We’ve been asked a few times now by readers for some general travel tips and we thought that it was time to share what we’ve learnt of over a decade of travelling on a budget. The first part will cover travel and accommodation:
Save on flight and accommodation prices
- Being flexible is always going to help make the pennies go further, for flights and accommodation. You’ll also likely save by booking each part of your trip separately. We tend to book our flights and accommodation ourselves, at different times and through different sites. We use skyscanner to search for routes and cheap lines and then go directly through the airline’s website.
- An extra tip for saving a few pennies is using your Sainsbury’s Nectar points for money off Easyjet flights and converting your Tesco clubcard points for Avios points for use on BA and other airlines.
- These days my husband and I prefer to choose a self-catered apartment where possible as it gives us more space and flexibility for our money. We’ve trialled a few sites now that offer apartments for great prices:
Air Bnb – we used for visiting Amsterdam for my sister running hehalf marathon and in Edinburgh for her running her first marathon! I think a lot of people think that you stay with the owners/hosts when using Air Bnb but this isn’t always the case. If this isn’t your bag (it wasn’t ours) then just search for “the entire home”. This is the view from the bedroom of our Edinburgh apartment – looking out up to the castle:
HomeAway – we used HomeAway for finding our apartments for our honeymoon in Naples and Sorrento – they were both wonderful. Both apartments had balconies and views of the sea:
Owners Direct – we have used for many, many trips, including Lucca, Seville, Palma (photo below) and Barcelona. Each apartment has been fairly priced and always with everything you need for a place of your own:
All Copenhagen Apartments – this is one we’ve used for our last two trips to Copenhagen and found them to be very bargainous and always very spacious – except for the bathrooms! But I think this is a Copenhagen thing – just don’t expect a luxury bathroom!
Save on baggage charges
Once you’ve saved on your flight costs, there are a few ways to save further on your baggage costs:
- Choose hand luggage and pack light! How many times do you go away and end up wearing only half of what you pack? Every time, right? So only pack half what you would normally and you’ll easily fit it all into your hand luggage sized suitcase! This is particularly true if you’re only going for a long weekend but also as true for a longer period. We always choose self catering (see below) and always choose a place with a washing machine so that we can put a load on if we’re running low on clean clothes!
- Toiletries always seem to take up a lot of room and are often too big for hand luggage restrictions. You have a few options to save space – buy at the airport or when you arrive at your destination. If you don’t want to be bothered with buying when you arrive on holiday, Boots have set up their click and collect service which allows holiday makers to order online before they go and pick up after security at the airport. Of course, the other option is to pack mini versions of your everyday toiletries. Most brands now produce minis of their best selling products, even No7 have just launched their Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Travel Kit (launched today).
- The alternative is to choose an airline that includes baggage in the ticket prices rather than as an expensive add on. We recently flew with SAS airlines for a trip to Copenhagen and their prices include your checked in baggage – and their prices were less than the “cheap” airlines options.
- Or if you are flying with a budget airline and your travelling with friends or family, you could share the cost of one checked in bag and fill that with toiletries and other heavy things like shoes. I’ve done this with friends and my husband for previous trips and it’s worked out cheaper and easier.
Next week we’ll be sharing our top tips for saving money while you’re away.
What are your top tips for holidaying on a budget?