JC Travels: How to Plan a Budget Trip

January 6, 2015

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Now if you saw my recent post about my 2014 travel, it is safe to say that I managed a whole lot of trips in 2014. Other than the trip to Aus/NZ, the rest were all pretty much done on a low budget including a whole lot of trips in 2013 as well. I think a lot of people think it is so expensive to travel, when in fact it really isn’t. I can usually do a weekend away in Europe for a couple of hundred pounds, and you can definitely do it cheaper if you want to stay in a hostel. So I thought I would run through my top tips for planning a budget trip.

1. Flights – Look at flights first before you pick your destination
Usually when I want to book a holiday, I don’t really have a place in mind – I just want somewhere exciting in Europe. What I usually do is wait for an airline to have a sale (usually easyjet) then have a look on their maps to see where the cheapest flights are going, do a quick google to see whether people rate it as an expensive city or not and then decide based on that. This was the case with my trips to Marseille and Lisbon last year, I saw they had bargain flights and I thought it would be awesome to visit. The airlines will always have sales on, I usually sign up to their newsletters then when one comes in I start planning.
If you don’t want to spend money on flights then look at driving somewhere, there are so many amazing places in the UK which don’t even require a flight to get to. However, if you are super keen on booking a flight then make sure you check out a site like Globehunters who can help you book cheap flights online.

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2. Hotel – Always book using the same booking website
I always book with the same booking website and this has saved me so much money over the years. I use hotels.com but a lot of the big booking sites will be the same, with hotels.com you get a free night after every 9 nights booked which is so good – I have had a couple of free nights already. I also get emailed additional discount codes pretty frequently, so whenever I am ready to book there is a code sitting there.

I think it’s important to realise that in reality, you aren’t going to be at your hotel for long so I usually go for the basics. As long as it is clean and safe then I am usually happy! Look for hotels which are a little further away from the centre but are near public transport. I usually like to stay at hotels which take about 15-20 minutes to get into the centre as they are great quality but that bit cheaper as people don’t want to stay further away.

3. Food – Find a supermarket
You can easily spend a whole lot of money when on holiday. To keep the costs down, I always like to find a supermarket and stock up on snacks or breakfasts if they aren’t included in your hotel. It is a good idea to fill up in the morning with your supermarket fare, then graze through the day as you are out and about – then I like to spend a little bit more on dinner. It is a good idea to search for local supermarkets that are loved by the locals. My friend was in Edinburgh and he found a great local supermarket that had some very competitive prices. He was chatting with the owner about this and he told him that because he has such great deals on his business energy, he can offer better deals for his customers. He tells me he uses price comparison websites such as Usave to get the best deal possible.

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4. Entertainment – Free Walking Tours
Pretty much every major city I have visited has always had a free or cheap walking tour. I love doing these on the first day of my trip to get out and about and see all the main sites. The tour guides are usually a huge source of knowledge for what is cheap to do in the area as well so make sure you pick their brains. Research the area before you go to know if there is anything big you want to see and whether you can somehow get a discount – such as you get in free to the Louvre and many French museums if you are under 26 and live in the EU.

I honestly think that anyone can travel and plan a trip to suit their budget – these are just my initial tips so if you are interested in this topic then let me know and I will put another couple of posts together!

What are your budget friendly travel trips?

JC xx

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