There are so many different ways to save a few bob when planning a trip or when there. Starting with flights and the very basics, Skyscanner mate. Use it on Incognito mode so the airlines can’t see which flights are being repeatedly looked up and then jack up the prices. It’s good to have some flexibility here, especially if there’s somewhere you want to go but don’t mind when you go. You can also set up price alerts for flights around the same dates, a few dates either side. For example if you wanted to go 5th-10th, check for 4th-9th, 3rd-8th etc. This way you can get the same amount of time there but you could have significantly cheaper flights. If like me you’re a Monday-Friday person I’ve found Saturday-Monday flights cheaper than Friday-Sunday, so worth checking.
If you’re super flexible about where you go I strongly recommend following Irishflights.ie on Instagram or check out his website. This legend uploads flight and hotel deals, for free. You follow the link and it shows you the dates etc to look up on skyscanner. He doesn’t take any money for this but you can donate a coffee if you want through a link on his page, which I always do if and when I book a deal he’s found me.
If there’s an airline you use a lot it’s worth signing up to their loyalty/air miles programme. I fly Aer Lingus a lot, especially heading over and back to visit family in the UK. I signed up to Aer Club in June 2022 and I’ve already got over 10,000 points. That’s enough for flights to Paris and Edinburgh or ALMOST enough for New York. It’s been really easy to collect them too as you get them for all Aer Lingus and British Airways flights but also 8 points per euro (at time of writing) for Booking.com so my accommodation has really helped boost them up. Same for Viator, 4 points per euro spent. You can also add your cards to the account so any time you spend in certain shops, bam, more points. Aer Club, and the British Airways equivalent. On this note if your looking for a credit card, this is not me recommending one, but if you’re looking both Aer Lingus and BA do them and you get mega miles for signing up and then points for all spending on them. Going business class isn’t something I’ve ever considered paying for but if this is something you’re into, it could definitely be worth it. The credit cards cost per month though, heads up.
The other option is websites like Top Cashback. I used this recently for a hop on hop off bus ticket for two people and got over 10 pound sterling cash back for it. Speaking of cash back check this section on your revolut app for places that give cashback. It’s normally only a small percentage but hey, it all adds up. Also, if you’re doing this, using cashback sites or collecting aer miles you can always ask friends or family if booking accommodation etc if you can book it with your card and under your account and they pay you. That way you get points for a stay that hasn’t even cost you anything.
Another way to reduce flight costs is to book the cheapest version of the flight. This means the one with no cabin bag, that’s’ right, no small wheelie case. I’ve never been someone who packs light, but I’m learning fast. For Christmas I asked for this bag I found on amazon, it’s the exact max dimensions permitted on budget airlines like Ryanair and it opens up like a suitcase. I did Valencia recently with it (3 days) and it was perfect. It also has a laptop section at the back which is super handy. The bulkiest items I’m finding in the bag are still the liquids section, so I’m working on reducing that further. I could just buy my liquids there and dump them but that’s bad for the environment and wasteful so I’m now exploring those tablet toothpaste things and moving to powder foundation?! Watch this face! 😉 Here is the link to the bag. So far I’ve used it for Valencia and London and have Lisbon coming up so will update this if it turns into a heap of shite.
Keeping food costs low:
Another oldie but a goodie is to buy the hostel/hotel breakfast and bring some rolls, fruit, pastries etc with you for later aka a free lunch! Find yourself somewhere beautiful to sit where you can enjoy the scenery and not feel like you’re missing out on a beautiful lunch somewhere to sit down. Obviously this means being prepared, having a bag big enough to fit this and also a powerbank. Without a midday charge up you’ll need it to have power to keep your google maps going. Another thing worth doing is researching the highlights of where you want to go in advance. Some places have free entrance on certain days of the week. Some restaurants have early bird or lunch deals, a big lunch can mean you don’t need or want a big dinner later and you could probably happily get a crepe to walk around with to enjoy the sunset. Also, if you find somewhere with a killer view and a bench check if drinking in public is legal there. If it is, you can also enjoy a bottle of wine in a park, or overlooking the Seine for example.
For accommodation I use booking.com for two reasons. One, I get Avios points via Aer Club and two, I’ve been using them so long I now have level 2 genius or whatever which means I get discounts on accommodation. They also have reserve now pay later options and I’ve found their customer service to be good when I’ve had any issues in the past. So basically the more you book, the more discounts you get. Most cities have hundreds of hostels to choose from and a price point to fit every budget. You can find a bed in a 30 bed dorm or share a room with 3 others. You can have mixed or same sex dorms, just if you go same sex try not to sneak a guy in at 3am. It won’t go down well and may end up in a walk of shame to the mixed dorms as you’re no longer trusted to stick to the rules. If you do find a hostel you like the look of check out their own website too, in case it’s cheaper or includes a free breakfast. The business appreciates it as they haven’t had to pay a percentage to booking.com and it may work out better for you too.
Last bits. If you want free water in the restaurant ask if they do free tap water. Otherwise a fancy bottle of, probably fucking sparkling water will arrive and they’ll open it in front of you and now you’ve got some disgusting water on your bill too! Order the local beer/wine, it’s usually cheaper. I mean if you’re really fucking smashed bring some biscuits/noodles from home and substitute a meal. Also, bring a refillable water bottle with you. Most cities now have free refill points and especially in warm weather this will seriously help. Check the weather and pack for it. If it’s gonna be cold, bring a scarf, hat, and appropriate coat. If you don’t you’ll end up buying what you need to keep warm, dry, and cool. As well as costing money often the things we buy in moments of desperation are poor quality and things we won’t wear at home.
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