I always say travel is possible for everyone. It’s not always easy, I get that, especially when funds are limited, but there are always ways to make travel more affordable and often places to explore right on your doorstep. This post focuses on how to find holidays in Europe for less than £250, without a travel agent and all their extra fees! Please note: this is written for those based in Europe already. You can however, follow the same steps no matter where you are in the world: it’s just likely that different destinations will show up, depending on where you’re based! So, are we ready to go holiday hunting?! Alright then…
PART 1: Head over to Skyscanner
This is a platform you’ve probably all heard of, if not already using it, but it’s honestly something I couldn’t live without and soon: you won’t be able to either! Once you’re on here, you’ll see a page that looks like this:
STEP 1: Working on the boxes from left to right, first select the airport you want to fly from, or if this doesn’t matter to you, you can select the country you will be flying from. (It depends whether you want things super close or not. For me for example, my closest airport is Birmingham. You can get some great flight deals from here, but they also have their set links, so if I’m looking to broaden my options, I’ll search from maybe Bristol or London which are also not too bad for me and just weigh up all my options.) If you select a country search, you’ll then get to review the prices from different prices depending on different airports you fly from. For this example, I’m going to show you from our capital city, London.
STEP 2: Where it says ‘to’ you then don’t want to put anything. By doing this you’ll see a little button that comes up. This says: “Can’t decide where? Click here to search Everywhere.”
STEP 3: On Depart Date, select ‘Whole Month’ in the top right hand corner and pick the month you’re looking to go on holiday in, doing the same then for the month you want to return in (which is likely to be the same one!) From here, you’re then ready to hit ‘search!’
It’s probably useful to mention here, that in terms of the best time to book and how far in advance, this will vary depending on where you’re going. The more you book this way, the better you’ll have an idea of prices, so for me: I’ll go on, have a look and if I see a really good deal, I’ll book it. If I think it has a chance of going down, I’ll hold off. Typically I book my flights about 3 months before. You may think booking the longest in advance will make it the cheapest, but actually, this is not always the case.
STEP 4: After this you’ll then find a list of countries and prices. For example, this is what’s shown up for my search:
Yours should look a little like that. The list shows the cheapest to most expensive destinations to fly from so as you keep scrolling down, you’ll seen the prices rise. When you click on the different countries, you’ll then also see a breakdown of the places you can stay within that and the prices for each one. It’s worth having a good look through to weigh up your different options. You can click back and forth, this is the fun part because you start to see how many different places are at your fingertips!
STEP 5: Once you’ve clicked on the destination within the country, you’ll then see the prices for the different days you’re flying from. This is great because you can find the cheapest times to fly. Take this for example, this is London to Verona and if I select to go from 1st – 5th (for four nights), that will cost £50. It’s slightly more than other options, but trust me: I’m showing you this one in particular for a reason… this is a trip I did with Luke a couple of years ago, for a Multi-Destination Italy Hop of Verona, Venice and Lake Garda. You can see more on that here. Another alternative would be to fly to Venice which – on those same dates- costs just £32 from London.
Please note: just because somewhere says a price here, it doesn’t mean that’s the definite final price. You then need to click through for ‘show flights’ as sometimes the price can actually change. (It may be that that price is with a bad airline or bad flight times which would therefore not be suitable) As you’ll see as you read down below, sometimes you’ll also find the prices are actually cheaper than you see on here which is a massive win!
STEP 6: Once you’re through to the flight page, you can then select the times, prices and airlines that you’re happiest with. You can use filters to better find what you want, but automatically, the best deals will show up at the top for you so you can easily compare. It sounds like a long process but trust me, it’s quite simple really. The page should look a little bit like this:
Once you know the flights you’re working with, just click the green ‘select’ button and it will take you through to payment. After that, you can then book your accommodation to match and you’ll be -very nearly- good to go! For the purpose of this example (and showing you can really find holidays in Europe for less than £250!), I’ve selected the following flights. This would give you four nights and four full days which is perfect for matching the Verona, Venice & Lake Garda Travel Itinerary I’ve recommended above. BUDGET USED SO FAR: £47.
PART 2: Next Up, visit Booking.com
I recommend booking.com as that’s what I use but there are plenty of other providers. Air B&B would be my next recommendation after that because a great way to make a holiday more affordable is to stay in an apartment where you can buy in local food and make it yourself at your new ‘home’. All you need is a good search facility for different hotels. So if you’re using booking.com:
STEP 1: Type in your destination, pop in your check in and out date that match the flights you’ve already just found, make sure the number of adults and rooms is correct, then hit ‘search.’
STEP 2: On the left hand side, you’ll see a filter to show up those that fit in your budget, fit your location preference, fit your meal preference (so breakfast included, all inclusive, self catering etc), fit your property type (apartment, bed and breakfast, hotel etc) and so much more. This helps to narrow down the choices for you significantly, which still giving you a great selection to scroll through and see what takes your fancy!
Alternatively you can leave all these filters blank, instead just filtering on their top bar by the sites top picks, filtering on price, filtering on review score & price, etc, or what I like to do is click those three dots at the end to then filter by distance from the city, because -when I’m looking for a city break in particular- this is key. Better yet, you can use both filter systems to find the perfect mix!
WARNING: If this sounds complicated, please don’t be put off because it’s really not. Have a play around with it and you’ll soon see just how easy (and actually pretty fun!) it is. The search page looks a little like this:
STEP 3: Once you’ve had a good mooch through the hotels, clicking on each one for more information and pictures etc, you’ll be ready to book. Most hotels and apartments have options for free cancellation which is useful, or if you want to pay in full up front, often you’ll get a reduced rate for this.
For the purpose of this example, I’ve selected the Filarmonico Appartments, for £293 (works out at £36.62 per night per person) and splitting the cost between the standard two travellers this hotel is created for, it costs £146.50 each. The great thing about staying here, is it’s an apartment which cuts costs as you can cook yourself to save money if you wish. It also has 9.4 rating for Value for Money, is less than 200 yards from the city centre (putting it in the perfect location!) and has 9.6 overall reviews. By booking this way you not only save money but have far more control over where you go and understanding exactly how good it is!
If you chose here, it would make the total cost of flights and four nights accommodation just £193.50 per person. This is well below the £250 budget, meaning you can now add £56.50 towards your spending money for the trip and also follow this incredible itinerary if you wish! (It’s kind of like three trips in one!)
As I mentioned, there are also far cheaper alternatives. For example, on that same week, you could also do a TOTAL trip cost, including flights, accommodation and food/ drink for under £250. Don’t believe me? Here’s an example:
3 Nights In Palma: Flights: £16 (2nd – 5th) / Accommodation: £316 = £158 each. TOTAL COST: £174 per person
This then leaves £74 per person for food and drink for three nights, which is more than enough because by picking an apartment: you have the facilities to buy in as much food and drink as you want and have it all there! Job done!
I really hope this helps you see that actually, this beautiful world we live in is well within reach. There are plenty of ways to find affordable holidays, not only in Europe but also further afield. If you’re looking to save more to create more options, you may find this post valuable: The Ultimate Six Month Saving Plan: Getting You Across The Globe. Happy traveling!