Bryony Jane Hill from the money saving blog ‘mattresstomaison’ recently wrote this amazing guide on how she finds cheap holidays. If you’re already following her Instagram, you were probably been wondering how she does it!
”I’ve had quite a few messages over the last few months asking me to explain how I manage to find our cheap holidays for bargain prices. I don’t have a specific method but I do have some tips which you guys might find useful – I hope you do!
First of all, you’ll need a pen and paper, a good coffee and an afternoon because even though the holidays are cheap they come at the cost of a little time and research.
Once you’ve got your pen, paper and laptop you’ll need to find out where you want to go. Most of our city breaks have been completely on a whim of whatever flights have been cheap at the time. Groupon is good at giving inspo because although I always find groupon to be more expensive than booking separately but its good to have a look at what destinations are cheap to go and then have a look at the dates. This can give some indication as to whats cheap at what times in the year. Sky scanner is amazing for giving inspo too.
This is my favourite method of finding flights. You can select your departure airport and your dates and it will list for you, lowest to highest what flights are cheap at the moment. I have attached a screenshot below so you know what I mean. This was searched on 07/03/2017 at 11:30am.
So you can see how cheap destinations can be? It might take some fiddling around with dates so being flexible on dates is quite key. Through experience I find it cheaper to fly on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Saturdays and Sundays tend to be more expensive but its definitely worth checking! Once you have found the cheapest, most convenient dates for you, write these down!
I always choose London (any) as my departure airport first as my local airport (Bristol) doesn’t fly to many destinations. Once I have chosen my destination I do give a quick check to see if I can fly from Bristol. Most of the time it is more expensive to fly from there but it really depends how much more expensive. If you live t’north, you could select any of the big airports up there as opposed to the local ones.
I always weigh up the costs and write it down. So it would cost me £40-£50 to park my car in any London airport (always book these through top cashback too!) and it would cost me £50-£60 in fuel to drive there. If these costs are still around £50 cheaper than flying from my local airport then it makes it totally worth it for me and i’ll travel to London. Gotta get those cheap flights huns.
Once i’ve got my dates written down, I then go on the hunt for accommodation. I like to use Air BnB and booking.com. You could fiddle around with these dates too and see if it makes the booking a huge amount cheaper! If the booking is say £100 cheaper on another day and the flight is only £30 cheaper, then its worth paying the extra for the flight. You see why you need a pen and paper?! Usually when I do this I have around 20 windows open on my laptop haha! I love choosing the accommodation because it can be as plush as you want it. If you want something extra fancy, Secret Escapes is quite good for really plush, fancy pants hotels. I love their calendar option! It shows you what each date in the month costs. I’ve just gone on and found this hotel in Split, Croatia which is advertised at £26 per night as per the below
But then in May, the price per night goes up to almost double!
When I look for accommodation I look for how close it is to the centre of town or the sights i’d like to see. I also like to google map how far it is from the airport and have a look into public transport around the area. just to make sure there actually is transport and you won’t be paying an absolute bomb when you get there. For city breaks there is always public transport to the hotel. We will usually go to the travel information desk when we arrive at the airport and book the cheapest bus or train. Top tip! Always book a return so that you know if you run out of money (standard for us haha) that you at least have your transport back to the airport sorted.
Other tips i’ve picked up along the way are:
- Always book your trip away on a Tuesday. A pilot once told me that airlines refresh their prices at 12am on Tuesday night and so they rush to get rid of what they have. I dont know if this is true or not but i’ve always done it!
- I never book any extras on my flights, no matter how much the website prompts you to. Say no thank you and by pass. Not once have I ever needed priority boarding, airport lounges, or set seats. And actually, the people with priority boarding really irritate me to be honest. Do you really need to be on a plane longer than you need to? No.
- Invest in a good hand luggage sized case or back pack. These are usually around £20 which totally beats the £50 that most airlines want per person, each way for an extra piece of luggage. Fudge that! And a good travel pillow. Budget airlines aren’t the most comfortable flights i’ve ever been on. A few people have recommended packing cubes to me which I definitely need to invest in for Croatia!
- I never book extra luggage. I once went to Cyprus for 2 weeks with nothing but hand luggage and do you know what?! I didn’t wear all of what I packed. I’m not smelly and I definitely didn’t wear everything till the death haha! I even went skiing and managed to pack ski trousers, goggles, clothes the lot into a hand luggage sized case. With some clever packing and interchangeable outfits, I guarantee it will be enough :). You can look into whether your accomodation has laundry facilities to be able to wash your skids.
- Pack your own food for the airport. Airport food is ridiculously expensive so do an Asda run before hand! Check the guidelines for the country you are travelling to but snacks are usually always fine.
- You’ll need toiletries and if you are travelling for longer than a few days, it’s likely you’ll need more than the 100ml bottles that are allowed with hand luggage. Check what cosmetics store your airport has because sometimes you can order in your toiletries to the airport and pick up once you are through security. Toiletries are notoriously expensive in the airport, especially suncream! So if you order online around a week or 2 before take off, you can get the online price. I once ordered all of my toiletries for Cyprus to Boots at Birmingham airport, got the online price AND got my boots points 🙂
- Get some see through, zip sandwich bags for your liquids that you will be taking on the flight. They are £1-£2 for one at the airport whereas you can buy a whole pack from Asda or something that will last you several trips for the same price as one!
- Once booked, I like to pay for it straight away. AND have the spending money put aside so that when the holiday comes around I can fully enjoy the process of getting ready for it rather than stress around how i’m going to get the spending money. Ill factor this into my budget as soon as possible. Naples was paid for and spending money put aside in November so all I have to worry about is getting myself ready.
I hope everyone has found this useful! Travelling cheap is about being flexible for the best deals and using your ingenuity to get past the rules (like the hand luggage and liquids) but it can be done!
I’d love to hear how you guys travel frugally so please send me a message and get in touch! I’m always on the look out for tips and will share any I get with you lovely lot!”