Europe, Travel

We have recently come back from our first trip to Amsterdam and wow, what a fabulous place. I was quick to see why this continues to be the up and coming European destination. While the main focus of our trip
was to attend the video conference event VidCon we had some time to explore the city. 

It therefore seemed only fitting that we put together our guide of how to visit Amsterdam on a budget;

Travel Insurance – £10

Before you go anywhere you’re going to need travel insurance. Travel insurance covers you for small things such as loss of baggage or larger things such as illness of death abroad.

Whilst it isn’t compulsory I personally wouldn’t go anywhere outside of the UK without it. I have travel insurance as part of a service with my bank. If you don’t have travel insurance already then I recommend using a comparison service such as Go Compare to find the cheapest / most suitable insurance policy for your needs.

For the purposes of this study let’s say that you don’t have travel insurance but you manage to pick up an annual worldwide travel insurance policy for £10.

 

Airport Parking – £7.50

The cost of airport parking, or any parking for that matter usually frustrates me. However, our three nights of parking at Manchester Airport that we booked through APH parking didn’t seem that bad at all. In fact it came in at just £15.00 – which made it £7.50 each for the two of us.

How To Visit Amsterdam on a budget


Flight – £85.48

We was rather specific as to when we wanted to visit Amsterdam, due to the reason in which we was travelling – VidCon. Which meant that despite booking four months in advance, the cost of travel was still rather high at £85.48 return each.

If you’re more flexible as to when you visit then return flights can be purchased for more than half that price.

 

Internal Travel – €26 / £22.04

We purchased this ticket from the rail ticketing desk inside the airport that gave us three days of unlimited travel on all trams, buses, metros and ferries within a vast number of stations within the city. 

This cost €26 euro per person, and we certainly got our money’s worth. The public transport in Amsterdam is second-to-none and by far the easiest, cheapest, and best way to get around the city. 



Hotel – €220.82 / £187.20

We splashed out on accommodation in Amsterdam. Being our first trip and us both doing different things, we wanted to be sure that we both benefited from easy access to the places which we would be visiting.

While the hotel was fantastic, it’s unlikely we’d stay somewhere quite so pricy in the future.


Attractions – €73.15 / £70.90 (Includes Transport!)

Purchasing an I Amsterdam card provides you with all of the following. This also covers your public transport which means you only need one or the other… 


At the time of writing the card currently costs the following;


This in my opinion is an absolute steal, just be sure the free museums that are on offer are the ones you actually want to visit. Otherwise, maybe it’s not so much of a steal…

Food – £50

Despite shopping at the supermarket for the majority of the time Amsterdam certainly wasn’t the cheapest place to eat. I made a video highlight how much some common items cost. 


Souvenirs – £0

As always we opt not to purchase souvenirs. Our trip to Amsterdam on a budget was no different. As with all of our budget trips we instead put the money we would have spent on another trip, and the chance to make even more memories.


An so, there we have it, my complete guide to how to visit Amsterdam on a budget. If you are planning a trip to Amsterdam, or have recently come back then be sure to let me know in the comments where you stayed, what you did, and if you feel comfortable enough, how much it cost you.

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Europe, Travel
I’ve been craving a city break since the start of the year. So when I spotted some bargain sailings to Dublin, Ireland I just had to book. Now I’m back I’m ready to share just how I managed to visit the amazingly vibrant and historic city that is Dublin on a budget.

This Dublin on a budget travel breakdown comes to less than £186 per person. Based on two sharing. It includes absolutely everything from travel insurance through to port parking. So if you’re looking for a city break that doesn’t break the bank then let’s talk…

Travel Insurance – £10

Before you go anywhere you’re going to need travel insurance. Travel insurance covers you for small things such as loss of baggage or larger things such as illness of death abroad.

Whilst it isn’t compulsory I personally wouldn’t go anywhere outside of the UK without it. I have travel insurance as part of a service with my bank. If you don’t have travel insurance already then I recommend using a comparison service such as Go Compare to find the cheapest / most suitable insurance policy for your needs.

For the purposes of this study let’s say that you don’t have travel insurance but you manage to pick up an annual worldwide travel insurance policy for £10.

 

Port Parking – £14

This hurts. Like so much!

My Dublin on a budget hit a rather large roadblock thanks to the Stena Line park and ride at Holyhead port. This is priced at £7 per day and £35 for the week. It just about worked out cheaper to pay a daily rate rather than for the week. Split between the two of us this came in at £14 each.

That’s the same price as 1.4 nights in our hostel or going return to Dublin with the promotion Stena Line was offering more than 3.5 times.

 

Ferry – £4

Stena Line was running a promotion for St Patrick’s day that made fares from Holyhead as foot passengers just £2 per person, each way.

An absolute bargain, and from what I’ve been told these and similar promotions run throughout the year so it’s well worth keeping tabs on their website for future promotional offers.


If you don’t have access to a ferry port, then there are many flights from around the world direct to Dublin. Prices from the UK start from as little as £12 return.

Transfers – €5 / £4.27

For just €5 return, Stena Line also provided us with a bus service from Dublin port into the city centre. It takes around 20 minutes and times coincide with ferry times.

If you’re travelling by plane then transfer alternatives include the Airlink747 – The Dublin on a budget choice, or a taxi.

 

Hostel – €38.40 / £32.82

We booked this budget trip to Dublin rather last minute. This meant that accommodation availability was limited, this was reflected in the price.

The Generator Hostel, Dublin provides fantastic facilities
However, we wasn’t about to let this ruin the prospect of our Dublin on a budget trip. Instead we opted to look at staying in a hostels. After much debating we chose the Generator Hostel. Situated slightly north of the city centre, we managed to save around 75% when compared to a basic two-star hotel.



Attractions – €83 / £70.90

A city break is all about the sights of the city and having The Dublin Pass made doing so simple, easy and affordable. The three day pass provides you with;

Completely free airport transfers

Free hop on, hop off bus tour

Free entry to over 25 of Dublin’s most popular attractions, slights and landmarks. Including Guinness Store House, Jameson Distillery, Dublin Zoo, Aviva Stadium, National Wax Museum, The Little Museum of Dublin, Christ Church Cathedral and many more… 

Complimentary fast track entry, allowing you to skip the queues.

The pass also comes with a free guide book, to assist you in planning your trip around the city. Click here, to see the full list of places you can visit with The Dublin Pass.


Also, be sure to check out my guide on my personal favourite 7 things to do in Dublin – it includes a map to really help you plan your time accordingly.

Food – £50

Dublin, like many places can be as cheap or as expensive as you make it. Unfortunatly the hostel didn’t provide a kitchen, but that didn’t stop us.

We opted to purchase pastries from the local supermarket for breakfast (€2). We’d use our student card to get a fantastic deal on lunch at a local establishment (€6) and then opt for a basic evening meal checking the likes of TripAdvisor for a place in budget with great reviews (€10).


Souvenirs – £0

As always we opt not to purchase souvenirs. As with all of our budget trips we instead put the money we would have spent on another trip, and the chance to make even more memories.


An so, there we have it, my complete guide to how to visit Dublin on a budget. If you are planning a trip to Dublin, or have recently come back then be sure to let me know in the comments where you stayed, what you did, and if you feel comfortable enough, how much it cost you.

2

America, Travel
Seeing a vast majority of the major attractions in New York City can mean spending a large amount of your budget on tickets.

However, there’s something for everyone in this magnificently beautiful city that doesn’t have to cost a cent. Which is why I dedicate todays post to my top ten free things to do in New York City.  

1. Central Park


Designed in the 1860’s to boost real-estate value uptown. Central Park is without a doubt the most famous park in the world. A must see destination on your trip to New York City and better yet, completely free.


Spread across 843 acres this park includes everything from rolling meadows to an outdoor theatre right through to a reservoir.

Central Park is my favourite free thing to do in New York City  

2. High Line

The high line is a fantastic example of urban renewal. Sitting 30ft above the city on an abandoned rail line, this attraction is now one of New York’s most loved outdoor spaces.

The high line walk connects the meatpacking district with the Chelsea galleries, making it the perfect stop for a picnic as you wizz around the city.

The High Line is a fantastic free place to visit in New York City  

3. Staten Island Ferry

This has to be one of my favourite travel hacks of all time. Everyone wants to see the world famous Statue of Liberty but with ferry tours starting at $12 the costs can soon stack up. Instead take the commuter route with the Staten Island Ferry.

The route cuts across New York Harbour carrying up to 19 million passengers a year and is completely free.

Free transport in New York how is this possible?  

4. Grand Central Terminal

On the subject of transport. Let’s talk about another commuter hotspot, Grand Central Terminal. With over 750,000 commuters pacing the floors of it’s 44 platforms every single day there’s no where quite like Grand Central Terminal.

Filled with everything from an Oyster Bar to an old fashioned shoe shine you’re free to wonder the vast majority of the terminal without a train ticket.

Grand Central Terminal is another fantastic commuter hotspot.  

5. Brooklyn Bridge

The iconic Brooklyn Bridge is over 1,500 foot long suspended over the East River it’s designed to connect Manhattan to Brooklyn. Completed in 1883, it’s estimated that 27 people died during it’s construction.

To take a stroll across this iconic bridge start at Centre Street near the City Hall. Along you’re walk you’ll be able to take in great views of theManhattan skyline, Statue of Liberty and Governors Island.

The Brooklyn bridge is perfect for a stroll    

6. Brooklyn Brewery

The Brooklyn Brewery was established in 1988 by Steve Hindy and Tom Potter. At a time where Brooklyn was the centre of the beer brewing industry.

Almost thirty years on and the brewery still stands strong offering completely free tours on a weekend. This gives you a fantastic chance to explore the history and an insight into the brewing industry.

If you’re looking go midweek the tour will cost $20 and includes a beer tasting session.

Brooklyn Brewery offers fantastic free tours of their facilities  

7. Governors Island

Governors Island is a 172 acre island in the heart of New York Harbour that’s open to the public during the summer months. Whilst the island is just 800 yards away from lower Manhattan you’re still going to need to take the ferry from the Battery Maritime Building in the financial district.

The service is half hourly and the ride takes approximately 7 minutes. After safely arriving on Governors Island you can cycle around it’s 2.2 mile bike path, have a picnic in the picnic area. Take in sights at the Admirals house or even play a round of mini golf.

 
Governor's Island is a fantastic little gem in New York City
 

8. New York Public Library

Inside the Stephen A Schwarzman Building you’ll find the New York Public Library. At more than 100 years old this jaw-dropping building is somewhere not to be missed. Situated east of Times Square and fronted by marble lions named Patience and Fortitude.

The library plays host to more than 430,000 old maps and has a reading room designed for more than 500 guests. You are free to wonder the library on your own or take part in a tour hosted Monday to Saturday at either 11am or 2pm.

 
The New York Public Library is a fantastic and completely free place to visit

 

9. Socrates Sculpture Park

In 1986, American sculptor Mark di Suvero created Socrates Sculpture Park on an abandoned landfill and illegal dumpsite in Long Island City.

Over thirty years later, and this four acre site is now the largest outdoor space in New York City dedicated to exhibiting large-scale sculptures. Highlights of the park include a piano harp that’s been transformed into a beehive as well as a self-sustaining forest garden.

Socrates Sculpture Park  

10. The Fashion Institute of Technology

While many museums offer free or pay as you feel times. Not all of us are flexible enough to be able to visit at those times.

Fortunately, the museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology is free year-round.With more than 4,000 pairs of shoes and 50,000 pieces of clothing and accessories there’s plenty to see. The museum plays host to a mix of both permanent and rotating exhibits from designers including Dior and Chanel.  

 

There we have it, my top ten free things to do in New York City. As always I’d love to know you’re favourite things to do in the big apple. In the meantime, feel free to use the map I’ve created. It has every location I’ve spoken about pinned, allowing you to map out your trip itinerary with ease…

 

In the meantime, if you enjoy seeing the sights that America has to offer on a budget, then be sure to check out my other posts.

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Travel, Travel

Part of travelling frugally can often mean long layovers in airports. However, gone are the days where you’re confined to an airport terminal. In fact in many countries (subject to visa requirements) you’re actually able to embark on a completely free tour.

By planning your trip in advance, you just might be able to take advantage of one of these six completely free airport city tours available. Not only is this a great way to pass some time before your connecting flight, it’s also a fantastic way to see a small part of a city in the meantime.

 

Singapore – Singapore Changi Airport

If your layover is five and a half hours or longer then you can sign up for one of two tours that Singapore Changi offers. These include a Heritage Tour or City Sights Tour of Singapore. Tours are completely free and run throughout the day however it’s important that you register ahead to time to ensure your spot.

 Singapore Changi Airport not only offers free city airport tours but free cinema showings too

However, free airport tours aren’t the only benefit of a long layover at Singapore Changi Airport. That’s because the airport also play hosts to a number of 24 hour free movie theatres and five gardens – including a butterfly garden. The airport also has a free DIY art studio allowing you to try out the once popular art form of woodblock rubbing.

 

Suddenly a long layover in Singapore doesn’t sound so boring after all.

 

Japan – Tokyo Narita Airport

If you’re lucky enough to have a layover of more than five hours in Tokyo’s Narita Airport. Then you can take one of five different three-hour tours. The tours include visiting the museum of aeronautical sciences, a nature work, a visit to the Shinso-Ji temple and a trip to the local shopping outlet.

The shinsho-ji temple is a fantastic place to visit on a free airport city tour
Despite the tour being free some will require the cost of public transport and entry fees. Registration for these airport city tours can be done in one of two ways.

You can sign up in person at the Narita Transit Tourism Counter inside both terminal one or two however the desk is only open from 9am until 12 midday alternatively you can sign up in advance online.

 

Utah – Salt Lake City Intl Airport

If you have a layover of more than two hours in Utah’s Salt Lake City airport then you can sign up for a free tour of the Temple Square.

Take a free city airport tour to Temple Square
This particular airport city tour leaves every hour between the hours of 11am and 4pm. To register for the tour simply visit the information desk in terminal one or two.

 

Taiwan – Taoyuan International Airport

For this particular airport city tour you need to be unlucky lucky enough to be left with at least a seven hour layover. I’ll call you lucky for such a layover because you get to do so much in those seven hours on this particular tour.

Starting with a visit to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial hall, then moving onto the Taipei 101 tower, Sanxia, the Zushi temple and more.

An airport city tour in Taiwan includes a trip ti Zushi temple
Due to the length of these tours there are only two a day. The first one leaves at 8.15am and the second one at 1.45pm. Each of the airport city tours provided are bookable upon arrival at the tourist service centre. Located in the arrivals lobby of both terminal one and terminal two.

 

Qatar – Doha International Airport

Without a doubt the best airport I have ever been to. Helen and I had a very short transfer here when travelling to and from Thailand in 2016. Which unfortunatly meant we didn’t get to explore more of the amazing country that is Qatar.

Free airport city tours aren't the only benefit of a long layover in Doha
However, if you’re left with a transfer of more than five hours then register at the Doha City Tour desk. Located between the departures board and the Chanel / Dior duty-free shop. Tours are available between the hours of 4am and 7pm. They visit the Museum of Islamic art (except Tuesdays), the Souq Waqif, the Pearl-Qatar and the Katara Cultural Village.

 

Turkey – Ataturk International Airport

Before I begin explaining the tour of Istanbul leaving from Ataturk International Airport there are somethings to note. Firstly, you need to be flying with Turkish Airlines to be eligible for the tour. Second, in-transit visa’s have changed in a lot in Turkey recently. So be sure to check whether you need an in-transit visit to take part on the tour.

 

There are three tours leaving Ataturk International Airport. Each require a minimum layover time of six hours. The airport city tours on offer include cultural highlights such as the Blue Mosque, Hippodrome Square and Aya Triada Church.

an airport city tour in Turkey includes a trip to the blue mosque
The tours leave twice daily once at 9am and again at 12 midday. You’ll need to arrive and register for the tour at least half an hour before it starts. Registration takes place at the hotel desk in the international arrival hall.


 

Let me know in the comments if you have previously been on / or are planning on going on any one of these airport city tours. Alternatively if you know of a free airport tour that we’ve not listed? Let me know in the comments as I’d love to keep this list as up to date as possible.

2

Travel, UK

If you’re planning a UK break-away this year then Brighton may very well be on your list. In 2016, my girlfriend Helen and I spent a couple of days in Brighton and had a wonderful time.

 

I never really believed in holidaying in the UK (I blame my parents for spoiling me with trips abroad as a child). However, Brighton was the first place where I actually felt as though I was truly on holiday.

 

If you’re looking for a UK getaway this year then let me share with you this fantastic list of free things to do in Brighton.


Feel free to use the interactive embedded map above to plan your trip’s itinerary. I’ve highlighted every location I talk about in this post to try and make it as simple and straight forward as possible.
 

1. Brighton Pier

Brighton Pier opened in 1899 and up until 2000 was known as Palace Pier (only renamed after being purchased by the Noble organisation). This victorian pier is packed with various food and drink outlets, fairground attractions, bars, restaurants and even an arcade.

 

At 1,760 foot long the pier plays host to 85 miles of wooden planking. With impressive statistics like that it’s no wonder it won an award for being ‘pier of the year’. Over the years the pier has played host to many TV shows and movie sets including Doctor Who and The Carry On series. Open all year round and only closing on Christmas Day it’s the one location you can count on being open regardless of the season.

 

During our time in Brighton Helen and I went to the pier to watch the sunset. We sat on the free to rent deckchairs for hours. It was a fantastic place to take photographs, and chat about life (and everything in-between)

 

2. The Royal Pavilion Garden

The Royal Pavilion Garden is one of only a few fully restored regency gardens in the country. Having been restored in 1820 by John Nash. Since then it’s been maintained under organic guidelines. With garden volunteers use natural planting techniques and organic compost to encourage the return of wildlife to the centre of Brighton. The beauty of the Royal Pavilion Garden is how it changes with the seasons. In early spring you can expect to see snowdrops and wild daffodils. Whilst in Autumn, strawberry trees and sunflowers.

The Royal Pavilion Garden is a fantastic free thing to do in Brighton


If you’re looking to save money on food during your trip then the Royal Pavilion Gardens is the perfect spot for a picnic. You can also listen to live music being played most Monday afternoons.

 

3. Hove Museum & Art Gallery

Brighton plays host to many museums, both free and paid. However, my personal favourite has to be the family friendly Hove Museum & Art Gallery. Regardless of your age, you’ll find something for everyone at this free to enter interactive toy gallery. Designed with the theme of a wizard’s attic, highlights include a mock up of the Wizard’s workshop for broken toys and a bedroom split by time (half modern-day and half victorian).

 

The museum also includes two contemporary craft galleries. The main craft gallery showcases start objects from the museums collection and introduces some of the key craft pioneers of the 20th century. The second gallery explores the process of craft making. The role in which Brighton played in the birth of cinema here in the UK is celebrated in the film gallery with working optical toys, magic lanterns and cameras.

 

The gallery features the pioneering Hove film-makers of the 1890s and 1900s including footage of their films. The museum is open through-out the week, however it’s closed on Wednesdays and only opens for a couple of hours in the afternoon on a Sunday. For more detailed visiting hours be sure to check the website before you travel.  

 

4. The Lanes

The Lanes, are known as a collection of narrow lanes within the city centre of Brighton. Famous for their small often independent shops including several antique boutiques with narrow alleyways. Just because The Lanes are made up of shops and restaurants doesn’t mean this has to cost you money.

 

Helen and I spent many hours simply taking in the architectural sights, rummaging around independent stores and getting lost. You’ll often find buskers and live performers livening up the streets, making The Lanes a fantastic place to experience the most of Brighton’s atmosphere. It’s no wonder it made it number three on Trip Advisors list of top things to do in Brighton, as voted for by the public.


The lanes is a fantastic free thing to do in Brighton
The Lanes is also home to the flagship Choccywoccydoodah store and cafe. This was part of a fly-the-wall TV show and is renounced for it’s super creative window displays attracting crowds of visitors along with their amazing cakes which are apiece of art in themselves. You’ll find Choccywoccydoodah’s second store in Carnaby, London.

 

5. Devil’s Dyke

Devil’s Dyke is last on my list of the top five free things to do in Brighton. However, that doesn’t mean to say it’s last all together. In fact for many of the adventurous type this is likely to be number one. To experience Devil’s Dyke you’re going to be leaving the city centre of Brighton. If you have a car then parking is £2 all day and free for national trust members.

 

If you’re looking to use public transport then bus number 77 leaves the Pier multiple times a day, seven days a week. This short journey is certainly going to be worth your time. That’s because Devil’s Dyke is home to some of the most stunning views of the British landscape and home to the deepest and widest dry valley in Britain. You don’t just have to enjoy Devil’s Dyke on foot. A network of bridleways criss-cross the estate offering great cycling for both notice and more experienced cyclists.

 

Alternatively, if you’re looking for something a little different Devil’s Dyke is also fantastic for kite flying and is known as one of Europe’s finest sites for paragliding and hand gliding.

 

There we have it, my top five free things to do in Brighton. Visit my other travel post to learn more about how we had a budget trip to Brighton. Be sure to leave me a comment with you’re favourite free things to do whilst in Brighton.

0

Travel, Travel
 Money can be one of the largest expenses we face when travelling, whether it's for a break in the UK or at the other side of the world. So use my hints and tips to find out how you can save money on food when you travel.

When you love travel and food as much as we do it’s easy for things to become both unhealthy and expensive very quickly.

Much like anyone else when we’re travelling we tend to give ourselves that little bit a lot more leeway when it comes to what we eat. However, indulging on the local cuisine is one of the best ways to experience your destination, so what is one to do?  

Here’s how I suggest you can save money on food while you travel…

 

Plan Ahead

Planning your meals in advance can sound boring, but if you know there’s a certain restaurant you want to visit you can adjust your travel budget accordingly, look at ways to reduce your food budget on the other days or even look for coupons or special discount days.

I use TripAdvisor a lot to find the best restaurants and local cuisine as I’m able to see where the restaurant is based, see photos and a sample of the menu and even look at what price bracket the restaurant fits into. This gets me the best meal for my money.  

 

Take Advantage Of Your Hotel

If you’re staying in a hotel, they’ll often offer free buffet breakfasts. Fill up here with a large portion of protein and carbs and you can afford to skip lunch and just have dinner. Depending on the hotel you’re staying at the perks won’t end at breakfast.

How to save money on food when you travel? Make the most of the free hotel breakfast!
Fruit bowls and bottles of water are available on arrival and often replenished by the cleaners on a daily basis which is absolutely perfect for saving money if you’re heading out for the day.

Be sure to make the most of your hotel concierges too. They’ll often know the best local deals for restaurants, so be sure to ask for their recommendations. Guests of certain hotel chains may get a discount, or they may have coupon books available. 

 

Get Accommodation With A Kitchen

Taking advantage of the local cuisine doesn’t start and finish in the restaurant. One of the biggest ways we saved money on our budget trip to Gran Canaria was by staying in an apartment with a kitchen and eating both breakfast and lunch there.

This is particularly great for young families. Kids can be fussy eaters especially abroad so being able to offer them some home comforts such as cereal or toast for breakfast and a sandwich for lunch can reduce arguments in them wasting expensive food in a restaurant and save you some serious cash.

Accommodation with a kitchen can come in various forms such as an apartment from Airbnb, a hotel apartment or even a villa. With various budgets and accommodation styles it’s safe to say there’s a form of accommodation with a kitchen for everyone.  

Bring A Water Bottle

With the liquid ban in airports getting a drink in the most expensive place on earth (or so it can often seem) which is why I now always travel with a water bottle.

How to save money on food when you travel - get a waterbottle!
My personal water bottle of choice is the Camelbak Eddy (in light blue). Your water bottle of choice doesn’t need to be fancy, just leak free. Fill it up whenever you see an available drinking fountain and save yourself some serious $$$.

 

Find Daily Deals

If your budget rules then finding daily deals can be a way of really making the most of it. This isn’t going to apply to every destination, but if you’re visiting large cities then check out sites such as Groupon and Living Social for limited time discounts on meals in restaurants.

When we were in New York, I found a Groupon for a meal at a new up and coming restaurant that was using Groupon to promote their launch. We managed to have a two course meal with wine for just $30 saving us around 50% when compared to other similar meals from restaurants in the area.  

 

Eat Where & What The Locals Eat

Whilst in Thailand we saved huge amounts of cash whilst eating from street vendors. The whole experience was authentic and the food was amazing. Like many we were sceptical at first but opted to choose street vendors that already had lots of customers, especially locals. We took note of where the locals ate we also looked at what they ate.

Whilst Thailand boasts McDonalds, Starbucks and Subway the prices of these Western foods are very expensive when compared to local dishes. So even whilst eating in different places we’d always opt for local dishes that we’re around 75% cheaper than a meal from the western fast food places or wester restaurants (such as the Hard Rock Cafe) Moving this concept to the west think about eating away from major tourist attractions such as Times Square. You’ll often find the food better, the meal more authentic and cheaper too.

Take Advantage of Happy Hour Nowhere is this more true than in the USA where food and drinks prices can be discounted by up to 50% when compared to the regular set-menu. If you insist on eating out for dinner, then find out which restaurants offer a happy hour, look at the details and plan your day accordingly. This should allow you to be hungry during the hours of happy hour and gorge on a fantastic meal and some fantastic savings too!

The best way of finding restaurants and bars offering Happy Hours where you are visiting is by walking around the city, or hitting up a local Facebook group in advance.



I hope these great tips will help you keep well within budget on your next trip, wherever it might be. If you have any hints or tips on how to save money on food while you travel then be sure to let me know in the comments below.

 

0

Europe, Travel

Earlier this week my girlfriend Helen turned 25, and I surprised her by whisking her off to the airport and on a fantastic holiday.





We’ve not really been away since our trip to Thailand 10 months ago. In that time a lot has changed. It was safe to say we needed this trip to Gran Canaria on a budget.

So, if you’re looking for some winter sunshine read on…

Don’t forget to read up on how to create the perfect travel budget to ensure you maximise your savings on any holiday.  

Travel Insurance – £10

Before you go anywhere you’re going to need travel insurance. Travel insurance covers you for small things such as loss of baggage or much more major things such as illness of death abroad. Whilst it isn’t compulsory I personally wouldn’t go anywhere outside of the UK without it.

Helen and I both have travel insurance as part of a service with our bank. If you don’t have travel insurance already then I recommend using a comparison service such as Go Compare to find the cheapest / most suitable insurance policy for your needs. 

Airport Parking – £15

The cost of parking your car at an airport is always one that hits me hard!

We’ve previously travelled by train to the airport and by bus, to save ourselves a couple of pounds, the hassle has never been worth it. Especially after a long haul flight – you just want to get home.

The cost of parking at an airport varies drastically based on airport and time of year but with a couple of simple tricks you should be able to get four or five nights for around £25 for the entire car. Depending on how many people you travel with this could significantly reduce the cost per person.

I’d always recommend seeing how much you can save parking with Just Park. Either at someone’s home or at various retail or commercial points. I use it a lot myself to pre-book parking spaces at a reduced rate especially in big cities such as London.

Airport Food – £3.99

Due to the short travel time, and expensive food on our flight we opted for a meal deal at the WH Smiths within the airport. The food was much better than I’ve ever had on a budget airline and price was super reasonable too.  

Gran Canaria on a budget starts with budget food at the airport


Flight – £27

Yes, you did read that right. We managed to get flights from Leeds Bradford Airport direct to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria for just £27 each return and the dates weren’t limited.


We managed to keep our £27 flights, £27 by avoiding any hidden airline charges. These charges are never a great start to any holiday and can go a long way to completely blowing your budget.  

Transfers – £9.59

For our transfers from the airport to our accommodation (around a 30 minute drive) we used Hoppa. A service I’d not used before but I’d heard great things about.

Opting for a shared bus over a private taxi saved us £20 each however depending on the numbers your travelling with the amount will vary significantly. The desk was easy to find in the arrivals lounge and the bus ride was great. 

 

Hotel – £147.02

We managed to find a lovely self-catering apartment in a four star hotel for just £147.02 each. The bonus of the self-catering apartment was that it allowed us to save on our food, opting to eat breakfast and lunch in the apartment and only dining out for our evening meal.

With a supermarket 1 minute walk away, the beach 5 minutes and the main entertainment complex also 5 minutes away The Anamar Suites offered us everything we could imagine and more. Check out what a fun time we had in the newly renovated pool too!


four nights in a four star hotel in gran canaria still well within budget


Attractions – £6

Whilst there’s certainly plenty to do in Gran Canaria, we didn’t feel the need for it. This for us was simply four days to lay on a sun bed in the sunshine.


That meant we could keep our attractions budget to a minimum setting aside just £6 for a game of crazy golf on an evening.  

Food – £50

The food budget was simple. £10 each put towards a supermarket shop allowed us to buy enough supplies for 4 nights, this included cereal, milk and croissants for breakfast. Bread, butter, cheese and ham for lunch. Cans of premium beer, bottles of diet coke and crisps and biscuits to snack on.

Depending on your party numbers and circumstances you can flex the budget any which way you like here to offer up a variety of different options or choose to bring your own.

The only time we did eat out was on an evening. We budgeted £10 per evening and that was more than enough. Buffets line the streets in Playa Del Ingles and can be dined at for £6.50 per person leaving you room for a drink or desert. Even when we opted to splash out at a local tapas bar having read the reviews on TripAdvisor we still came within budget.

 

Souvenirs – £0

This one is simple, we didn’t buy any. There were loads of things we loved, but most of all we loved the memories we made and the photos we took. By choosing not to bring souvenirs back for ourselves and others we saved around £50 each – which is going towards our next holiday!  


I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing how we can make Gran Canaria on a budget a possibility. Be sure to let me know if you book a trip to Gran Canaria or how you maintain a budget whilst on a family holiday in the comments below…

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Travel, Travel

There is loads to do in London, even when you are on a budget. So go ahead and give your credit card a rest with these 10 fabulous and free things to do in London.

 

1. Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is both the residence and administrative headquarters of the reigning monarch, however, that’s not always been the case. The original Buckingham Palace was far more modest. Built as a townhouse for the Duck of Buckingham in 1703 and then purchased by George III in 1761.

The decision to upgrade from a house to a palace came when George III was succeeded by his son, George IV. In 1826, George IV managed to persuade Parliament to stretch the agreed renovation budget from a modest £150,000 to a whopping £450,000. He then appointed architect John Nash to create a palace fit for a king. The Palace we’ve come to know today is still very much a functioning building.

A trip to Buckingham palace is one of the great free things to do in London


Made up of 775 rooms including 19 state rooms, 240 bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms. Over 50,000 guests a year visit Buckingham Palace for state visits, royal ceremonies and garden parties. Whilst you can pay to visit inside a state room of Buckingham Palace, simply visiting the gates and watching such delights as the changing of the guard is completely free.

The changing of the guard takes place daily at 11.30am from April until the end of July and on alternate days for the rest of the year, weather permitting. The ceremony lasts approximately 45 minutes.  

2. Natural History Museum

Open daily, the Natural History Museum is a great place to visit for free in London. Featuring hundreds of exciting and interactive exhibits including the ever popular Dinosaurs gallery and mammals display – with the unforgettable model blue whale.

Be sure to go on a self-guided tour around the Darwin Centre Cocoon where you can see hundreds of fascinating specimens and look into labourites where scientists are at work.

A trip to the national history museum is one of the many great free things to do in London
The Museum offers a wide-ranging programme of temporary exhibitions and events, including chances to join experts in the Darwin Centre’s high-tech Attenborough Studio in topical discussions about science and nature.



3. Kyoto Garden

Hidden in Holland Park is the wonderfully beautiful and peaceful Kyoto Garden. The garden was opened in 1991 as a gift from Kyoto to commemorate the long friendship between Japan and Great Britain.

The garden has been carefully designed to accurately reflect the key traits of Japanese gardens. Interact with the Peacocks or simply have a picnic on the bench in this delightfully peaceful park in central London.
 

4. Tate Modern

The former Bankside Power Station on the side of the river Thames is now formally known as the Tate Modern. Britains national museum of both modern and contemporary art from around the world.

Even if you’ve visited Tate Modern previously, it’s worth going again as new exhibitions are constantly launching – see the Tate Modern website for full details.

A trip to the Tate Modern is one of the great free things to do in London
The tenth floor of the Tate Modern makes for a great budget alternative to the London Eye allowing you to capture the skyline of London and see how it’s changed over the years.
 

5. Harrods

Remember how I said that many of the greatest iconic London sights and things to do are free, well Harrods is certainly one of them… well… kind of.

A stroll around Harrods is one of the greatest free things to do in London
For over 160 years now, Harrods has been thee luxury shopping destination. Spread over seven floors and featuring over 300 departments dedicated to fashion, food and homeware. Harrods is an absolute must… even if (like me) you’re not that much of a shopper.

If all that shopping is going to make you hungry, choose from one of Harrods 27 restaurants including; Steakhouse, Pizzeria or Oyster bar.

6. Hyde Park

I like to think of Hyde Park as London’s version of the New York City Central Park. Covering over 350 acres and home to over 4,000 trees, a meadow, a lake and an ornamental flower garden it’s easy to forget you’re in central London.

Hyde Park is super functional, whether you’re a local Londoner or just visiting spend the day swimming, cycling and skating your way around and… If that’s not enough entertainment for one day there are also pitches for team games such as tennis, playgrounds for the children and even tracks for horse riding.

All that sport is likely to make you hungry, but of course Hyde Park has that covered with two restaurants – that is if you didn’t bring a long a picnic.  

7. British Museum

The British Museum plays host to over six-million visitors per year, and it’s easy to see why. With World-famous objects spanning over two million years of human history including; the Egyptian mummies and the Rosetta Stone.

In early 2003 the British Museum received a ten million pound grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund which allowed the museum to expand it’s innovative outreach, increase public engagement and transform the way it displays and cares for it’s collection.

British Museum is a great free thing to do in London
The museum is free to visit, open daily, and is the leading visitor attraction in the UK, an acclaim it’s held for over nine years.

   

8. Portobello Road Market

You’ll find the Portobello Road Market in the famous Notting Hill. Whilst there’s a street market six days a week, you’ll find the Saturday antiques market to be the most popular.

One of the greatest free things to do in London is visit Portobella Road Market


Since 1870 this narrow two mile road has played host to some highly established independent stores. Whether you fancy a bargain or not visiting Portobello Road Market is an absolute must!  
 

9. Sky Garden

Early in 2015 Sky Garden opened it’s doors for the very first time. Think of it a cross between Centre Parcs and an airport lounge in the centre of the hustle and bustle of the city.

155 metres above ground and open 7 days a week, the Sky Garden provides views across London and far beyond. The garden plays host to two bars and two premium restaurants. Whilst this is a free space to visit, but you’ll need to book in advance.

If like me you want to come here for a drink and to take in the views of the London Skyline then it’s important to remember that there’s a baggage scan and a ban on liquids so be sure to drink up and dispose before you visit.    

10. Science Museum

Last, but by no means least we have the Science Museum. Based in South Kensington. It was founded in 1857 and remains as one of the city’s major tourist attractions, attracting 3.3 million visitors annually.

The museum is open from 10am until 6pm daily (with the exception of the 24th – 26th December) and features a host of exhibitions and interactive galleries.

There are also opportunities to take part in additional exhibitions such as the simulator or IMAX experience however these are additional extras and will cost money (the price varies depending on the exhibition to learn more visit the website for the Science Museum)


There you have it, my list of the top ten free things to do in London. Think I’ve missed one? Disagree? As always let me know in the comments what you think.

 
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