I’m off to Lisbon tomorrow for my hubby’s birthday. We’re heading away for a long weekend. I’m trying (after over-packing for honeymoon) to pack as light as possible, so while thinking about what I’ll be throwing in, I figured I’d share my idea of a capsule wardrobe for a weekend city break (this covers a 5-6 day trip). It might look long but believe me I’ve packed more and fitted it into a carry-on size case!
- Oversized shirt – doubles as a cover-up on the beach and something slightly warmer in the evenings
- 2x vests – what more do you need for daytime wear on holiday than shorts and a vest?
- Denim jacket – a cool cover-up for evenings and travelling
- 2x day-to-night dresses – gives you a different option for city break days and takes you through to the evening
- 2x pairs of sandals – one for walking (I always take my Birkenstocks) and another for evening
- Trainers – for travelling
- Shorts – denim shorts are the most versatile
- Jumper – for cooler evenings
What do you pack for a weekend away? Do you choose to pack light or throw everything you own in?
Last week we talked about ways to save money on getting to your holiday and on where to stay, this week it’s all about how to save money once you arrive.
- If you’ve chosen self-catering, one of the easiest ways to save the pennies is to eat in. We try to eat in once of twice a week (depending on how long we’re away for) so that we can afford even better meals when we do go out.
- Eating in doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your meals. We’ve found lovely (and cheap) take out pizza places in Italy and grabbed a few beers to go with them. In Sorrento we bought olives and a bottle of prosecco from the local supermarket and enjoyed aperitif hour on our balcony – complete with a view of the sea.
- Whether you’re self-catering or in a hotel, buy bottled water from the local supermarket. Don’t buy bottles of water from tourist trap shops – or the mini bar! You’ll find it for pence in the supermarket and can then take a bottle with you for days out.
- Check out free walking tours. A lot of European cities offer free walking tours. We’ve found them in a number of holiday destinations, including Seville, Copenhagen and Naples. They’re a great way to find your feet and get some local inside tips. We found a couple of great places to eat on these tours that we would never have found without the advice.
- Walking will save you money on transport but will also mean that you see even more of the place you’re visiting. Sure, you’ll find you need to use public transport for some parts of your trip but for the most part, you should be able to take your time and soak in the atmosphere and sights of where you’re staying. Just remember to pack some comfortable shoes!
- Do your research before you go. This will save you loads. Check out how to get from the airport before you arrive. You’ll likely be tired and keen to get to your accommodation when you arrive at the airport, so if you’ve not done your research, you’re far more likely to take the easiest route, which will also likely be the most expensive. If in doubt, if you’re self-catering, you can usually ask the owner of the place you’re staying for their advice.
- If you’re planning on using public transport and visiting the sights, it might be worth getting a tourist card. A lot of cities have tourist cards these days which offer free or reduced entry to museums and sights, as well as travel options too.
- Check out local blogs for tips before you travel. I’ve found some great places by checking out local blogs and sites before heading off on our hols – a few of my favourites are Mad About Copenhagen, Lisbon Lux and a new one (closer to home) The CDF.
What are your tips for travelling on a budget? Any hot reading tips? Favourite travel blogs or websites?
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?
- Get the right underwear! Seems obvious but maybe not. Make sure to try on your choice underneath your white dress too. I bought the white dress above for my honeymoon, so threw my white wedding knickersinto my suitcase and figured I was sorted. Turns out, white doesn’t always work with white! Cue a quick trip to Italian lingerie store Intimissimi for “the right pair”!
- Be careful what you eat. I chose spaghetti for dinner in this white dress. Risky. But it didn’t have the dreaded tomato sauce – it came with mussels, garlic and oil, which don’t stain – so badly! I also used my napkin!
- Finally, don’t be afraid! For so long I’ve been terrified of wearing white but I think my wedding day may have cured me of that fear!
- Oh ok then, another two for good luck!! Toughen up your white look with black accessories à la Alex at The Frugality.
- For a more summer holiday look, team with delicate gold accessories to really highlight your tan.
Will you be wearing white this summer? Do you have any handy tips?
My hubby (still feels strange to write that!) and I have just got back from our Italian honeymoon. We spent two and a half weeks touring the islands in the Bay of Naples and the Amalfi coast. It was wonderful. But moving around every few days with a heavy suitcase has made me reassess how I pack for my holidays.
This post from Garance Doré totally sums up my attitude to holiday packing. Wicker baskets – lovely idea but how?? Beach towels – great in theory, HEAVY and BIG in practice. Straw hat – stylish but impossible to pack. Toiletries – bulky, heavy but oh-so necessary! Souvenirs? How do you even begin to fit your holiday purchases in?
The answer to these holiday packing dilemmas? Here’s what I’ve learnt (if you want to read Garance’s take, you can find it here):
- Wicker baskets – great for weekend trips and picnics at home, when taking the car! Not for holidays. Unless you can snag a really cheap version at your destination.
- Beach towels – leave them at home! A Pareo or Hamman style towel which are much thinner and, therefore, lighter are the way to go – plus, as they are cotton, they work as a sarong/cover-up too. I spotted these everywhere on the Amalfi coast but my suitcase was already so full and heavy that even a light towel/sarong was too much. Instead, I’ve hunted out some reasonably priced versions at Notonthehighstreet.com.
- Straw hat – wear it, don’t pack it. This is not the approach favoured by Garance but I am still quite attached to the look, so wear my hat for my trip.
- Toiletries – if you can do without your usual brand, buy abroad. If you’re travelling with friends/partners/family, share the load and the bottles. Alternatively, order them online at Boots, to pick up at the airport, after security and ditch anything left before heading home.
- Holiday purchases. This is a trickier one. Leaving space in a suitcase can feel like a waste but also means no room for those inevitable purchases. One way I do it, is ditching the toiletries I packed and making room for them. Alternatively, throw in a couple of rolls of loo roll – they’ll come in handy on your travels and are surprisingly big – you could certainly fill the space they leave with a pair of new holiday sandals and a few pieces of holiday clothing!
What are your top travelling tips?
If it’s been a little quiet around here lately, it’s because… I was busy marrying my best friend… Last Friday, to be precise…
We had the most wonderful day. We’re now off on our honeymoon for a few weeks, so the radio silence is likely to continue a little longer!
In the meantime, be sure to follow my social media channels: Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, for updates from our southern Italian tour!
On our return I will definitely be back into the blogging groove and have lots of posts planned to tell you about the big day and how we made personal and special to us.
I’m obsessed with finding a beach bag for my honeymoon right now. I want one that will double as a carry-on bag for the flight too.
We’re off to the south of Italy for two and a half weeks and will be splitting our time between city sight-seeing and lazy beach days, so the bag needs to double up for both destinations.
I love the wicker basket option, favoured by celebs like Kate Moss, but want something a little less beachy so that it’ll work further afield too.
I’ve hunted the internet for a few options:
- When I think of a beach bag, I think of a bright patterned bag which will hold everything!
- Stripes are totally beach worthy and this Next beach bag has two handle options and three inside pockets, so it’ll definitely work for the plane too.
- For something fun, for a girly beach holiday, this New Look Beach Please bag is spot on!
- This wicker-style bright orange tote from H&M is a slightly more practical take on the basket.
- This block print tote bag by Accessorize will work when you’re back from your holidays too.
What do you carry on holiday?