By Oisin Coyne
As someone who has visited 15 different countries in the last 12 months, I can say that the best piece of advice I could offer someone looking to travel the world is to “follow deals, not destinations.” To put it simply, everyone has heir dream destinations. Maybe you want to climb the Eiffel Tower, sail on a gondola around Venice or enjoy the pink sandy beaches in Greece. Its important to remember that the price of travelling to destinations varies throughout the year and you should choose where and when wisely to save money.
Choosing a destination
Everybody has different tastes when it comes to travelling. Some like to embrace new cultures, try new foods, go sightseeing or just lay by the pool for 2 weeks. Before you choose your next destination, you should write a list of what you want to experience. This will allow you to research different places and see if they offer what you are looking for. For example, if you want to quad bike in the desert, swim in the sea, enjoy the sun and enjoy cheap refreshments you should choose somewhere like The Algarve in Portugal rather than Munich.
How to fly cheap
Skyscanner! This app has become a daily ritual of mine. While on my lunch break or commuting home from college, I’m always scanning cheap flight. Skyscanner allows you to compare every destination and airline to give you the cheapest deals possible. It also allows you to view the cheapest price of flying to a destination on a calendar format so you can plan your trip well in advance. From my experience, I have found that flying midweek between Tuesday and Friday is always the cheapest option. As people most people travel on the weekend and return on Monday these days will always be more expensive.
Most people will advise you to “book well in advance”, this is usually the best way to get cheap flights. Sometimes airlines will cut flight prices as late as 12hours before a flight. So if you’ve got a day off tomorrow, you could fly to Milan for three days for 40euro return! Trust me I’ve done it!
The importance of where you stay depends on your desires from a trip.
For the hotel goer, who will be looking to relax and enjoy a spa break, fancy food and full catering, Booking.com is your best friend. They offer a loyalty programe that gives you discounts, free room upgrades and free food the more you use it. It uses a “Genius” programe with 3 levels and in order to reach maximum level you’ll have to stay in 15 different places in a 2year period. It might sound like a lot, but if you use these tips, you’ll see how easy it can be. The main Plus to using Booking.com is the ption to cancel for free. If you’re planning a trip months in advance and are worried if you’ll even be able to make it, feel free to cancel up to 48hours before your supposed to arrive for free!
If you’re like me and want to “the real travelling experience” then Hostels will be a no brainer. Hostelworld is the best app to use. It showcases the best rated and cheapest hostels and you can specify what you want from your stay. Whether your solo travelling and want to socialise with other travellers or your just looking for a cheap bed to lay your head for the night, they’ve got it all. Most importnantly they showcase the reviews of each location both good and bad and you’ll have the reassurance that they came from backpackers like yourself!
Apart from cheap prices, hostels also offer so many activities. For example my experience in the We Love Tourists hostel in Lisbon allowed me to go on a pub crawl each night which allowed me to to meet so many people and explore Lisbons night life, We went on a guided tour up the mountains to Sintra Palace and to the surf town Cais Cais. They also had games nights, dinner nights and karaoke. Most hostels will offer some if not all of these activities so you’ll never be bored and will experience stuff you never could have planned for.
If your wary of sleeping in bunk beds with 12 people in the same room, hostels also offer private rooms. These are basically hotel rooms just in the hostel building. So you can enjoy the privacy of your own private room and bathroom and still enjoy the social experience! These rooms are also priced cheap and can exceed the standards of expensive hotels.
When travelling on a budget, its minimalize your luggage. Bring the right amount of clothes for the time your away, the 1outfit per day tactic usually works. From experience, a 3/4 day city break can be packed into a backpack if you bring do it correctly. This will mean you don’t have to pay for extra baggage on Ryanir Flights. Remember that Aer Lingus offer a free 10kg bag to be checked in when you fly with the. For longer trips or maybe beach holidays where you need extra clothes, a 10kg should be enough with a backpack too. A trick I;ve learned Is if you require a 10kg bag with Ryanair just upgrade to priority boarding and its included to carry onto the plane. The website will try to encourage you to book the bag separately and charge double the price so remember that trick!
The best way to maximise space in your bag is to roll your clothes rather than folding. This also helps to avoid creases. I like to use zip lock bags such as SHEIN bags to put clothes into as it compacts them and doesn’t waste space. Always try to bring as little footwear as possible, if one pair of shoes is enough then you will save so much room for other items or souvenirs.
Preparation is key to outlining the activities you’ll o on your trip. Map out your days and pre book when possible. This will ensure that you have your place and time frame and you wont be left stranded in a city with nothing to do. Bus and boat tours fill up quickly so ensure book well in advance.
My final tip before you embark on your next adventure is to remember that life is short so “Do it all!”