City breaks are my favourite type of holiday; a few days of soaking up the culture, (and sometimes sunshine) eating new foods and walking double the number of steps I would in a week back at home. I’ve been lucky enough to visit my fair share of incredible cities, mainly while at university, so I’ve gotten budget travelling down to a tee.
For me, eating in the best food spots, finding inspiration for new content, getting *those* perfect Instagram shots and spending time exploring with my friends/boyfriend is all I want out of a short break. Sometimes trying to fit everything you want to see/do into just a few days can be a little overwhelming, but don’t worry I’ve got you covered in this post…
Pinterest is my go-to site for planning a city break, I use it as a travel bible. Whether it is for places to eat, obscure tourist sites, hotel inspiration or packing guides – it has just about everything you will need to plan your trip. Once we have picked our destination I will create a board for anything and everything to do with our trip to go into, this means I can always fall back on this collection of blog posts, photographs and tips when we are away.
The best thing about Pinterest is that it directs you to articles and posts that will then give you even more information from people who have visited before you. I often use these posts to research the best transport options, whether its best to buy a travel ticket, use Uber or walk and pay for occasional public transport journeys. These are things that all differ depending on the location so it’s always best to check this out first!
As well as the important parts of planning your city break it also encourages me to plan blog content before we travel so I can plan outfits, pick photography locations and make a list of potential places to eat. Obviously, it can be fun to go away without a plan, explore and be spontaneous but I use my Pinterest boards to create a loose plan of possibilities, just in case!
If you’re a Millennial, you’ve probably either heard of Monzo, own a Monzo card or seen lot’s of your friends flashing around a bright pink bank card raving about it. (I found out the other day I am actually Generation Z or “iGen” by just one year but after thorough research into the categories with my friend Jodie, I refuse to be categorised as this generation, with many people arguing that the year of my birth is a “grey area” between a Millennial and Generation Z.) A little bit off topic but anyway, back to Monzo… It’s an online bank that tracks your spending, allows you to save money and control all of your financial arrangements. If you haven’t heard of it, look it up because you won’t be disappointed!
One of the great things about Monzo is you can use this card abroad with no added costs, anywhere that accepts Mastercard will accept your Monzo card. The handy app that accompanies the card will update you on local exchange rates, send you notifications of purchases and at the end of your trip send you a summary of where you spent your money. The best thing is you don’t have to worry about converting your money into another currency, it stays in your account as GBP and each transaction will have both your currency and the local currency exchange on the statement so you can see how much each transaction has cost you in GBP.
Ask around for recommendations…
Short city breaks are becoming ever more popular for a quick and easy getaway, meaning there are so many people you can ask about their trip and for any places they recommend. I often post something on my Instagram stories telling people where I am heading and any places we should visit. When I did this for Prague, one of my blogger pals from Brighton who grew up in the Czech Republic sent me a list of places to eat, we tried some of them and loved them! It’s always worth a shot, as everyone is open to sharing and talking about their trips. I’ve also written a few budget guides for specific places, my latest being a food guide to Prague as I love sharing the places I have discovered, especially when I find a gem on a budget!
Hotel or Airbnb? (or if you’re lucky…stay with a friend!)
Always do your research before booking any sort of accommodation. Obviously, some people much prefer one or the other but if you’re open to either it’s definitely worth spending the time on searching properly. Luckily for me, when I first visited Amsterdam one of my close friends was interning in the city and kindly let me stay with them, which helped a lot with my overall travel costs.
If you’re able to get a good deal including flights and a hotel then staying in a hotel is a great idea. Usually, they are smack bang in the middle of the city making it the perfect location and often saving you money on transport during your trip. However, often the location of these hotels can mean the prices are hiked up, tourist tax is added and therefore staying in an Airbnb may be a better alternative. City centre Airbnb’s tend to cater for extra people with added sofa beds and extra sleeping arrangements for bigger groups. This means you can split the overall cost of your accommodation, usually working out cheaper than paying for a few hotel rooms. Also, I have found that staying in an Airbnb makes my trip feel much more relaxed, there is no need to be up between certain times for breakfast, you can cook for yourself in the evenings, saving you money on eating out (a godsend in Paris as everywhere was SO expensive to eat out!) and they generally have much more relaxed check-in/out times if you become friendly with your host.
This is the beautiful apartment I stayed in with two of my friends in Prague, it was beautifully decorated and if I remember correctly it cost us roughly £70 each for three nights! If you haven’t tried Airbnb before and would like to give it a go, here’s £25 off your first trip! Just follow this link and sign up as usual.
So those are just a few of my tips for planning your next budget city break! Lots of family and friends have asked me how I have been able to afford to travel while at uni and well budgeting is my answer. I save a little of my wages each month to justify doing a short trip once or twice a year, do my research and shop around for the best bargains and deals! Have you got any other handy tips for planning a city break?