How to book your summer holiday on a budget

This is definitely the best time of year to start thinking about your summer holiday, if you’ve not done so already!  Lets face it, who really wants to go out or do anything in Winter when it’s dark and miserable outside.  It also eradicates any ‘winter blues’ you may be feeling, as I promise you, booking getaways is an instant mood lifter.  And there are bargains to be had!

This year, I have secured a nine day summer holiday to Italy for under £400 each, yay!

How to get a cheap flight

During these l-o-n-g winter nights, use the time to do your research.  Many budget airlines launch their European Summer routes around September and they have sales ALL the time, so it is definitely worth signing up to their email marketing.  I took advantage of Ryanair’s January sale offer and got my flights from Manchester to Naples for £96 return – bargain!  The only downside is that my return flight is at 6am, but I enjoy the whole airport experience, so this doesn’t bother me particularly.  A word of warning though – if you frequently visit an airlines’ website with specific dates, the sneaky computer cookies records this and your flight prices may increase.

If you’re flexible, then Ryanair and easyJet have great ‘Fare Finder/Inspire Me‘ tools that select destinations from your top three airports, at the lowest price.  Both of these airlines frequently expand their routes and I always like to have a look every now and again, but keep in mind what I mentioned above!   Luckily, I live close to both Manchester and Liverpool Airports and always search both as often the smallest airports are the best.

If you’re short on time, Skyscanner is a fab comparison site that does what it says on the tin!  You search for your destination and preferred dates/month and it collates flight prices from all airlines that shows you them from low to high.  *Be aware though, if you’re looking at long-haul flights, there may be numerous stopovers, hence the low price.  These can often result in a lot of added journey time which isn’t great!

How to find cheap accommodation

If you’re returning to specific accommodation, then it’s always better to contact the hotel direct for their rates.  And if you’re a frequent customer, they will usually offer you loyalty discount.

I find searching for hotels can take some time, so I use booking.com to find the hotel then go direct to the website for the best rate.  Hotels only advertise X amount of many rooms on these sites, so they’re not always sold out like they say they are!  The comparison sites also take a percentage which is reflected in the price, meaning you’re paying an inflated amount.

Lastly, don’t be afraid of hostels!  In recent years, and in Europe in particular, hostels are becoming more like ’boutique hotels’ offering private rooms with only a shared kitchen/communal area – lets be honest, who wants to cook whilst on holiday!  We are only in Naples for one night so I’ve booked the Factory Design hostel which was just over £50 for one night (only £25 each!).

hostel-naples

*I have never used Airbnb so cannot comment on this!

How to get free flights

I must confess, I won Jet2‘s Name That Destination competition last year and won two return flights for me and my boyfriend.  We’ve picked to go to Budapest in September – another city off my bucket list!  You’ve got to be in it to win it!

Thanks for reading – if you have any tips/recommendations on Airbnb, Budapest, anything else, let me know!

E x

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