Oh 2018, you’ve been quite a ride. This year, my main priorities were to read more, actually take some time off work and buy a house. You could say it was a bit of a mixed bag when it came to determining my annual goals! And for the most part, I’ve achieved it! You see, I’m now in the throes of house-buying and it’s equally exciting, terrifying, nerve-wracking, fun, anxiety-inducing and all else that comes with Big Life Milestones. Top of my smaller list of goals and things to check off were to save like a madwoman and also to tick some places from my travel bucket list.
Often when I scroll through Instagram, I wonder how on earth people can afford – not necessarily in a monetary sense, despite the title of the post – to take time out and travel in such abundance. Dancing pink skies, time-honoured architecture, pages and pages of history and sun-soaked dresses bloom before my eyes and I can barely afford a bus into town (my newest foray into more mindful living), never mind a specially coordinated dress and exotic travel duo. But digitally geared travel is not the be all and end all: I adore travelling to see this globe for myself in all of its natural and manmade glory. So, here are some pointers for how I travel – well – on a budget…
1. Sign up to newsletters and note down coupons
I’ve signed up to newsletter mailing lists for hotels.com, booking.com and a handful of my favourite hotels, and I frequently check my email Inbox for when a great deal comes about! And more often than not, it’s a great deal that sets me off on hunting for flights!
Harvey and I tried out a Secret Escapes deal earlier in the year and we had such a good time! The site provides awesome deals on 4* hotels, often with flights and bonuses included, and you can get up to 80% off on some packages. It’s worth signing up to their email or app to be kept in the loop of new deals.
2. Make use of SkyScanner!
If you haven’t already got the SkyScanner app, then I definitely recommend that you do. Their app is especially set up to help you find the cheapest flights for you and my favourite thing is when you click through to the monthly calendar view. They handily add a green, orange or red dot depending on how pricey the flight is for the season, making it incredibly easy to find the ideal flight.
And if you’re under 26, be sure to sign up for an STA travel card to receive a chunky discount on your flights with SkyScanner. I absolutely LIVED for that perk when I was… a little younger.
3. Research, research, research
One of my most clicked-on posts is my ‘How To Travel To Copenhagen with £250’ post, and for good reason: that’s an expensive city! With a little research via travel guides (I collect the Lonely Placket pocket guides), blogs and tourism board websites, it’s actually relatively easy to travel cheaply. Of course you’ll end up spending most of your money on eating out, but it doesn’t have to be the same for seeing sights, attractions, or even shopping.
Another thing I’ve really loved to add in to my city breaks is to check if there’s a free walking tour available.
We did one of these in Vienna over the summer and it was so insightful. The tours are run by a company and the guides are almost always local and so knowledgeable. Of course they recommend you donate a small amount to the guide as a tip, but it’s an affordable way to see the city and actually learn about it too.