Travel doesn’t have to be bank breaking. In 2018, the average Brit spent £3,418 on just one trip. This year, I have managed to visit 8 countries and have a getaway to a Scottish island in 5 dedicated trips. Let’s see how I managed it and at what price!
Before we go any further, all of these trips have been done using annual leave entitlement from work and I have not used any credit card rewards, paid to be part of membership schemes nor have I been paid to travel to these destinations or stay at these hotels in exchange for content. All prices are inclusive of VAT.
The only reward I used was when I redeemed a free night from Hotels.com in Luxembourg. This is a free rewards scheme were you receive a free night’s hotel stay for ever 10 nights you book through their site to the amount of your collected average nights.
I have also been very kindly gifted complimentary upgrades in a variety of hotels due to travelling off peak and/or stating our reason for travelling (such as birthdays and my wedding anniversary). Hotel prices are per person based on 2 people sharing.
All my trips have a £40 a day spending money budget. In the case of my Scandinavian/Baltic trip, I redistributed this to £60 a day in the 2 days I was in Oslo and spending £20 on the days I was travelling to Vilnius & Riga. I also didn’t spend exactly £40 per day I was away. For example, in the case of my trip to Luxembourg, where I was left with €30 which I put towards my budget for visiting Oslo.
How do I keep to my budget?
I try to have at least 1 night per trip where I buy local cured meats, cheese and bread to have with a nice local bottle of wine. It’s extra handy if the hotel room TV has a movie on in English.
In Sweden and Norway I knew the alcohol wasn’t going to be flowing freely. I bought 2 bottles of sparkling rosé at Duty Free in Edinburgh for £6.50 each to tide me over. However upon discovering that alcohol prices were not that bad at System Bolaget in Gothenburg, I indulged in another bottle of cheap fizz for 79 SEK to take to Oslo with me. Thankfully I did as prices were eye watering!
With regards to sights, I do my research to determine what I want to see and what I am willing to pay. In fact, majority of major sites are free to enter, with costs for access to temporary exhibitions or private tours. In Riga, the former office of the KGB has now been turned into a museum which is free to enter and has a sobering, informative exhibition including videos about the Soviet occupation of Latvia. For €10 per person, this can be extended to a tour of the interrogation rooms and . I decided against doing the tour as I have visited similar museums over recent years and felt the additional tour would not enhanced my knowledge of the former USSR and occupied states from what I had learned from the free exhibition.
To further that point, just because a museum is free does not mean that it’s a rubbish museum.
Also with museums, book in advance online where applicable as some places charge an elevated fee if paying on the day of visit. The Little Museum of Dublin was €10 entry and includes a guided tour. However when I booked online, it included The Green Mile tour around St Stephens Green which at the door, is an extra €15!
Could I have saved more?
Without a doubt I could’ve saved even more money on my trips! I could’ve camped in Mull or opted for a hostel instead of a 4* hotel in places. Sometimes it’s just nice to pay a little extra for a nicer hotel with access to a pool to soak in or for a more central location. I also could’ve shopped at supermarkets every day for lunches and dinners and not picked up that extra bottle of wine.
From my blog post, I decided to visit Dublin in 12 hours. I managed to do this on a Sunday which meant no precious annual leave entitlement being wasted!
Edinburgh – Dublin – Ryanair £16.98 return
Isle of Mull
Petrol: £25 Mr Rambling and I split the cost of a full tank of petrol.
Ferry £23 based on 1 passenger & half a car
Hotel: Isle of Mull Hotel & Spa 3* 2 nights Room Only with spa access: £71.01
Edinburgh – Luxembourg City – Ryanair £34.98 return
Hotel: DoubleTree by Hilton, Luxembourg, 4* 3 nights Room Only: £86.30
Day trip to Metz, France cost £27 return and was part of my spending money budget.
Scandinavian & Baltic trip
Edinburgh – Gothenburg – Ryanair £20.99 (Priority + 2 cabin bags)
Gothenburg – Oslo – Flixbus £11.99
Oslo – Vilnius – Ryanair £20.28 (Priority + 2 cabin bags)
Vlinius – Riga £15.00 EcoLines Bus
Riga – Edinburgh £43.67 (Priority + 2 cabin bags)
Gothenburg: Le Mat B&B 2* 2 nights B&B: £43.46
Oslo: Comfort Hotel Boersparken 3* 1 night B&B: £52.05
Oslo: Comfort Hotel Runway 3* 1 night B&B: £29.37
Vilnius: Comfort Hotel LT 3* 2 nights B&B: £35.05
Riga: Wellton Riga Hotel & Spa 4* 2 nights B&B with spa access: £62.10
Edinburgh – Bucharest – Ryanair £19.98 return
Hotel: Hilton Garden Inn Airport 4* 2 nights Room Only: £22.50
Total for hotels & transport : £634.16.
Spending money approximately but not exceeding £640.00
Grand total: No more than £1,274.16
Where did you visit in 2019? Where would you like me to go in 2020?