Booking a quick weekend break is the best way to tick another destination off your bucket list without having to use any of your annual leave allowance.
The best bit? They don’t need to take their toll on your bank balance either!
Some of my best trips have been short but sweet weekends away, so to give you a little trip inspiration for your future travels, here are my 10 tips for planning a cheap weekend break.
Read more: 5 Tips for Travelling Around a 9 to 5
1 Choose a destination that you know will be within budget
We’d all love a long weekend in Vegas, but it’s never going to be a cheap option.
For those of us living in Europe, we really are spoiled with a long list of dreamy destinations just a couple of hours away. This is ideal for picking a cheap destination, especially as you can often snap up really cheap return flights to major European cities.
But wherever you are in the world, there are so many options, some of which you might not see at first.
What about a staycation? I could definitely spend many weekends exploring England.
Remember, travelling to a destination during their low season is a great way to keep the costs down.
2 Get on Skyscanner way ahead of your trip
If your trip requires flights, book them a while in advance to snap up a great deal. The place for cheap flights is Skyscanner.
Use the Explore page to find the best deals, and make sure you set up price alerts in-case they suddenly drop.
If you can be flexible, flying during the week will often be cheaper and you’ll find more affordable flight options if you’re not restricted to certain dates.
3 Book an Airbnb instead of a hotel
Sometimes renting a property can save you tons of money – especially if you’re heading abroad with a group of friends or family.
Finding an apartment with a bit of personality can also be much nicer than booking a generic city hotel. And chances are they won’t be charging a premium for your stay.
I regularly book properties on Airbnb. They’re right in the heart of the city I’m visiting, the owner is usually great at providing local recommendations and the cost will usually be lower than a hotel room.
Remember to book your accommodation in a place that’s convenient too. You don’t want to be miles away from the places you want to see!
4 Read blogs to find the best kept secrets
I might be bias, but bloggers are the best people to go to for tips on destinations.
If they’ve written a travel guide, then they’ve already done all the hard work for you and put everything you need to know in one place, such as tips for cutting costs. So use that information!
And don’t be afraid to ask for extra info and recommendations. We’re all happy to help – it’s why we do what we do!
5 Map out your ‘must see’ spots
Chances are you won’t be able to squeeze everything into your weekend break, and the last thing you want to do is spread yourself too thinly. Not only is this tiring, but it can get expensive.
So your best bet is to plan which parts of the destination you want to explore the most, and map out your ‘must see’ spots on Google My Maps.
If you’re not familiar with this game-changing travel tool, then have a read of my Google My Maps guide.
Using Google My Maps not only tells you where in the world you are – very handy! – but you can explore one area at a time without missing any of those ‘must see’ spots. Which ultimately saves money on transport too.
6 Book your experiences in advance
Now you know where you’re going and what you want to do, it’s time to get it all booked!
Occasionally it can pay off to arrive and book tickets on the day – such as last-minute Broadway tickets in New York City – but for most excursions or activities, waiting too long could mean you miss out.
Searching around online, posting in forums and asking travel bloggers will help you know where to look for the best deals.
7 Be smart with your airport transportation
Can you get a lift from a friend? Can you catch a train? Can you share a taxi with others going on your trip? If not, look into your airport parking options.
If you do your research you’ll find a good deal. I usually use APH for our airport parking as they always have the best rates.
They’re not always the closest to the airport, but if you don’t mind catching their free shuttle bus you can save £50 or more on each booking.
8 Pack light to save money on luggage
If you’re heading off on a short break, you can usually get away with just hand luggage.
And if you want an additional bag you can always pay a small fee to upgrade with certain airlines.
EasyJet is my go to airline because their flights usually include a decent amount of hand luggage, which allows me to use my Travel Hack Cabin Case.
Worst case, book just one suitcase and share it with your travel buddy. You shouldn’t need much luggage for a weekend break!
Better still – luggage won’t cost you a thing if you’re going on a staycation road trip.
9 Scout out the best cheap eats
Before you go away, do a bit of research on where you can grab some great cheap eats during your trip.
Whether it’s a popular restaurant known for their generous sharing platters or delicious tacos at a street food market, there are always ways to enjoy the local food within your budget.
To save even more money, you can always pop to a supermarket to pick up on-the-go breakfast and lunch supplies, or take advantage of any cooking facilities at your accommodation.
Even doing this for just one meal during your weekend break will save you a good amount of cash to put towards your accommodation, transport or experiences.
10 Enjoy the freebies along the way
The best things in life are free, right? During my travels, I’m always on the hunt for freebies.
Whether it’s free entry to the city gardens, a complimentary drink when you try a local dish or taking yourself on a hike to the viewpoint that everyone raves about – take advantage of it.
It’s often these free experiences that make the best travel memories.
I absolutely love going on a cheap weekend break several times throughout the year, so I really hope these tips help you keep the costs down for you next trip!
What are your top tips for keeping your travels cheap? Let me know below!