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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

5 Ways To Save Money On Holiday
























One of the things I really wanted to push myself to do on my year abroad was travel more. I have mentioned before that whilst travelling is something I have always enjoyed doing, it has never been top on my list of priorities, with me always choosing a new pair of shoes or beautiful dress over a weekend away somewhere. This was also because I worked in the restaurant industry where time off during school/university holidays is pretty rare, and weekends off almost non-existent. In Bergamo I haven’t had to worry about working as much, but the lack of a constant income has obviously substituted my lack of time with a bit more of a shortage of money, so the travels I did organise would have to be on a strict student budget. This post is basically to tell you how this IS possible, and how even if you do have a regular income, you don’t have to resort to paying ridiculous amounts to explore new countries.

RESEARCH



Research everything. Research the countries you’re considering, research cheap places to stay, research the best cheap places to eat and things to see. The worst thing you can do is go somewhere without a clue of what to expect price wise, as even if the flights are cheap the city itself could end up being an expensive place to visit. It can be very easy to get into the habit of settling for ridiculously hiked up prices for food and drink in particular, as you just assume that everywhere will be the same price, so I would definitely recommend doing a good few google searches and Trip Advisor stalks to get some good recommendations for every aspect of your trip, which won’t break the bank. Or even just ask people if they have been before and what they would recommend!
Included in this part is researching the airport and how to get to and from it. If you fly with RyanAir, they often use budget airports which aren’t always in centre of the place you’re going to. A perfect example of this is Paris Beauvais or Brussels Charleroi, where you have to take the city coach from the airport into the cities themselves. These companies charge an arm and a leg for journeys which really shouldn’t cost that much at all because they know that people will pay for it, as often there aren’t any other options. By taking this into consideration, you may save money by getting a more expensive plane ticket which takes you directly to the main airports, which generally have better links into the cities anyway. Plus, it’ll save you a bit of time too, so you’ll get to experience more of the place you’re visiting.

PRIORITISE



Obviously holidays are intended for you to enjoy them, and there is no point going if you are going to spend the entire time resenting the fact that you can’t afford to do the things you want. Prioritise what will make your holiday the best experience for you and allow yourself to spend a bit extra on those parts, whilst maybe making cuts on the not so important things if you really need to budget. For example, maybe you’re a massive foodie and your favourite part of trips abroad is sampling the local delicacies, but you’re not that bothered about fancy hotels. Here, you can save a bomb by getting a cheap hotel or hostel that will do you well just to sleep in and spend your extra money on trying new cuisines, or vice versa; maybe your hotel is your biggest priority but you’re not that bothered about food, so you could spend a bit more on a nice hotel or apartment and buy food from the supermarket to make your own packed lunches for the day.

DON'T RULE OUT HOSTELS


Hostels get a bit of a bad rep as being unsafe, unsanitary and generally an unenjoyable experience, but this really does not have to be the case. You can save so much money on your sleeping arrangements by opting for a hostel, and more often than not you can get a private room for little more money than the shared dorms. I have stayed in a few hostels in Milan, Paris, Rome, Pisa and Bergamo itself, and none of them have been any different to a cheap hotel but are often a hell of a lot cheaper. Again, make sure you do your research and check out all the reviews before hand, but it should save you a decent bit of money and still give you a comfortable nights sleep.
I stayed in a hostel in Pisa which cost €12 per person per night for a 4 bed private dorm with an ensuite and yeah, it wasn’t the most comfortable sleep I’ve ever had but we were literally just using it as a place to crash after a night out, so we didn’t need anything else. I also stayed at a hostel in Milan with Sam for a night away, which had a huge bed, decent shower and cheap drinks downstairs; I don’t think we would have had a better experience by staying in a fancier, pricier hotel, so hostels are absolutely worth considering. 

TIME IT RIGHT



Everyone knows that holiday companies and hotels alike hike their prices up around bank holidays, summer, Easter, Christmas - basically any time that the general public are out of work and schools are closed. Even your budget airlines become seriously expensive; I have seen RyanAir flights for £240 at certain times of the year, and that is just for a one way trip. If possible, time your breaks so that you are going at the less popular points of the year; this is obviously difficult if your time off naturally lands when every one else's does, but definitely saves you a lot of money. If you work in the restaurant industry or another sector of employment which actually favours you taking time off in these quieter periods, then you're on to a win!
As a general rule, mid-week flights do seem to be a lot cheaper than weekend ones, as obviously most people time their ventures away to cities on the weekends (hence the name ‘weekend-breaks’) but this shouldn’t be taken as gospel.

BOOK IN ADVANCE



This one sometimes comes out tops, but it isn't always necessary as I have had some decent last minute trips quite cheap. Generally, however, train tickets, plane tickets and hotels get more expensive the closer you get to the time you leave, so if you have a certain time in mind for going abroad then it is worth trying to get it snapped up in advance. If you book with booking.com or TravelRepublic, you can often secure £1 deposit deals where you only pay for your flights and pay your hotel either on the day you arrive or a certain amount of time before it - generally you do end up paying a bit more money to secure the room, but if you snap up a good deal in advance you may end up saving money, and it means you don't have the entire price of the holiday coming out of your bank account in one go.

Also keep an eye out for flight deals, either by using SkyScanner or by signing up to get email notifications from budget airlines. I managed to get seriously cheap flights to Brussels just by keeping an eye on my emails from RyanAir, and they often have flights for as little as £4. If you can be flexible with dates and destinations, you can definitely secure some absolute bargains!
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Lauren Gibbins
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[name=Lauren Gibbins] [img=Your Image Url Here] [description=I'm Lauren, I'm a 21 year old student from Manchester currently studying in Italy for my erasmus year abroad.] (twitter=www.twitter.com/laurenjgibbins) (instagram=www.instagram.com/laurenjoygibbins) (bloglovin=https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/lauren-gibbins-18477709)

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