We all want to make the most of the holiday we are entitled to but make sure we don’t break the bank at the same time.
And it seems like one travel enthusiast has nailed it -and has given out her secrets.
Chelsea Dickenson set herself the challenge to go on 10 trips in one year for budget of just £1,700 and managed just that,reports the Mirror.
It is only half the amount the average Brit spends on holidays a year – £3,418, according to Trainline.
Overall, the 28-year-old, whose day job involves making radio documentaries, managed to spend £1,704.45 on 10 holidays last year.
She also managing to stick to a host of rules which she set for herself which made things even tougher:
- At least 10 holidays
- Trips must be two nights or more and two must be five nights or more
- Only use 28 days of annual leave
- At least three continents
- At least one flight must be business class
All the prices below are quoted per person, after cashback deals she bagged are taken into acount.
This is where she went and her travel secrets:
1. January 2017 – Three-night stay in Valencia, Spain – cost: £169.72
“My first trip of the year was a winter sun break – a long weekend in Valencia with my boyfriend, James Robinson,” said Chelsea.
“I shopped around for flights and got a great deal on Easyjet flights for just £62. I then paid £32.72 for my accommodation at the Bloc Hotel Gatwick which I booked via hotel price comparison site, Amoma, and £75 for my stay at the Hotel Balandret which I booked via Hotels.com.
“I always try and book accommodation – as well as other travel costs – via cashback site Topcashback , as this means I can earn cashback as I spend. In this instance, I was able to make £5.95 cashback on my stay at the Bloc Hotel Gatwick, and £8.15 on my stay at the Hotel Balandret. I also got my hotel room upgraded which was a real bonus.”
- Chelsea’s top tip – “ If you want to get upgraded, email the hotel before you go telling them how much you are looking forward to your trip, and that it’s a ‘special occasion’ – and that you are want to surprise your partner. This is all true, as if you’re on holiday, then it is a special occasion. You might be surprised at the result.”
2. February 2017 – Four-night stay in Dubai, UAE – cost: £463.83
“My second trip of the year was a four-night stay in Dubai for a friend’s birthday. I shopped around for flights on Skyscanner and got a deal on an Emirates flight via BudgetAir for just £279.83. I then found a reasonable apartment via Booking.com for which cost me £184.”
- Chelsea’s top tip – “The best way to get a good deal on flights is by using a flight comparison site, such as Skyscanner or Momondo . But always check the firm on Trustpilot first – just to make sure it’s legitimate.”
3. March 2017 – Two night-stay in Aarhus, Denmark – cost: £43.33
“This trip was a real bargain, as I was able to pick up Ryanair flights for just £43.33 – and didn’t have to pay a penny for accommodation, as I stayed with a friend.”
- Chelsea’s top tip – “Always think if there are friends you can tap up for free accommodation for a night or two. If you’re happy to sleep on a sofa, you can really keep costs down, meaning you have lots more money to spend on activities while you’re there.”
4. May 2017 – Two-night stay in Dublin, Ireland – cost: £79
“I took this trip to Dublin with my Mum, and while we were in the process of booking it, Stena Line, the ferry operator, announced a flash sale on St Patrick’s Day.
“As I had all of our details ready to go, I was able to pounce right away and snap up the offer. It only cost me £4 to get to Dublin by ferry, and then around £10 in petrol, as my Mum took her car.
“I paid just £65 for my accommodation at Mec Hostel which I booked via Hostelworld , and also got £6.34 cashback.”
- Chelsea’s top tip – “Flash sales can offer great value, but can often be gone by the time you check in with the person you’re planning to travel with. If you’re looking to holiday in the next few months, the key is to have all your details to hand – and know what dates would work for you and your group, so you can grab an offer when you see it. It takes planning to be spontaneous.”
5. June 2017 – Three-night stay in Benidorm, Spain – cost: £288
“This trip stands out for me, as it’s the one where I flew Business Class. Not many people realise this, but with British Airways, you can fly Business Class to Benidorm for just £216.
“As this means you get BA lounge access at the airport – and free alcohol – along with priority boarding, and a four-course meal on the plane, it is well worth the cost. It was also a real treat. My accommodation at Pierre & Vacances Benidorm cost me £72 via Booking.com – plus I got £5.54 cashback.”
- Chelsea’s top tip – “Do a bit of research into Business Class flights, as they don’t always cost the earth – and can actually work out pretty good value when you factor in all the ‘freebies’ you get as part of the package.”
6. July 2017 – Two-night stay in Margate, UK – cost: £38.30
“My sixth trip of the year saw me holidaying a little closer to home, in Margate – this time with James again. I shopped around online and picked up a cheap train ticket for just £13.30, but with this trip, we made the biggest saving on the accommodation by leaving it until really late to book over AirBnb.
“Just ahead of the weekend, we got in touch with the owner of a little flat in Margate to see if we could negotiate a deal. The owner was pleased to have the property occupied, so let us have the place at a big discount of just £25 for the weekend.”
- Chelsea’s top tip – “If you are prepared to be open-minded and spontaneous, then leave your AirBnb booking until the last minute, and see if any owners are prepared to offer you a bargain.”
7. August 2017 – Fourteen-night stay in Paris, France – cost: £50
“This was one of my cheapest trips of the year, as our accommodation was absolutely free as James and I signed up to do a cat-sit via a house-sitting site called Nomador.com .
“Unlike other sites, with Nomador, you don’t have to pay any membership fee. We totally lucked out and ended up in a fabulous three-bed house on the outskirts of Paris, around 10 minutes from the centre – looking after a lovely cat called Biscotte.
“We had spoken to the owner several times over email and WhatsApp before heading to France, but were still a bit nervous about what to expect when we turned up. But we needn’t have worried, as the cat was easy to look after – and we had a brilliant fortnight in a lovely Parisian home.
“We also took advantage of a Eurostar deal called ‘Eurostar Snap,’ where you just choose the day you’d like to travel, and get allocated a cheap deal. My train travel cost just £50.”
- Chelsea’s top tip – “Check out house-sitting and cat-sitting sites, as you can get free accommodation around the world, as long as you’re happy to look after the odd animal or two.”
8. October 2017 – Two-night stay in Gdansk, Poland – cost: £49
“This two-night trip to Gdansk with a friend of mine was my favourite trip of the year. My friend lives in Manchester, but we worked out that it was cheaper to meet in Poland than it was in the UK, as you can fly there so cheaply.
“By shopping around online and finding flights to Gdasnk for just £16 with Ryanair, and accommodation at Prestige Apartments via Booking.com for just £33 per person – including £1.63 cashback – I was able to do this trip for less than £50.
“We stayed in a beautiful apartment, and were able to eat and drink at some amazing places really cheaply – you could get prosecco for just £2.”
- Chelsea’s top tip – “If you are meeting a friend who lives in a different part of the UK, see if it’s cheaper to fly abroad to a bargain-basement location such as Gdansk, rather than pay for expensive trains here at home.”
9. December 2017 – Two-night stay in Timisoara, Romania – cost: £55
“My penultimate trip of the year to Timisoara with James was a fantastic trip – and cost us next to nothing.
“I’d read a report based on findings from Post Office Travel Money stating that Riga in Latvia was the cheapest destination for a two-night Christmas market getaway.
“The research said the cost would be £504 for two adults with B&B accommodation, flights or Eurostar, airport transfers, a three-course meal, coffee, mulled wine and cake – meaning £252 per person.
“But I managed all this in Timisoara for just £184.20 per person. This included £20 for my flights with Ryanair and £35 for accommodation at the NH Timisoara which I booked via Expedia – with £9.97 cashback via Topcashback . In Timisoara, you could get a pint of mulled wine for just £1.”
- Chelsea’s top tip – “Check out the ‘cheapest places’ to fly to on Skyscanner and you may find you can do a trip to Europe for next to nothing.”
10. December 2017 – Eight-night stay in New York and Miami – cost: £581
“My final trip of the year was an amazing trip to the US. James and I flew out to New York on December 16, and back to the UK on Christmas Day, meaning we got a great deal on flights – but were still able to get to my parents’ house by midday on Christmas Day.
“My flight with Carlton Leisure cost just £358, and I then paid an additional £32 for a return flight with Frontier from New York to Miami. We really lucked out on our accommodation in New York as we ended up staying two nights in an Emmy award-winner’s $1.7 million apartment for just £22.50 a night.
“We arranged this via LoveHomeSwap, but didn’t actually have to have anyone staying in our home in London. It was insane – the place was just gorgeous.
“In Miami, accommodation costs included £40 for a homestay for three nights, and £40 for an AirBnb place for two nights – and then on our final night we left things until the last minute, and got a night at an amazing hotel for just £66 via HotelTonight. We spent our time in Miami just chilling in the sunshine – it was fabulous.”
- Chelsea’s top tip – “Check out sites such as LoveHomeSwap for the chance to get accommodation at some incredible places for just a few pounds a night.”