The ongoing cost of living crisis means many of us may feel like holidays aren’t an option for 2023, but budget travel is possible (when you know what you’re doing).
In fact, there are many lesser-known tricks in the field that can ensure a much more affordable vacation than you ever dreamed of. Luckily, budget holiday hunter Chelsea Dickinson – aka @cheapholidayexp on Instagram – shared some of her secrets with ShineSo you can still look forward to a vacation regardless of your budget.
Whether it’s securing cheap flights, affordable hotels or bargain activities so you can explore new destinations without Mainly Splitting, Chelsea has all the knowledge. Her best travel steal ever? “I got a 4 hour 50 minute train between Prague and Bratislava in 2022 which cost me just £21,” she says. “And it was in business class! I got a huge leather armchair, sparkling wine upon arrival and I got to sit in the cabin as if I was on the Hogwarts Express. What’s more, the food on board was also so cheap – 30 NIS for a slice of cake and 65 NIS for a bottle of beer! “
Now that’s budget travel we can afford. Want to participate in this action? Here are the tips and tricks you should follow to ensure a bargain vacation in 2023…
How to find cheap hotels and accommodation
When it comes to securing a cheap vacation, consider how much it will actually cost to be At your destination, before you worry about how you get there. “My favorite thing is to do my travel search backwards and start with accommodation first,” says Chelsea. “That’s because we often obsess over cheap flights when they’re a one-off cost and in fact your day-to-day costs – such as food, activities and accommodation – can add up.”
“To do this, I put really general areas into the search fields like ‘UK’ or ‘Europe’. I then use the site’s filters to narrow down the results. This technique works on Airbnb and Booking.com and is great for looking at where there’s great value “.
She adds: “Some sites like Airbnb also allow you to search using a map and I like to use this tool when I’m looking for a beach holiday. I do this by zooming in on the map and then searching along the coastline. It’s fantastic for showing lesser known beach stays where you can get value for money Amazing for the money.”
Regarding hotels: it’s all about shopping around. “If you’re looking to stay at a hotel, always check the cost on several platforms – I tend to start with a comparison site like Google Hotels or Trivago – and then click through to the results it offers. Also, always make sure you’re connected to booking sites as they can often reward members with cheaper prices Finally, if you find the price cheaper than booking directly, you can always contact the hotel directly and ask them to adjust the price, or even ask if they can offer you an additional incentive to book directly.”
How to find cheap flights
“The best way to get a cheap flight is to be flexible – whether it’s in date or destination or, better yet, both,” says Chelsea. “When you’re in this situation, use websites that allow you to search for options worldwide – for Skyscanner type ‘anywhere’ and for Kayak type ‘anywhere’ in the destination field. They also allow you to search by date range.”