At the start of the year, I promised myself I was going to find every excuse possible to travel and I think I’ve achieved that with 3 holidays and 4 mini breaks so far this year. I’m a student so splashing out on vacations isn’t an option, but that doesn’t mean travelling isn’t. This is a guide for girl, guy or non binary individual who wants to travel for cheap but the idea of a hostel FREAKS them out (I’m sorry but between sharing a room with complete strangers and hostel murders in the news, it’s a no from me). A guide for those wanting bougie pictures outside European palaces tryna blag it’s your hotel (What do you mean google said the Palace of Versailles doesn’t accept guests; did you just accuse my Instagram of LYING?!). A guide for those spending one night in a fancy restaurant and every other day living from the McDonalds saver menu. (I don’t care if you saw be eating snails last night, I’m only in maccies because I’m FUSSY!). Here are my top five commandments for all the Joanne the Scammers out there wanting to scheme as many vacations out of 2018.
Got me fella up the wall with these photoshoots
1. SETTING SOME HOUSE RULES
Okay so I have some rules when going on mini breaks or holidays. My key three rules for getting a budget hotel in a city are 1. CHEAP DUH 2. transport links and relevance (I’ll get to that later) and 3. Somewhere very clean with a modern bathroom. Hotel hygiene is non negotiable for me. I’m on a budget but not THAT much of a budget where I can forfeit a decent wash. On a city break especially you want to aim to spend as little time in the hotel as possible, but just think how much of that is going to be spent in the bathroom? Our Condal Mar hotel in Barcelona had the most amazing bathroom for example with a massive mirror for selfies (probably my 4th essential). You want to freshen up in a place that makes you feel actually fresh; a dingy bathroom with florescent lighting isn’t gonna wreck your holiday mojo. If you’re not spending everyday feeling like the Cheetah Girls when they take Barcelona, you’re not doing it right.
Strut by The Cheetah Girls plays softly in the background
2. TRANSPORT LINKS ARE ESSENTIAL
Perks the hotel offers come in handy but the real perks are metro/bus links. In Paris me and James stayed in the 8th Arrondissement which was perfect; a 20 minute walk from the Champs-Elysées, 10 minutes from Palais Garnier and round the corner from the Moulin Rogue. We also had metro stations and bus stops either end of our street. So we could get to all the places we wanted to very easily, including places a little further away like Pere Lachaise and Parc des Princes. European cities have a very safe efficient transport system unlike in the UK (I’m still waiting for the 61 to school and I left 2 years ago) so use them and you’ll save so much money or at least use them in the day if you want to stay out late in the night. In Berlin last year we got the bus from the airport to our hotel. We only had small luggage and as we were getting day tickets that day anyway, the bus didn’t cost us anything extra as opposed to a taxi that could have been 60 euros plus.
Public transport is part of the experience in European cities, like imagine going to London and not getting on The Tube? Everyone uses them and plus if it’s a city that you might not know well it’s a opportunity to get your bearings. The only thing I’d say in tourist hot spots, pick pockets will exist especially in Paris I found, so just keep your pockets empty, your belonging in your bag zipped up and your bag across you and within your sight. I’m dead paranoid but I’ve never been mugged so better safe that sorry (touch wood).
Imagine having this on your doorstep like
3. FREE STUDENT GETAWAYS
If you’re a student, take advantage of trips your course has to offer! International placements are easy as ever as well as programmes like Camp America being incredibly accessible, also you are paid to work! My course at LJMU offer a trip to Gregynog Hall in Wales COMPLETELY FREE. This includes transport, all your food and two nights stay. I’ve had the opportunity to go twice this year because I’m so nice and help out as a mentor at the University. My advice to you is get involved in student activities or with the guild if you want to travel for free! working or studying abroad is a great option if there is a city you have in mind that you want to spend a lot of time in. Imagine getting paid/supported to live in one of your favourite cities?
I got to stay here for FREE
4. FRIENDS AND FAMILY DISCOUNT
Having friends and family working in hotel chains helps also. In summer I went to Leeds with a friend and because her Aunt worked for Marriott in Liverpool, we got a pretty decent discount, room upgrade and super cheap breakfast. Great for the bougie budgettier. This is ideal for last minute travels or if you are a person who prefers chain hotels, you can get an account with the hotel and earn points to get discount off future visits, perhaps even free if you have enough points. The same could apply for family abroad; if you can stay over with them, all you need for a holiday is a flight.
When you stay somewhere snazzy for a fraction of the price, you gotta get bougie with it.
5. GETTING THE BEST DEAL
Lastminute.com is the site I’ve booked all my holidays this year on and by far it is the easiest to use, allowing you to book hotels and flights in one, and has the best price comparisons. For example, for Barcelona me and James wanted a something super nice, with a pool, by the beach, and with good transport links. ALL this for a good price which we got. we could refine are search to low-high, distance to a beach, and hotels with a pool ALL AT THE SAME TIME. It was super easy to alter flights too to suit our needs also.
Flight times are an easy way to lengthen your holiday for cheap. We wanted a super early flight so we could make the most of the first day and an earlier afternoon flight coming home so we could enjoy our last morning. DON’T make the mistake of getting a very late home flight unless you really know how you’ll spend that time. It can be very frustrating being on a time restraint in a busy city trying to squeeze activities in when you probably just want to go home, especially when you have all your luggage on hand and no place to stop and freshen up at/get changed all day. Plan your flight times strategically and you can squeeze and extra day in easily.
P.S. If you’re in Liverpool, it is often MUCH cheaper to fly from Manchester over John Lennon, Paris would have been well over double what we paid if we flew from John Lennon, so be sure to shop around.
So fresh, so clean
I’ve been to the most amazing cities this year for so cheap so don’t think just because a city is ruthlessly expensive that you can’t afford to go. You can enjoy a luxurious holiday experience by FEELING luxurious. Dress up everyday, take pretentious pictures, Enjoy expensive food or purchases sporadically, walk through designer shopping malls like it’s a museum. Your entire holiday depends on your mood so do what you need to do to feel fabulous.
With the money you save you can buy some Gucci