If you haven’t heard of the holiday hotline before, it’s something I do over on my Instagram stories where I ask you for what cheap getaway I can help find for you.
As I can only get to a few every week, I’ve decided to include how I go about finding deals so that even if you weren’t picked, there will hopefully be something here to help you with your own booking.
Well, as long as you don’t want a group trip to Amsterdam…
More of that coming up!
THE REQUEST: CHEAP Winter weekend getaway FROM MANCHESTER
When: Jan/Feb weekend
Manchester to Krakow
Fri 7th – Sun 9th Feb
Ryanair – small hand luggage only
If you’d like a bigger bag, you can also fly with easyJet and Jet2 for £111 who both allow a carry on case.
Not interested in Manchester? Here’s where else you could fly to that weekend:
As Krakow is so good on the pocket, I always like to make the most of it by staying a lush hotel that I normally couldn’t afford.
PURO Kraków Kazimierz is that rare partnership of incredible style and incredible value, coming in at just £53.50 a night.
If you book with Hotels.com (who are currently offering the cheapest rate), you’ll also collect 2 nights stay as part of their loyalty programme. Once you’ve collected 10, you’ll get a free reward night!
However, if you’re wanting to keep the budget down, check out this cute little Airbnb instead which is just £32 a night.
You can get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!
Between two, that means you could have yourself a cheap getaway from just £116 each!
THE REQUEST: GROUP GETAWAY TO AMSTERDAM
When: 14th May
Duration: 4 nights
Budget: £300 each
Liverpool to Amsterdam
Thurs 14th – Mon 18th May
EasyJet – who still allow small suitcases in hand luggage. Hurrah!
Note: this price is for 8 travellers – unfortunately you can’t book 10 at a time on Skyscanner though interestingly, this price is cheaper than booking for just 2 people by a few quid!
Top tip: Most airlines will do group bookings and whilst unfortunately it’s for a minimum of 15 for easyJet, it’s definitely worth keeping in mind as most give you the option to confirm the names of all your passengers last minute. This can be slightly more costly than if you booked in advance, but it can really take the stress out of organising big groups.
Now, I’m a bit nervous about trying to find a place for ten people as Amsterdam is NOTORIOUSLY SPENNY when it comes to places to stay.
This isn’t because it’s a super expensive destination, it’s just really popular and places get booked up fast, thus driving the price up so my biggest tip if you want to visit is book sooner rather than later!
From a quick look on Airbnb, I could see that there was absolutely nothing coming in under budget for a large group.
By thousands of pounds ???
Well, apart from this which looked very promising but after clicking through the pictures I stumbled on this:
Do not trust anything that directs you away from Airbnb! This is totally against the rules and I wouldn’t be surprised if this gets pulled sooner or later.
I did find this Airbnb which comes in just over budget but boy, it looks a bit bleak for the money… I mean, where are the windows??!
Anyway, on with the search!
Next, I went over too hometogo which is like the trivago of holiday rentals – it searches loads of different sites including Airbnb, Homeaway and Booking.com, and brings you all the options in one place.
However, that wasn’t bringing up anywhere either!
Time for PLAN B!
I’ve headed over to Booking.com’s apartments and what I’m looking for are smaller apartments that are in the same complex.
The only thing I found that could work was Cityden The Garden Amsterdam South – but if you haven’t clocked it from the name, it is 30 minutes from the city by public transport.
For 2 x two bedroom apartments (each has a sofa bed as well), the total cost would be £182.50 per person for 4 nights for ten people.
It looks lovely, but it seems quite far out, doesn’t it?
What about if we tried to find hotel rooms instead?
Just sneaking in – in budget – is the ibis Amsterdam City West. Whilst it’s still not super central, you’re not far from a metro that will get you to the main train station in a couple of minutes.
Selecting 2 x triple rooms and 2 x double rooms comes in at £221.80 a night each for 4 nights for ten people.
As a bargain hunter, I’m still not completely satisfied so my last search will be at the complete opposite that Sarah was looking for.
A 10 bed dorm with private bathroom for £179.30 each for 4 nights for ten people.
I’ve spent about an hour looking and these are genuinely the best deals I can find. So, do I have any final thoughts?
Just go somewhere else.
If there’s one thing I can’t stand is paying a lot of money for something not that good.
Spending just 5 minutes looking at alternative options, I’ve already found flights from Liverpool to Barcelona for £91 and numerous apartments in the centre of the city that easy house 10 people.
All prices reflect accommodation only and other options:
If you’re adamant that you want to go to Amsterdam – then find the accommodation first. Go to Airbnb and whack in your amount of guests without the dates. Find what you want and then check to see if it’s in budget, and when it’s available.
Then check for flight prices.
I hope that’s been on some help!!!
THE REQUEST: OCTOBER BUDAPEST WEEKEND FOR TWO
Dates: 11th – 14th October
London to Budapest
Fri 11th – Mon 14th Oct
Wizzair – small hand luggage only
But pssst, you can fly the 12th – 15th from just £53.
Budapest is yet another great city for getting great value out of your hotel, so let’s take a look at that first.
Heading to trivago, it does let me know that the Friday and the Saturday are more expensive than usual, so it may be that Airbnb is the way to go – but let’s see what we can rustle up.
Plus, as the cheapest price is with Hotels.com at the moment, you’d earn yourself 3 nights on their loyalty rewards programme where you get your 11th night for free.
However, I don’t think anything is gonna beat this BEAUTY from Airbnb which costs just £50 a night including fees.
(You can even get £25 off here if you haven’t used Airbnb before!)
Check out those high ceilings!
Between the two of you, that brings your three night trip to Budapest in for £182 each.
Okay, time for one more!
THE REQUEST: 50TH BIRTHDAY BREAK IN NEW YORK
To: New York
Duration: 5 nights
Details: 4* – it’s ma birthday innniiitt (okay fine Angela didn’t add that bit)
For this, I want to show you a brilliant function that Google Flights has.
As you can see above, once you pop your dates in, you can toggle the duration of the trip at the bottom which will really easily show you the best prices for the month you’re after.
THANK YOU GOOGLE.
So I’m going to go for the trip starting on the 22nd April et voila, a direct fare to New York with Virgin for just £319.
(Shit, people are going to start to realise that my cheap holiday skills aren’t that difficult to grasp… ?)
However, whilst Google have done the hard job for us here, they don’t always show the cheapest prices and so my next step is to put the dates into Skyscanner, and this is what comes up.
£302?!! YES PLEASE.
The reason Skyscanner is able to offer this cheaper is because, as you can see above, you’re actually buying from a third party. They are the exact same flights that you could book direct with Virgin, it’s just that these companies often offer discounts to entice you in.
Skyscanner do vet all their third party companies and clearly show how customers rate them.
I’ve used them many times before and have only once had an issue when the price had increased and so they returned my money. In hindsight, I should have known it was going to happen as the fare was half the price of what everyone else was offering ? (god loves a trier!)
Okay, so we’ve got the flight, now onto…
Now, Angela wants 4* and as someone who’s often cursed the prices of nice hotels in New York, I’m gonna do something a little rogue here…
? CUE PACKAGE HOLIDAY ?
Since our flight is with Virgin, it does make me wonder if Virgin Holidays will have a good deal for these dates…
The cheapest deal is at Row Nyc for £912 per person (other sites list it as a 4 star but Virgin use their own rating system).
To work out if that’s a deal, we need to pop to trivago and whack in the same hotel.
Once I click through, I can see that Travel Republic are offering the room for 5 nights for £857 – which once split between two and added to the flight price comes in at £730.50 per person.
FFS VIRGIN HOLIDAYS.
I WAS ROOTING FOR YOU.
WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU.
However, before we call it a day, I want to see if I can find a slightly nicer hotel for Angela.
ANGELA’S 50TH DESERVES MORE THAN A 6.5 RATING OKAY?!
So this time sticking to trivago, I’ve whacked in the dates and used the filters to find us a 4* hotel with at least a 7.5 guest rating.
That’s £672 pp in total for the whole holiday.
A double room at Renaissance New York Hotel 57 is £152 a night.
That totals £682 each for 5 nights and a flight.
This hotel is GORGEOUS – check out the photos on Booking.com (in my opinion, they have the best gallery!) and also check out how much more expensive it is if you book with them ?
This would cost £764.50 each for everything.
Have a great 50th birthday, Angela!
That’s everything fo this week’s holiday hotline.
Once again, I’m so sorry if I didn’t get to yours this week but unfortunately the business of finding the best deals isn’t quick work!
Remember, you can get involved in the next holiday hotline by simply following me over on Instagram and looking out for it on my stories.
Until next time!
I have used some affiliate links throughout this article. They don’t charge you more, but if you book through them you’ll be helping me to continue my cheap travel booking hobbies. For full transparency, I earn about 10p if you book a flight through a link so… Yeah, I’m rolling in it ?