If you’ve been following us for a while then you probably know that we are all about maximising our money when we travel because this allows us to travel to more places during the year. Today, I want to share with you how exactly we do this and what platforms we use to find the best deals, so you too can travel more and for better prices!
Before we get started, make sure to also check out our article on how we are able to afford so much travelling while having a full time job.
Here is all our best tips and tricks to plan a cheap vacation:
1. Finding a destination
The first step to booking a cheap holiday is finding an affordable destination. To find this, the first thing we check is the prices of the flights from our home city. To do this, we use skyscanner to find the cheapest destinations on the month or dates we want to travel. You can do this by typing ‘Everywhere’ as a destination on their search engine. You can also select ‘Cheapest Month‘ if you are flexible with the time of the year.
Once here, we can clearly see the options available that will allow you to travel for cheap. But I have found that finding a convenient flight through skyscanner is very difficult. So what we do is, from the most appealing and affordable places found through this website, we create a shortlist of where we would like to go. We then do a quick search for accommodation and estimated food and leisure costs to get an idea of how much the full holiday would cost; to then reduce further the list. This should leave us with one winner destination and 1 or 2 back-up options.
2. Finding flights
3. Finding a hotel or apartment
After finding the right flight, it is time to search for accommodation. My main recommendation here is not to restrict yourself to booking your preference of an apartment or a hotel. This is because, depending on where you are travelling, prices can differ greatly for different types of accommodation; and we don’t want to restrict ourselves like that or we will end up spending more than necessary. So, what we always do is open both booking.com and Airbnb at the same time. We search for the area we are looking for and add the requisites we want from the accommodation, such as number of beds, swimming pool, location, etc… This then allows us to compare the price ranges and decide whether it is better to book a hotel or an apartment.
In addition, something we like to do is also check hotels that include breakfast. These may initially seem more expensive, but if you make the calculation, it sometimes works out much cheaper than having breakfast out every day. Say, for example, a hotel charges you 40€ more for buffet breakfast for 2 people staying 3 days – This works out at 5€ per person per day, which may be half of what you would spend having breakfast in a café or restaurant.
4. And don’t forget…
Once you have found your destination, your flight and your idea hotel – voalá! You have your perfect, affordable trip ready to be booked. But make sure you book the flight and hotel relatively quickly from the moment that you see it, as prices tend to go up very quickly; and hotels with good prices tend to get booked fast too. We have found that waiting more than 4 days most likely means an increase in price.
.But of course, even when you have already booked your hotel and flights, a cheap holiday is not guaranteed. We suggest that you also research in advance areas where it is cheap and nice to eat, as well as plan the excursions and activities you want to do so you don’t end up spending unnecessary money on transport or tickets that you won’t use. Unfortunately, there are lots of travel agencies that sell packaged tickets at an overly expensive price. Sometimes it works out better to do your own plan and pay for attractions individually (even though these companies want to make you think otherwise!) So just be conscious of what you book in advance.
I encourage you to do as much research as possible so you can buy tickets online when necessary. But also leave some decisions to be made on the spot when you’re on your vacation so you are not restricted or waste money.
Thanks for reading! We hope this post helped you understand how you can plan an affordable and cheap vacation.
Please leave a comment down below – We are curious, what platforms do you use to find the best deals for your holidays?