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I offer my apologies straight way if you are reading this from further afield! But from personal experience and from booking holidays for friends and family, if someone is looking for a budget holiday but still want the sun, the food, the culture and everything else in between then Europe is the place to go.
You don’t need to travel to the Maldives to spend a week on the beach lying in the sun and you don’t need to fly to Florida to get your thrills at the theme parks (or whatever it is you are into). You will save a load of money on flights, you don’t have the complications of visas. My point is that Europe is such a diverse and rich place, that there is something there for everyone.
When I say this I don’t mean you need to start heading down to yoga class 4 times a week, I mean that you may need to start jiggling that regular day to day structured life that you have around. I know this is very easy for me to say because I don’t have kids or a mortgage or a 9-5 job that I have to build up holiday time for, but I strongly believe that if you mix things up a bit you will be surprised what you can accomplish.
Instead of taking the same 2 week holiday in the middle of summer that you do every year, why don’t you decide to take two or three 7-to10-day holidays a year during off-peak times? Alternatively, if you really don’t have that capability then why not start booking further in advance?
I know loads of people that put off booking their holiday until a month or 2 before, what I would say is to do it around 9 to 11 months before. And when you do book it, you will get a much better deal (as flights are released about 11 months before all flights and then only go up in price - normally at least). If you are worried that you won’t be able to get the time off or that something might happen then stop panicking!
You have 11 months before you fly off, I’m sure if you put your mind to it you will find someone to cover those days or to watch the dog or record the football, you can do it! As a side note: if like me you do have a bit more flexibility and could go away at a moment’s notice then do it! Keep an eye on flight booking sites like skyscanner.net and if something really cheap pops up for a weeks’ time then take it!
Here’s a news flash: These “bargain holidays” that travel providers like Thomas Cook so often advertise are by no means “bargains”. Sometimes they are good because holiday providers will have access to certain flights and accommodation that aren’t available through price comparison sites; however from personal experience this exclusivity is also their biggest downfall in being able to offer the best deals.
If you use skyscanner.net or Momondo.com to search for your flights and then use booking.com or alpharooms.com or travelrepublic.co.uk (to name a few) to search for hotels or villas or hostels or whatever it is you need. 90% of the time you will find a much cheaper package than offered by high street or online holiday providers. This does mean putting in a little more groundwork; but for those of you with even just a little bit of online savvy, you can save a bomb!
Just recently Cazzy and I booked a holiday to Rome for 4 nights. We stayed in a 4* hotel and had great flight times, all for just £64 per person! This is crazy cheap! And the hotel even provided free breakfast. I’m pretty sure both the airline and the hotel must have lost money on our booking! You can find out more about this fantastic deal here.
So many people we have spoken to have gone to the same destination year after year after year (normally consisting of somewhere in Spain, France or Tenerife). There is nothing wrong with this, but if you are looking to save money and still have just as good an experience then you need to spread your horizons. For some people you may not like the sound of this but just ask yourselves: “How did I find the destination I currently love going to in the first place?” The answer: you tried something new. And that’s what I‘d encourage you to do again. What have you got to lose!
This is by far my favourite point because I love setting myself targets, and reaching them is the best feeling ever, especially when it comes to a holiday! You set yourself targets for so many things in life, such as losing weight or saving money, and for booking your perfect holiday this should be no different.
When we took a trip to Bavaria at the end of 2015, the only reason I picked that destination was because I had for years seen pictures of Neuschwenstein castle. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about look below. It’s what the Disney castles are based on. It's spectacular! Especially when it’s snowing there. It is not the easiest placed to get too, but my no means the hardest, but for many, you would assume that getting there and staying at the foothills of such a beautiful landscape would be extremely expensive and impractical.
I set Cazzy the challenge of finding a log cabin with beautiful scenery as near to the castle as possible, and which we could also afford. A large part of me didn’t actually think she could pull it off but she did! The place we stayed was the most amazing log cabin, surrounded by mountains with spectacular views and it even had a sauna!
The price for the flights and the accommodation and all the travel to and from cost us less than £250! This during the Christmas period is an absolute bargain! We loved it. And the whole time we were there we can honestly say that we didn’t find anywhere else we would have rather stayed, the location was perfect. Check out a link to it here. If you get the chance and you want more tips on what to do there just message us. Though I imagine we will be doing a blog post on it very soon!
So if you have that dream holiday that is in your mind then just write it down and get to work. It’s worth a look. Better yet, post it in the comments section below! If I can help with making your dream become a reality I will help, and I encourage other readers to help one another if you have any advice or experience with these locations.