very aware that I could have done a lot of it elsewhere for a cheaper price…

Let’s just hope I can find a stonker of a deal for holiday number three, eh?!

You can also watch what we got up to here:

5 quick tips for booking cheaper holidays

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I am ITCHING to get booking my first wild escapade but you know what they say, “don’t run a marathon before you do a few lunges”.

Okay FINE. No one says that.

But basically, I’m just trying to point out that there’s a few little ‘warm up’ tricks one can do before going batshit cray-cray on the credit card.

1. Sign up to holiday deal websites and newsletters

To get the best deals, you need to know what’s out there and a good way to stay in the know is to sign up to some travel newsletters.

A few personal faves are:

Now, I know what you’re about to say.

NO ONE NEEDS MORE EMAILS IN THEIR ALREADY CLUTTERED INBOX, CHELSEA.

And I’m with you. So I use Unroll.Me which not only unsubscribes you from pesky emails (found out I was signed up to 133 of those bad boys t’other day – bleak) but also allows you to add newsletters into one daily ‘rollup’.

2. Set travel alerts

We all have a dream location in mind. Like, imagine being able to say “here’s me in St. Barts with my friend Edna”.

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If you’ve also got an idea of when you’d like to go, travel alerts let you know when the flight’s price changes – be that up or down.

I use Skyscanner for this (like I said, obsessed) but you could also use other flight comparison sites, such as Kayak.

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3. Be ready

You’re sat in work one day and an email pops into your inbox. You rub your eyes. You can’t quite believe it. GOOD GOD they’re offering direct flights to BOGNOR REGIS for only £2500! It’s the bargain of the century!

Between sharp breaths, your shaking hand clicks on the link and just as you’re about to checkout you remember – you don’t have the money, you don’t have your details and you don’t know who you’re going with.

Incredible deals, including online glitches, go quick or get fixed so don’t hang about. Whilst money is a no-brainer, it can be easy to forget that you need personal details when you’re booking.

Quite often airlines don’t require a passport number at checkout, but they do need to know everyone’s date of birth and name as it appears on their official documentation.

4. Sign up for cashback

Who the hell doesn’t like free money?

Whilst cashback sites are no new trick, I often speed through an online checkout and only remember later than I could have claimed money back on it.

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Quidco and Top Cashback both offer a downloadable extension that notifies you when you’re on a site with cashback. I personally found this a little too invasive so I just try my best to remember.

If you join Quidco via this link, we’ll both get a tenner (WHEYYY) but I’ve actually just swapped to Top Cashback as Quidco’s success rate on paying out was about 40%, so I’m giving something new a go.

In fact, that’s important to remember. Don’t book something because of a promise of cashback – you may never get it. Just think of it as a bonus if it does come.

5. Get a railcard

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A 13 hours and 23 minute train from Aberdeen to Penzance not your idea of a holiday? (Yes, that’s a real train route). No worries. Railcards can still come in use.

10 airports in the UK have their own railway station so you can cut down on a third of your travel costs before you even fly.

Woah – what’s that? Not 16-25? (I feel your pain, bro).

There are a few more options but my favourite is the Two Together railcard. You don’t need to be romantically involved (can you IMAGINE having to send in EVIDENCE to PROVE IT – HA) and so you can get one with your best mate, your colleague or even your Nan.

All railcards are £30 but there’s ALWAYS a 10% discount if you search the web.

Is it worth it? Well, it depends on how much you travel. If you’re having to take the train to a different city to fly, it usually pays for itself but even if you just need a return ticket between London Victoria and Gatwick, a railcard makes the journey £10.65 cheaper each.

Two holidays a year and you’ve saved yourself £15.60. That’s enough for a pint each and a sudoku book at the airport.

ALSO – if you do have a 16-25 railcard, did you know that you can add it to your Oyster card?

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IKR. GAME CHANGER.

(Mine expires in Feb. I am so sad).


So there you have it – 5 quick tips to help you cement your way to a top holiday deal.

Now, it’s about time I start my own booking otherwise I’m gonna have to take up that Bognor Regis deal…

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The average Brit spends £3418 a year on holidays.

What the actual fuckles.

£3418?!?

That’s like 45 pairs of Topshop boots.

Or a 2009 Vauxhall Corsa with tinted windows, body kit and some alloy wheels.

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Nice rims mate

SHIT SON – that’s 682 Toby Carveries!

Whatever way you look at it, that is one huge lump of cash that I, as a holiday deal delving fiend, was shocked – neigh- OUTRAGED to discover.

Even if we were to say that half of that is spends, that’s still £1709 on travel and accommodation.

Therefore, I’ve decided to go ahead and commit to not getting engaged/housedup/babyfied for at least the next year (in the very, very least) so that I can see how many holidays I can do for the same price.

I know. What a bloody trooper.

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SOMEONE GIVE THIS GIRL A MEDAL (also Omega, hit me up with some sweet sponsorship again, thanx bbz)

Now, I’m not talking about slumming it – christ, Zante 2008 was enough to swear me off 2 stars for life – I’m just talking about getting the most for your money. After all, we all still want to look fancy as fuck on Instagram (AM I RIGHT LADS?!).

So first things first, we’ve got to have some rules.

For £1709:

  1. I’ve got go on at least 10 holidays
  2. Trips have to be 2 nights or more and two have to be 5 nights or more
  3. I can only use my 28 days of annual leave
  4. I’ve got to visit at least 3 continents
  5. I have to fly business class at least once

THAT’S TOUGH, RIGHT? (Again, what an absolute champ I am for taking on this grueling task, etc. etc.)

So, if you fancy seeing how I get on/how long it takes me to fall into a pit of inevitable yet totally instagrammable debt then get a pen, some paper and write down the name of this website. Oh, what wait- you’re not my gran? (Shit! More people than my gran are reading this!!). Well, you can just sign up for emails or press ‘follow’ to the right instead.

Next time, it’s all about finding holiday numero uno.

Yeah, I should really start looking at that…