2nd July 2017

How I Had A Year of European City Breaks For £1,400

Macedonia Ohrid Wall
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post (however affiliate links may be used, including Amazon Associates, which mean I earn commissions on purchases at no extra cost to you) and all thoughts are my own.

Budgeting European City Breaks

Macedonia Ohrid Wall

“How do you afford to always travel” is something I get asked by certain friends/family members of mine on a regular basis. Yet said individuals have been known to spend 2 weeks every year in an all-inclusive resort that costs around £1,500+ per person just for those two weeks which just isn’t my style!

In 2016 I went on less European city breaks than I would have liked too – I had to spend too much annual leave on exams/study time unfortunately! I only managed 5 city breaks, but the total cost was £1,405.21 (average £281 per trip for flights, accommodation and spending money). When I’ve told people this, they’ve seemed shocked and confused – so I thought I’d set it all out in a blog post!

Krakow, Poland

Krakow Poland Auschwitz

Ohrid, Macedonia

Ohrid Macedonia Church Budgeting City Break

Salzburg, Austria

View Salzburg Austria Budgeting Europe City Break

Cologne, Germany

Burg Eltz Cologne Germany Budgeting

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Scotland Budgeting City Break



So What Are my Top Tips?

Work out what your priorities are

£1,400 is still a lot of money, but in 2016 travelling was a priority for me and was worth every penny. I don’t spend money on clothes and accessories (although I definitely used to!) and that definitely helps to save.

This £1,400 was spent over the course of a year, so if you want to experience the 5 city breaks listed above, you’d need to save £116 per month – given that my main blog audience are 18 – 25 year old females (much like myself), making the huge assumption that you are in a full time job without the responsibilities of kids or a mortgage, this could be entirely achievable depending on your priorities.

In 2017, I haven’t taken half as many trips as this but I’m currently saving every penny and thinking about getting on the housing ladder – priorities change and that’s okay!

RELATED:  Find out what I’ve given up in order to save money for travel here

Travel at non-peak times where possible

I could have been FAR stingier with my spending on travel during this year. A prime example is my trip to Cologne. I was limited on annual leave by this point and had to utilise the August bank holiday weekend meaning flight costs rocketed. Our £60 return flights from London Stansted with RyanAir can be snagged for £18 most of the year (these seats are also always included in RyanAir‘s sales).

And generally speaking, flying mid-week will be cheaper than utilising a long weekend (something I am a big fan of given my lack of annual leave), so if you work unusual hours, you could be quids-in!

Be flexible

I have the Skyscanner widget on my Android phone homepage, so I am constantly able to see what the cheapest flights from London in the next month are.

When Skysanner were advertising £25 flights to Ohrid (Macedonia), I knew that I HAD to have them. I hadn’t even heard of this city, but I know it’s not normally in the “cheap flight” category!

After a quick google, I knew it was beautiful and I knew I had to go.

RELATED: Have you seen any cheap flights to Ohrid? If you manage to catch them, read all about my time there here! You won’t be disappointed! 

Make sure you understand the budget airlines

So above I mentioned that I saw £25 flights to Ohrid but I actually paid £50, what happened there?! Well, budget airlines have to make their money somehow and Wizz Air make you pay for normal sized cabin bags.

Where possible, I fly with RyanAir who allow you to have one normal sized cabin bag and one small personal item (like a handbag, backpack or laptop bag) included in the price of your ticket!

RELATED: Do you know what’s included in your ticket price? Read my guides for RyanAir and Wizz Air!

How Could You Save More Money Than I Did?

My biggest downfall when travelling in 2016 was having to make lots of little short breaks, this means that I was continually paying for return flights to the UK.

I spent a total of 3 weeks in European cities during the year – so if you could get 3 continuous weeks off work and pick cities that are relatively close to one another, using public transport to get from one to the other will be much cheaper than continuously flying to and from the UK!

Also, you’ll notice that my spending money in a city is normally on par with the flights and accommodation. This is because I like to FULLY immerse myself in a city and do absolutely everything that’s on offer. I rarely leave a city without having ticked off all of the “must see” tourist attractions. If you slow down and don’t feel the need to spend money on every single entrance fee, you will definitely save money.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own.




16 responses to “How I Had A Year of European City Breaks For £1,400”

  1. Char says:

    Loved this post £1,400 is amazing for how much fun you had and how many trips you took! Completely agree on travelling off-peak, why pay more when you can pay less and avoid the crowds?

    Char xo || http://www.memoirsmusings.com

  2. I always get asked the same question at work too, and everyone is so shocked that I still have 10 days of annual leave left at this point till december with all the holidays I've already managed to take (and got booked). They're the type of people who always buy new clothes and go out at the weekend, so like you said it's all about priorities!
    That's amazing that you only spent £1400 last year on travel! I was planning on doing at post like this in Decmeber of this years trips, though our Dubai trip will definitely hike the price up haha!
    xo Apri | April Everyday

  3. Sarah says:

    This is such a useful post! I can't travel as much as I used to because all my spare cash is currently going towards my wedding, but it can be so cheap to fly into Europe. I think a lot of people wrongly assume that when you travel a lot you're staying in 5* luxury all the time rather than flying low cost airlines and staying in budget hotels or hostels.

    Great work finding such cheap flights to Macedonia though! I've wanted to go for so long and I've definitely never seen them that cheap 🙂

    • Ooooohhhh saving for a wedding is just as exciting! Definitely true – I never splash on airlines and hotels!

      Hope you get to Macedonia soon, I've not seen flights that cheap again. I think I booked them in about February for May last year?

  4. Sam Sparrow says:

    Blown away by this – especially your budget for Ohrid which I always imaged as being quite expensive! So much inspiration here, thank you 🙂

  5. cris says:

    Long live low-cost carriers! I def have to do this sort of article! 🙂
    Nice places you've visited.

  6. Vicki says:

    Thank you! I hate people assuming you must be rich in order to travel. It's just not true. I usually travel on a budget and when I tell people what I pay for my trips they are usually surprised. Thank you for sharing your point of view on this. Totally agree.

  7. Lenka says:

    Very inspirational, I think £1,400 is very reasonable amount for 5 euro trips! And definitely putting Ohrid in Macedonia to my travel wish list. It seems so beautiful!

  8. Anna says:

    It's great to see how many trips you can have on such a small budget! And yes, I completely agree that some people just don't realise just what else they could get in place of a two week all inclusive package holiday. City breaks win for me every time!

  9. I get asked this quite a bit as well. You said it…priorites! You had some amazing adventures for the amount you spent! Well done!

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