PICTURE THIS…sitting with your friends, pondering the idea of a perfect weekend getaway to Athens or a week tanning it up in sunny Barcelona, only to have the dark cloud of expense looming above your heads.

Who says a cheeky trip away has to blow the budget? It will I admit, take a little more time to find the loopholes- but I can categorically say it is time well spent. And will leave you more money (and time) to spend supping cocktails!

Whilst it is easier to go through a travel agent and get a package deal, it is in no way the cheapest. My best friend and I visited three countries (four cities) in 12 days for £319 with flights and a minimum of 4* accommodation. Had we gone through a travel agent, we would’ve been looking at just over a grand for the entire trip…. YIKES.

Hopefully these tips will awaken the wanderlust in you and inspire you to book your dream holiday.

Okay, first things first… we need some flights to actually get you to your destination. My personal favourite is SKYSCANNER which is an online comparison website that lets you know the cheapest airlines to fly with on your chosen dates. One of the best features is that you are able to look at the month as a whole and it will show you the cheapest and most expensive times to fly which is a huge benefit.

With airports like Cardiff International offering more flight destinations through airlines like FLYBE, it is getting easier to fly from Wales. And if you don't have to add the extra expense of an airport transfer to an English airport, your flight price won't be compromised which is always a bonus!

Having recently jetted off to Paris for a last-minute trip, I only paid £68 for return flights with FlyBe from Cardiff International Airport- which meant more money for croissants and Disneyland Paris gifts from myself to myself.

Accommodation can prove difficult, but who says you should compromise luxury for budget. ‘Airbnb’ and ‘Secret Escapes’ proved to be the best choice for our European trip but it also worth checking ‘LastMinute.com’ and ‘Trip Advisor.’

‘Secret Escapes’ hides your hotel from you until you have confirmed your room, however, it gives you the “star” rating and the location so gather all the information you have, pop it into google and VOILA! You can pretty much always work out what hotel it will be. Yes, we’ve all heard horror stories of ‘Airbnb’ trips gone wrong but the best advice I could give is always choose a place that has great (and multiple) reviews.

TOP TIPS

  • If you’re a student, take your student card with you because it does help! (a 40-euro ticket to see all the monuments in Athens is free to students living in Europe).
  • Under 25? Get discounts off all public transport which will seem daunting at first but trust me, if I can do it, you can do it!
  • Under 26? Use STA and take advantage of their ‘young people’ discounts.
  • If it is just a weekend break you’re planning, go from Thursday to Monday and you will get a better deal.
  • Destinations will be significantly busier during July and August, and these are the most expensive times to travel. I would suggest looking at end of May to end of July OR the beginning ofSeptember- still incredibly popular, but you’re looking at pretty much half the price.
  • GROUPON is a great site to use to get a package deal on a budget, and you can often find discounts to get even more money off.
  • Make friends with the internet, and don’t book until you’re sure you’ve got the best deal!

PHOTO CREDIT – ADAM MORAN @amomentintimephotography_93

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