Travel is cheaper than you think; sometimes you can buy a flight to another country cheaper than you can eat one meal out. Would you believe me if I told you I’ve seen over 50% of Europe without spending more than £50 return on each flight?
I have one rule that I live by when it comes to travel within Europe; if it costs more than £50 return, I’m not buying it. Ninety percent of the time I’ve been able to stick to that. How you ask? Easy – keep reading and I’ll tell you.
When I first landed in the UK, I was completely dumbfounded by the flight prices! In Canada, you wouldn’t even be able to fill up your gas tank for a week for the price of a weekend away! £14 return to Switzerland? Twist my arm! £5 one-way to Denmark – might as well! Love them or hate them, RyanAir and other budget airlines have some pretty unbelievable deals. If you want the see the world, you best be able to pack light because checked luggage costs 10x more than the flights!
Here’s a quick breakdown of the places I’ve travelled to/from London and their prices. These were found and bought via SkyScanner:
- Basel, Switzerland: £14 return – my biggest bargain!
- Amsterdam, The Netherlands: £45 return
- Copenhagen, Denmark: £35 return (£5 one way!)
- Dublin, Ireland: £50 return (this was right before St. Patrick’s Day making the price rise)
- Bucharest, Romania: £35 return
- Bergen & Oslo, Norway: two one way flights £50 total
- Prague, Czech Republic: £47 return
- Ohrid, Macedonia: £35 return
- Rome, Italy: £55 return
- Stockholm, Sweden: £20 return
- Riga, Latvia: £30 return
- Podgorica, Montenegro: £41 return
- Barcelona, Spain: £55 return (over a long weekend)
- Belfast, UK: £25 return
- Vilnius, Lithuania: £45 return
- Luxembourg City, Luxembourg: £18 return
- Tuzla, Bosnia & Herzegovina: £36 return
- Sofia, Bulgaria: £40 return
- Belgrade, Serbia: £48 return (coming up!)
I’ve also managed to book flights over holiday periods/peak season which has also worked out cheap, too:
- Reykjavik, Iceland: $279 one way from Canada
- St. Petersburg & Moscow, Russia: £89 return over Easter
- Tel-Aviv, Israel: £120 return right before Christmas
- Kathmandu, Nepal: £380 return at the end of trekking season
- Casablanca, Morocco & Gibraltar: £120 total over Christmas and NYE 2016/2017
- Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: £340 return over Christmas and NYE 2017/2018
Obviously, since my home base is the UK, flights tend to be cheaper due to the number of airports in London (4), and the demand, but if you’re not fussy on where you travel, you can find the deals. What I do is to search on SkyScanner based off of your departure location, without inserting any destination (search: everywhere). If you’re really not pressed on the time of year, don’t put in a departure month and say instead ‘cheapest month’. SkyScanner will bring you up all the cheapest destinations you can scroll through and make a selection based off whatever peaks your interest.
I find this approach much more fun because it’s a quick and cheap escape. Some of my favourite trips and destinations came from booking whatever was the cheapest country to visit at the time.
Try it once, I bet the results will surprise you! Places you never dreamed of travelling to will appear – maybe they’ll be your new hidden gem!
I try to have several months in advance lined up with trips to ensure I get the best deals. In August last year, I had Belfast, Lithuania, Poland (work trip which turned into an extended weekend), and Luxembourg booked all for travel from September to November. When you have locations booked with plenty of time to plan, you can also get some bargain hostel prices compared to last minute bookings. For example, when I did my big backpacking trip, I had most of my itinerary planned and paid for in April/May for travel in July. I booked hostels in Prague for mid-July at $5CAD/night whereas people who booked on the day at the same hostel were charged $25CAD/night! #Winning!
It’s possible to see the world without breaking the bank. Keep an open mind when searching for your next holiday, it might just blow you away.