Booking a quick weekend break is the best way to tick another destination off your bucket list without a) breaking the bank and b) using any of your annual leave allowance. They also make great fillers for in-between your more lengthy, mid to long haul holidays.
Having just returned from a cheap weekend break myself, here are my 10 top tips for how to plan your next cheap weekend break.
Booking your flights in advance of when you want to go is the best way to snap up a great deal. The best way to do this is to spend some time searching on Skyscanner. You can use the Explore page to find the best deals and set up price alerts in-case they drop. We booked our flights for Dublin three months in advance which meant we found them for £50 return per person, and they were good flight times. Bargain!
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 way nicer than booking a generic city hotel. We booked an Airbnb in the heart of Dublin for our cheap weekend break, which totalled £45 per person for one night. Bargain number two!
If you book an Airbnb you might get lucky as hosts often send out tons of tips and info for what to do in the local area, including discounted tickets for attractions. If not, don’t be afraid to reach out. And the same applies for if you’re staying in a hotel. The reception or concierge desk will be happy to help! This is a great way to get a feel for the area and save a few pennies whilst you’re there.
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. So use that information! And again, don’t be afraid to ask for extra tips and recommendations.
Now you know what you want to see and do, it’s time to get it booked. Sometimes it can pay off to arrive and book tickets on the day, but for certain places this really isn’t a good idea at the risk of them selling out. Instead, book tickets for attractions a few weeks ahead of your trip for peace of mind. This way you might be able to snap up a better deal online anyway.
Chances are you might not be able to squeeze everything into your weekend break, but that doesn’t mean you can’t tick off a few of those bucket list adventures. The best way to do this is to map it all out on Google My Maps. If you’re not familiar with this travel tool, then read this post. It’s a game changer.
There’s no point in planning to spend the morning on one side of the city and the afternoon on the other side. It’ll probably cost you a fair bit just to go from A to B. Instead, be smart with your planning and make sure that you can walk to as many places as possible to save money on transport. As I mentioned above, using your map at this point is ideal because you can see what’s nearby.
Can you get a lift from a friend? Or maybe you can 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. This is often cheaper than getting a train, unless you live in London and have a travel card.
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. This is what we did for Dublin and it cost £6 per person to get an extra bag and priority boarding with Ryanair. It’s annoying, but still cheaper than paying for a 15kg+ suitcase.
Last but not least, do a bit of research on where you can grab some cheap eats during your trip. This is something you can easily find out with a quick Google. To save even more money, you can always pop to a supermarket for breakfast and lunch supplies on the go and take advantage of your rented apartment’s cooking facilities for dinner. Even doing this for just one meal during the trip will save you roughly £30 on a meal out.
Do you have any cheap breaks planned? What are your top tips for keeping the cost down?