Saturday, 14 May 2016

How I book a European city break!

At the moment, my favourite kind of travel is getting a cheap flight to mainland Europe and visiting a city I've never been to for the weekend. Living in the UK, we have so many amazing places on our doorstep and the rest of this year and next, I hope to make the most of this and see some more European cities. I enjoyed my trips to Berlin and Prague so much that they've made me want to see more of the continent. It's the Eurovision Song Contest tonight, so naturally I've opted for a European theme for today's post and I'm going to be talking to you about how I book a European city break.

Bruges, Summer 2012

1. Flights and airport transfers

The first part of my booking process is writing a list of all of the European cities I want to visit. Before I decide on the exact location, I head over to the Ryanair and easyJet websites to see if they have any deals available. If you're only going for a few days, flights often make up the largest proportion of the cost, so it's important to find the cheapest flights possible. Based on the flight prices, I then choose where I'm going. I went ahead and booked our June Warsaw trip very quickly because it was only £19.99 per person each way from London Stansted to Warsaw Modlin with Ryanair. Flights are always my first priority when booking a European city break.

As soon as I've got the flights sorted, I also book an airport transfer - especially if the airport is far away from the city centre. If trains or public buses run regularly, I sometimes just wait and sort this out when we get there; it really depends on what recommendations I've read on travel websites or blogs.

2. Accommodation

The next part is finding a centrally located hostel. I browse the Hostel World website, looking for places with private rooms and positive reviews, then visit the likes of Trivago, Expedia, Last Minute and to see where I can bag the best deals. I also check my Voucher Codes emails, making sure there aren't any discount codes that I've missed!

Booking accommodation usually takes me a long time because I like to be well-researched before parting with my cash.

Brussels, Summer 2012

3. Tourist attractions and 'city cards'

This option depends on where I'm visiting, but if there's a particular tourist site I want to see in the city, I'll sometimes book the tickets online before we go. It really depends on how popular the attraction is and if it's any cheaper booking in advance.

Alternately, if there is evidence that the 'city card' (letting you into most tourist attractions for free) can realistically save you money, I'll purchase that in advance. I'm always hesitant about this however, because I'd hate to think I pay all of the money for the card and then I don't use it to it's value. The best way I find to approach this is to not purchase the card until I've priced up all of the attractions I want to see and then compared that total to the cost of a card.

When it's for a few days in a European city, that's all I book in advance. I don't book dining reservations because I like the spontaneity of turning up in a city and eating where the locals eat.

How do you book a European city break? Let me know in the comments.

Thank you for reading my blog today.

Love Kat xxxx

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