Summer in the City – September Breaks for Last Minute Getaways

Left your holiday planning to the last minute? Don’t despair, our September city breaks could still help to save your summer!

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The months are rushing by, and if you’re anything like us, you’ve left it to the last minute to finalise your plans for your summer break. While the popular summer destinations might now be out of reach, the student saviour for getting a few days away is still an option – September. Prices for both flights and hotels drastically drop during this first month after the big summer blitz, and it can allow for you to take your holiday without worrying about spending over the odds for peak prices. We’ve collated just a few of the options currently available for city breaks across Europe, with prices that will have you rushing to the airport!

 

All prices correct as of 8th July 2019:

 

  1. Copenhagen

Copenhagen is arguably the world’s leading hygge spot, and one of the best cities in Europe to spend a few days relaxing while taking in the Danish capital’s wonderful culture. As well as the obligatory visits to the Little Mermaid statue and walking by the beautiful buildings in the Nyhavn harbour, another must-see in Copenhagen is the unique Tivoli Gardens – the traditional theme park is in the centre of the city, and is home to some of the most classic rides you could ever find. In this 2nd oldest theme park in the world, you can take a spin on the carousel before going for a stroll around the glorious gardens – how idyllic!

Copenhagen does still maintain a crazy side – from the Nasothek Nose Collection (the clue is in the name!) to the Geological Museum holding many curiosities, you’ll leave Copenhagen mesmerised by both its beautiful and its barmy brilliance!

 

2nd September – STN – CPH (08:40 – 11:25) – £18 (Ryanair) (Transfer from Copenhagen Airport to city centre = £4.50 – DSB)

5th September – CPH – STN (22:10 – 23:10) – £15 (Ryanair) (Transfer to Copenhagen Airport from city centre = £4.50 – DSB)

Total = £42

 

You can still explore Copenhagen in 3 days for a low cost! –

3rd September – STN – CPH (08:55 – 11:40) – £15 (Ryanair) (Transfer from Copenhagen Airport to city centre = £4.50 – DSB)

5th September – CPH – STN (22:10 – 23:10) – £15 (Ryanair) (Transfer to Copenhagen Airport from city centre = £4.50 – DSB)

Total = £39

 

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Copenhagen’s harbour is beautiful whatever the weather!

 

2. Gothenburg

Staying with Scandinavia, the Swedish port city of Gothenburg is Stockholm’s edgy little sibling. We’ve written about the wonderful natural beauty of the city before, which can be found here – don’t forget to pack your swimming costume for the central open-air swimming opportunities!

 

2nd September – STN – GOT (08:15 – 11:05) – £18 (Ryanair) (Transfer from Gothenburg Airport to city centre = £8.50 – Flygbussarna)

4th September – GOT – STN (22:05 – 23:10) – £15 (Ryanair) (Transfer to Gothenburg Airport from city centre = £8.50 – Flygbussarna)

Total = £50

 

3. Brussels

Belgium’s capital is always one of the top choices for an easy to reach city break. Beer, chocolate and waffles aside, the city is one that exudes history. From the grandeur of the town hall to the magnitude of the Atomium, Brussels is perfect for a wander around – if you want a great view from above, be sure to climb to the top of the Basilica of Koekelberg for a wonderful gaze across the city!

For more of an avant garde view of Brussels, why not follow the comic book route? From the nation that gave the world both Tintin and the Smurfs, these icons and more are honoured in unique ways across the city. The capital is also a marvel of modern street art, with wonders painted across walls in the centre for you to enjoy.

 

3rd September – MAN – CRL (07:50 – 10:15) – £15 (Ryanair) (Transfer from Brussels South Charleroi Airport to city centre = £9 – Flibco)

5th September – CRL – MAN (21:20 – 21:45) – £15 (Ryanair) (Transfer to Brussels South Charleroi Airport from city centre = £9 – Flibco)

Total = £48

 

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Lose yourself in Brussels’ dreamy shops!

 

4. Strasbourg

The capital of the Grand Est region might not be on the top of the tourist’s bucket list, but Strasbourg is definitely a city to explore. From history to modernity, this city is one that really cannot be missed!

Consider taking time to visit some of the most picturesque areas in the surrounding countryside – Colmar, a gorgeous location only half an hour outside of the city, is somewhere that has to be seen to be believed! You can find more on Strasbourg’s surroundings here.

 

8th September – STN – SXB (07:55 – 10:20) – £15 (Ryanair) (Transfer from Strasbourg Airport to city centre = £2.50 – TER)
11th September – SXB – STN (17:50 – 18:15) – £13 (Ryanair) (Transfer to Strasbourg Airport from city centre = £2.50 – TER)

Total = £33

 

5. Košice

You may not have heard of Košice, but after this I guarantee you’ll want to pay a visit! This city in Eastern Slovakia isn’t a tourist haven, but it cannot be missed for a cultural break near to the Carpathians. This city is an un-uniformed delight, with glorious architecture from the Gothic cathedral to the art nouveau streets bordering each other and seamlessly blending into the skyline. The city was also recently the European Capital of Culture, with elements still present today – wonderful street art can be found, while a bustling modern museum and cultural space presents Košice in a unique light!

Košice also works as a base for exploration up into the hills surrounding the city, with the beautiful Tatra Mountains only a couple of hours away from the centre – it will be a break you’ll never forget!

 

10th September – SEN – KSC (06:45 – 10:10) – £13 (Ryanair) (Transfer from Košice Airport to city centre = 50p – IMHD)

12th September – KSC – SEN (17:45 – 19:10) – £13 (Ryanair) (Transfer to Košice Airport from city centre = 50p – IMHD)

Total = £27

 

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Košice is a great base to explore the wonderful nature around Central Europe!

 

Accommodation in central city locations is vast – from slick hotels to cosy homestays, you’ll be spoilt for choice! Be sure to check out our guide to safely using services like Airbnb, while new users can still get a generous £25 off from their first booking over £55 via our affiliate link here (be sure to check out our Airbnb dos and dont’s here first)!

Currency conversation rate (8th July 2019) – 1 GBP = 1.12 EUR; 11.82 SEK; 8.33 DKK

 

Please note, all the information on this page is accurate at the time of publication. If you are viewing this content at a later date, the price and availability may no longer be as displayed.

Images: Adventurous Miriam, Anton Karatkevich, Jonas Jacobsson, Noralí Emilio, David Leveque, Marten Bjork, Gaelle Marcel, Michal Mrozek

A Winter Vacanza in Veneto

We might still be basking in the summer sun, but it’s never too early to start thinking about a perfect winter getaway! Check out our guide to a Christmas break to remember in the Veneto region of Italy!

The summer sun is still beaming down on us as July starts, but in a blink of an eye winter will be here and we’ll be lamenting our loss of the sun’s rays (as well as stressing over Christmas presents)! If you want to soak up the last of the year’s sun, then look no further than the famed region of Veneto in north-eastern Italy for your final fix of travel for the year.

 

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Winter travel can be just as fun as exploring the world during the summer!

 

This simple route encompasses two of the region’s most gorgeous cities – Verona and Venice. Starting in the city best known as the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, we too lay our scene in the fair surroundings of Verona. Known as ‘the painted city’, Verona is a true symbol of Italian art and culture brought to life. If you want to imagine yourself as being an artist in search of a muse, then let this city inspire you all year round. You may also be surprised to find a winter stalwart nestled between the traditionally Italian surroundings – Verona is home to a fully-stocked Christmas market, inspired by the iconic Christkindlmarkt in Nuremberg; get a taste of winter in Germany while gazing at the gorgeous Italian scenery surrounding you! Speaking of taste, you can’t carry on your journey without sampling Verona’s own winter staple of pandoro, a delicious sweetened bread – just don’t ask for panettone!

 

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Verona’s streets are perfect to meander through on a lovely winter’s day!

 

 

The second and final location on this whistle-stop tour of Veneto is, of course, Venice. One of the world’s greatest tourist hubs, by visiting in December you’ll have the chance to marvel at some of the most stunning architecture and scenery without having to fight your way through the crowds. For a distinctly Christmassy adventure, be sure to take a trip to the island of Murano, known globally for its beautiful glass pieces – in the winter, a whole host of mesmerising handmade decorations both adorn the streets, and are available for you to purchase as a long-term memento of your holiday. Winter in Venice isn’t just about shopping, though – the city itself takes on a whole new appearance under the low sun and drifting sea fog; you won’t forget these sights in a hurry!

 

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Venice is truly transformed under the low light of winter!

 

(All prices correct as of 1st July 2019)

10th Dec – STN – VRN (06:40 – 09:40) – £25 (Ryanair) (Transfer from Verona Airport to city centre = £5.50 – ATV)

11th Dec – Verona – Venice (17:00 – 18:25) – £5 (Flixbus)

13th Dec – VCE – STN (22:00 – 23:10) – £25 (Ryanair) (Transfer to Venice Marco Polo Airport from city centre = £7.50 – ACTV)

Total = £68

 

The two largest cities within the Veneto region are of course home to many different types of lodgings – from fun hostels to elegant homestays, you can easily find your spot to rest before going out to continue your adventure. Be sure to check out our guide to safely using services like Airbnb, while new users can still get a generous £25 off from their first booking over £55 via our affiliate link here (be sure to check out our Airbnb dos and dont’s here first)!

 

Currency conversation rate (1st July 2019) – 1 GBP = 1.12 EUR

 

Please note, all the information on this page is accurate at the time of publication. If you are viewing this deal at a later date, the price and availability may no longer be as advertised.

 

Images: María Julia Martínez, Daniil Silantev, Luca Dalge, Simone Corrò

From Bayern to Čechy – A City Break with a Difference

Experience Munich, Prague and everything in-between! Read up on our summer city break plans, SHP-style!

Summer. Whether it’s chilling out on the beach or seeking out new adventures, we all love to get away form it all for a few days. Although the summer break is just around the corner, it’s not too late to get your holiday plans sorted for your amazing summer getaway. City breaks are our bread and butter, and today we’re presenting you with not one but 2 (and maybe 4!) city visits in one journey! From Bavarian brilliance to a perfect Prague finale, this trip is one of my absolute favourite routes!

 

Landing at Nuremberg (a beautiful city that we’ve previously covered in our double-barrelled Budapest review here), this adventure starts with a quick pit stop in this Bavarian city of beautiful culture and history, before going on to Munich, just over a 2 hour bus ride away. This is where the holiday really begins – Munich is often discounted as a visiting point for the budget traveller owing to the expensive costs of a direct flight from the UK to this Bavarian stalwart, however for the price of a pizza you can get a bus to the region’s capital and start exploring a city often off from the student radar!

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Munich’s streets are worth exploring, if only for their aesthetic!

Unsurprisingly, the city is a hub of art and culture. Home to one of the world’s oldest art galleries in the Alte Pinakotheken, you’ll be able to see some classic pieces by some ofthe most famous artists in history, as well as the beautiful architecture of the site itself that inspired so many well-known structures across Europe. The city’s beautiful designs extend across the streets, ranging from the picture-perfect Gothic design of the Neues Rathaus to the gorgeous open space of the English Garden – Munich is definitely an insta-friendly location! Don’t forget about the food (and beer!) – the Viktualienmarkt is a great way to experience the best ingredients on offer in Munich, and will give you an idea of what can be found across the city’s wonderful traditional restaurants and cafés. And beer? Of course! Both inside the 16th century building and outside in its gorgeous beer garden, the classic Hofbräuhaus will be a treat for your tastebuds!

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Is there anything more ‘Munich’ than a beautiful beer garden?

This is where your own choice comes in – from Munich, you can take a direct train to the Czech capital of Prague, or our extended route travels south to the idyllic Austrian city of Linz, before travelling up to the picturesque UNESCO World Heritage Site of Český Krumlov, before finally reaching Prague. Both Linz and Český Krumlov have been discussed before on Student Holiday Plans, and our must-read of a Czech adventure, including these two cities, can be found here.

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Český Krumlov is a real life fairytale city!

Finally, onto Prague. A SHP favourite, the Czech capital city is one of beauty and fun. Where else in the world would you find the Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments a few steps from the 14th century glorious Charles Bridge?! We’ve chatted about Prague once or twice, so what else is there to add? Grab a trdelník and settle down with our guides to this amazing city!

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Prague’s gorgeousness can be seen whatever mode of transport you use!

 

(All prices correct as of 27th May 2019)

 

1st August – STN – NUE (07:35 – 10:15) – £23 (Ryanair) (Transfer from Nuremberg Airport to city centre = £2.50 – VGN)

1st August – Nuremburg – Munich (15:10 – 17:20) – £7 (Flixbus)

3rd August – Munich – Linz (09:00 – 12:35) – £14 (Flixbus)

4th August – Linz – Český Krumlov (12:40 – 14:00) – £5 (Flixbus)

5th August – Český Krumlov – Prague (12:15 – 15:45) – £5 (Flixbus)

7th August – PRG – STN (20:35 – 21:35) – £19 (Ryanair) (Transfer to Prague Airport from city centre = £2.50 – Prague Public Transit Co.)

 

Total = £78

 

If you however want to spend more time in the two major cities on this route, you can follow this plan below, which features a direct train between Munich and Prague:

 

1st August – STN – NUE (07:35 – 10:15) – £23 (Ryanair) (Transfer from Nuremberg Airport to city centre = £2.50 – VGN)

1st August – Nuremburg – Munich (15:10 – 17:20) – £7 (Flixbus)

4th August – Munich – Prague (10:43 – 16:19) – £13 (cd.cz)

7th August – PRG – STN (20:35 – 21:35) – £19 (Ryanair) (Transfer to Prague Airport from city centre = £2.50 – Prague Public Transit Co.)

 

Total = £67

 

Accommodation for the major cities on this route is vast – from beautiful hotels to vibrant hostels, you can find your favourite lodging to base yourself in your city adventures! With Český Krumlov, although there are hostels available, the tourist nature of the city means that we suggest using a home-stay service, such as Airbnb, to ensure your comfort during your short stay in the gorgeous city. Be sure to check out our guide to safely using services like Airbnb, while new users can still get a generous £25 off from their first booking over £55 via our affiliate link here (be sure to check out our Airbnb dos and dont’s here first)!

 

Currency conversation rate (27th May 2019) – 1 GBP = 1.13 EUR; 29.3 CZK

 

Please note, all the information on this page is accurate at the time of publication. If you are viewing this deal at a later date, the price and availability may no longer be as advertised.

 

Images: Marvin van BeekAnastasia Dulgier, Petr Sonnenschein, Frekvence 1, Studio Reasons

Secret Spain: Northern Adventures for Summer Successes

Northern Spain is calling you! Check out our guide to some of Spain’s best kept secrets for your big summer break!

Although the weather here in the UK right now might make it feel like it’s summer already, it’s not too late to be planning your holiday getaway. While Spanish beaches and cities are on the radar of nearly every traveller, the cities in the north of the country are often missed from the travel guides. For a unique experience of culture, the northern Spanish coast can be a great place to make lasting memories.

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Spanish beaches are often unexplored delights!

The centre of this particular route focuses on the Basque capital of Bilbao. This port city is home to much more than just a thriving industrial trade – art and culture are paramount, with the Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts showcasing wonderful collections that need to be seen to be believed. The city’s old town is also a marvel, with the narrow streets hiding new surprises around every corner. The famed food within the city is equally a haven of surprise – from finding new flavours at La Ribera market to experiencing the city’s unique pintxos bars, you’ll leave with a new love of Basque cuisine.

 

The gorgeous seascapes of Santander and San Sebastián are also features of this route. The Cantabrian capital of Santander is home to a simply gorgeous coastline – if you want to escape from city life, this is the place to do it! The gardens within the beautiful Palacio de la Magdalena offer a great escape if leaving the city isn’t for you, but you still want to experience nature. San Sebastián, or Donostia, is also all about the coast. This long-term resort offers gorgeous scenery as well as incredible surroundings. From climbing up the Monte Igueldo to staying down on the sea-front, your views will definitely be picture-worthy! Be sure to take a guided tour of the city to learn all about this Basque beauty!

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The Basque Country’s unique pintxos bars have to be tasted to be believed!

 

(Prices last checked 19th April 2019)

 

4th July – SEN – BIO (06:30 – 09:10) – £15 (Ryanair) (Transfer from Bilbao Airport to city centre = £3)

5th July – Bilbao – Santander (10:30 – 12:15) – £6 (ALSA)

6th July – Santander – San Sebastián (12:30 – 16:20) – £12.50 (ALSA)

8th July – San Sebastián – Bilbao (14:10 – 15:30) – £6 (ALSA)

9th July – BIO – SEN (16:20 – 17:00) – £15 (Ryanair) (Transfer to Bilbao Airport from city centre = £3)

Total = £60.50

 

If you want to experience true Northern Spanish accommodation for less, don’t forget that Student Holiday Plans offers new Airbnb users the chance to save £25 from their first booking anywhere in the world over £55 – check out our page here explaining how!

 

Currency conversation rate (19th April 2019) – 1 GBP = 1.16 EUR

 

Please note, all the information on this page is accurate at the time of publication. If you are viewing this deal at a later date, the price and availability may no longer be as advertised.

 

Images: Jorge Fernández Salas, independent.ie, Maddi Bazzocco

Be a Homestay Hero – Avoiding Airbnb Scams and Knowing Your Rights

Don’t let your holiday be ruined by a poor homestay experience – follow our advice for a great stay in an Airbnb for your next holiday!

It’s no surprise that I love homestay opportunities like those found with Airbnb – a unique way to see a city and make lasting memories, what’s not to love? We can even provide you with a wonderful first-time offer if you’re yet to use the services of Airbnb, with new users to the site being able to get £25 off of their first homestay booking over £55, or £9 off of their first Airbnb experience over £36; check out the information on that here.

I have however found out that a couple of my friends and family would never consider staying in a homestay property, and why? They worry about the level of safety, and most often the actual genuine nature of the listings themselves. ‘Anyone can post anything online really, it’s probably a scam to get your money and leave you with nowhere to stay.’ While this is of course a valid concern, with the knowledge we’re discussing today, you can make sure that your homestay adventure is as safe and secure as possible.

The first thing to consider is the legality of staying in a homestay property in your chosen location in the first place. While you may have seen in the news that some international cities have issues with locals being priced out of the main city areas due to the bulk-buying of locations to only rent out to travellers, you may not know that some cities have increased fines and some have even banned the presence of homestay locations altogether in certain forms. New York for instance does not permit the option for whole-property rental through homestay websites (and only permanent residents are allowed to rent their home, with them still living there, for up to 30 days). Some locations do not permit the renting of properties for over a certain number of days – this is the case in Amsterdam, where whole properties can only be rented out by the hosts for 30 days a year, and only to up to 4 adults. Other cities require the property owner to gain permission from the city before renting out their space – this includes in the major European cities of Barcelona and Berlin.  This doesn’t however mean that properties still don’t pop up on booking platforms without the correct permissions or legalities. While it is of course not the fault of the traveller if correct legal procedures are not maintained, if you know you are travelling to a location that has stricter homestay rules (websites like Airbnb often discuss the rights and expectations of travellers and hosts for larger cities on their website), be sure to discuss this with your host prior to your arrival – a genuine host will definitely provide you with evidence that their property follows all local laws.

So you’ve checked you can actually stay in a homestay property in your holiday destination. Next, how can you check if a listing on a homestay website is legitimate to begin with? Checking out reviews is often the best, and quickest, way to go. Look out for listings (the more recent the better) discussing the level of contact with the host or their team – comments mentioning positive interactions with hosts are a great sign that the location is a genuine one. A great level of detail about the property itself is also a positive – this is something to consider when you review a property yourself; I always write my reviews in the mindset of showing the next traveller just what staying in the property is like. You also need to make sure that the URL you are using is actually a valid website – search through the platform itself rather than through a generic search engine to make sure you’re actually safely booking the property in the first place.

You might not always meet someone face-to-face on your trip, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the whole thing is a scam either. Contacting your host before your trip, especially if they indicate that you won’t be meeting anyone physically to hand over keys, is a good way to judge the situation – message them on the platform you are using to discuss specific details about entering the location (though you can only do this after booking). I have personally stayed in Airbnbs where I haven’t met the owner or a member of the team mentioned on the listing, but have been given clear advice and guidance due to the contact I’ve been in with them before. If you’re really concerned after making your booking, there is no shame in asking the host beforehand to prove that the pictures online are actually indicative of the place they’re renting, and that they even have access to it in the first place – if they’re genuine, they won’t take it personally!

In the slim chance you do end up booking and travelling to a fake listing or a place that looks nothing like the images provided at all, the first, and most important, thing to do is contact your homestay provider immediately. While many of these sites advise you to contact the host first, in a clear scamming situation, it is very unlikely they will respond to you. You do however have to send a message to your host on the platform to show your awareness of the issue; this is a condition of Airbnb’s refund policy. It is critical you do this as soon as possible, with Airbnb stipulating that all claims of this nature must be filed within the first 24 hours of the scheduled stay. This is also the best way to make sure you are refunded as quickly as possible – Airbnb retains all payment you have given to the host for the first day of the booking in order to ensure that you as a guest are not left high and dry in the case of a scam.

You can find more information on Airbnb’s refund policy here, and through their contact page here.

Do you have any tips and tricks to finding the best, and most legitimate homestay location that we haven’t discussed? Are you now more likely to book an Airbnb adventure (remember to check out the page here for your discount) for your next holiday? Be sure to tell us in the comments below or through our social media channels all about your homestay experiences!

 

Image: Patrick Perkins

 

Please note, all the information on this page is accurate at the time of publication. If you are viewing this article at a later date, the content discussed may no longer be as described.

Cabin (Bag) Fever

Bothered by those extra baggage fees with low-cost airlines? Worry no more with our guide to one bag, hand luggage packing, perfect for those short breaks!

Disclaimer: This post was written in January 2019, if you are reading this post at a later date the information discussed below may be inaccurate. Please check your chosen airline’s information on luggage before proceeding with your flight booking.

 

Quite often when posting a flight route on Student Holiday Plans, I’ll include a caveat about the different prices for different types of luggage. Although the flights may be as low as the price of a nice meal out, it is often these little price increases that push up the overall expenditure of a holiday. Of course for some longer journeys you just have to pay up for a higher luggage allowance, but spending over half of the cost of the flight either way for a short break is something that can easily be dealt with.

First you have to know what you’re working with. For Ryanair and Wizz Air, two of Europe’s biggest budget airlines, you get the same cabin baggage allowance for free – 40cm x 20cm x 25cm for Ryanair, and 40cm x 20cm x 30cm for Wizz Air. Now this is small, fact. It is smaller than most average-sized backpacks – be prepared to take your tape measure with you if you go out to buy a new small bag! It isn’t however beyond the realms of possibility to save money and travel on short journeys with only this bag. Check out our guide below to packing smartly to save money.

 

Clothing –

When packing for a holiday, we all often tend to think we need to bring more than we actually do. Of course for many holidays having access to facilities to wash clothes is often not available, but if you’re only planning on bringing your hand luggage with you, you need to pack smart, and often savagely.

The first stop is daywear. It might sound basic, but check the weather of your holiday location before going. If it looks like sun all week, then you don’t need to pack your winter thermals just in case. Always be sure to make room for a thin raincoat or umbrella though, since rain is ubiquitous across all ends of Europe! Don’t pack for what ‘might’ happen either – if you’re travelling with fixed plans in mind for activities, then create your outfits for those days before you pack. Don’t just pack three or four different versions of an outfit for the sake of choice.

If you’re going somewhere with a nightlife that you want to experience, consider items that can double up as day and nightwear. Jean-like trousers are a perfectly example of something that can be worn all day and not look out of place – though beware, denim can be notoriously hard to compactly pack!

Now onto accessories. This can be chargers, brushes or other electronic equipment. These are surprisingly some of the hardest items to pack, as they’re simply not flexible or ‘squashable’. Always pack these things last, since you’ll know what kind of space you’re working with. Detach wires from their plugs if possible, and place them in the little gaps that will always appear. Don’t forget plug adaptors – it’s very unlikely you’ll find these in your holiday destination outside of being overly priced at an airport. As a note, some devices, including laptops and tablets, will need to go through airport security out of your bag, so don’t bury it at the bottom of your bag and forget about it.

Finally, a day sack, or handbag. While in the past you’ve been able to have your hand luggage and a ‘personal bag’ separately, you may now find yourself with just one bag as your carry-on. This may mean that your usual handbag or rucksack will simply be too large to bring with you. You don’t however need to re-pack everything already in your bag into a smaller receptacle. Be clinical with your packing – your essentials are few; you need money or means (debit or credit cards), your house and car key, if parked at the airport (there’s no need to bring all of your keys with you – they’re just taking up room, and you’ll have more to lose if your keys go missing on your holiday) and your passport (which, like your home keys, can easily stay in your main travel bag whenever you’re out of an airport) as necessities. You may also want to consider bringing items including a shopping bag (you may be visiting a country that has a carrier bag charge similar to that of the UK), a small map of your area (though we would advise downloading a map onto your phone that you can use offline), or a pen and small notepad. For such a short journey, everything that you normally have in your bag as ‘just in case’ items are very unlikely to be used, and will just take up room.

 

Toiletries –

The universal EU rulings concerning liquids (including aerosols, ‘pastes’ eg. lipstick and gels) in hand luggage already place a limit on what you can travel with. All containers must be under 100ml, and must all fit in one 20cm x 20cm transparent plastic bag. If you want more information on this, check out the official information here.  This is something that can however be advantageous to the ‘hand luggage only’ traveller. Which such a small existing limit, you can easily make room for more items of clothing, or additional items that you may have had to leave behind.

If you want to make even more room through your travel toiletries, we have a few more tips. Our first is to think about just how small you can go with travel-sized products. For example, while most make up products are under 100ml or are compact, think about collecting a few free samples from locations that offer in-store beauty services, or from online free sample releases – there’s no point packing up your entire make up collection when you only need a tiny quantity of make up in relation to your length of journey. This works especially well with scents and perfumes – a tiny sample of perfume is perfect for a few days away, and saves you from trying to pack up your bulky full-sized perfume bottle in that small liquids bag. If you’re travelling with others, it’s also worth considering splitting up the essential toiletries that you’ll all be using. Things like shampoo and toothpaste can easily be shared, giving everyone more room in their luggage. Of course, if you have a bit more money to spend, you can purchase all of your necessary toiletries when you touch down in your holiday location, avoiding any issues with size and allowing for more space in your luggage. Just remember you can’t bring anything back with you if you do this!

As a last note, if you don’t have enough room in your bag to place your toiletries – in the regulated plastic bag – in the top of your bag pre-packed (or if you don’t have a bag itself), you can always save room and stick the tubes, sprays and sticks into small gaps or little side-pockets in your bag when originally packing, and a spend a couple of minutes before going through security re-packing your toiletries.

 

Here is an example toiletries bag, with its contents listed below:

 

 

  • Shower gel
  • Spray deodorant
  • Dry shampoo
  • Mouthwash
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Foundation/concealer
  • Shampoo x 2
  • Conditioner x 2

 

We’re going to demonstrate a couple of different luggage options to help you visualise – and actually prove – what can be packed – as a note, toiletries aren’t included in these examples.

The first is an over-the-shoulder travel bag measuring (when empty) at 35cm x 20cm x 20cm – this is below the limits for Ryanair and Wizz Air.

 

 

 

 

This bag has been packed for an autumn/winter journey for 3 days/4 nights. Below the images is an itinerary for the content of the bag:

 

 

 

 

Content =

  • 3 pairs underwear
  • 2 pairs socks
  • Thermal tights
  • Bra
  • Night-shirt
  • T-shirt
  • Jean-like trousers (but not denim – a very bulky material)
  • Dress
  • Long shirt (can be worn as dress)
  • Hairbrush
  • Plug adaptor

 

  • Handbag – containing:
  • Purse
  • Passport
  • Keys
  • Tablet strips (paracetamol and ibuprofen)
  • Umbrella
  • Shopping bag
  • Pen

 

This is not considering the items already being worn – bulkier clothes, large jumpers, jackets and coats don’t need to be packed, and even if you don’t need to wear it, you can carry it through the entire experience with no issues. Items including chargers could definitely fit within this bag also (that’s our fault for not checking twice when packing!)

 

 

 

 

The next bag is a backpack, measuring (when empty) at 40cm x 22cm x 20cm. This time we’re going with a summer trip for 3 nights/4 days. Again, below the images is an itinerary for the content of the bag:

 

 

 

 

Content =

  • 3 pairs underwear
  • 1 pair socks
  • 2 pairs pop-socks
  • Tights
  • Bra
  • Night-shirt
  • 3 T-shirts
  • Skirt
  • Shorts
  • Jumpsuit
  • Hairbrush
  • Plug adaptor

 

  • Handbag – containing:
  • Purse
  • Passport
  • Keys
  • Tablet strips (paracetamol and ibuprofen)
  • Umbrella
  • Shopping bag
  • Pen

 

While you might not have a coat with you in the summer, you can still carry around a jumper or thin jacket in the same way you can with a bigger coat in the winter. Again, a charger would fit fine in this bag too!

 

We asked our followers on social media for their favourite tips and tricks for travelling light, here are a few:

 

yvonne

precious

heather

 

Of course, if you need more room for your luggage, there are many options that are offered by budget airlines for additional luggage. Often the best of these can be found when booking your flights – both Ryanair and Wizz Air offer a ‘priority’ package that entitles a passenger to 2 bags in the cabin; your small bag described above, and a larger bag sized 55cm x 40cm x 23cm for Wizz Air, or 55cm x 40cm x 20cm for Ryanair, as well as the opportunity to board the plane first. This is at a cost of £5 and £6 respectively. However, any time after this, this package increases to up to £15 and £10 respectively. Regarding Ryanair, there is however a limit on the number of passengers that can purchase the priority package per flight. This is usually around half of the expected passenger numbers per flight eg. 99 passengers out of 198 expected can obtain priority. If you find yourself on the wrong side of this, then the next larger luggage option is a 10kg checked bag for £10 at booking, and up to £12 afterwards. This bag is at the same dimensions of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm.

 

There you have it, our tips and tricks for travelling with the budget airlines without having to spend more on bags. Let us know in the comments if you have any advice for the ‘hand luggage only’ traveller!

 

ABC – A Bucharest Charm

Bucharest is one of Europe’s best hidden capital cities! Check out our guide to touring this Romanian recluse – ‘I-a picat fața!’

Earlier this week, we gave you a brilliant introductory guide to volunteering abroad, written by our guest blogger Astrid. If you haven’t had chance to read it yet, check it out here!

It got me to thinking about locations in Europe that can be visited by those who want to experience a unique ‘voluntourism’ experience as well as visit an area for fun. Romania is one of the best locations for volunteering abroad in Europe. From performing arts roles to conservation research, Romania can be one of the most beautiful places to visit that’s only a few hours from home. Be sure to check out advice from VSO if you want to learn more!

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Volunteering abroad can be a unique and humbling experience!

From a tourist point of view though, Romania’s capital, Bucharest, is undeniably a haven for the student traveller. Beautiful landscapes border a wonderful city structure, with so much accessible by foot. If you want to get further out into the surrounding area, Bucharest has brilliant public transport links that can allow you to explore as much as you want – for a very reasonable price!

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You can zip around Bucharest by tram!

 

Bucharest, like many Eastern European cities, displays glorious historic architecture alongside relics from the recent communist era. This is all documented in heritage sites across the city, from the former residences of national leaders to tours routed around the locations of revolution. You can leave Bucharest with a real understanding of modern-day Romania and the challenges faced by the nation today.

Don’t forget about all the food and drink you can find in Bucharest! From Mahala, a contemporary Romanian restaurant offering the best of the local cuisine, to the gorgeous Linea rooftop bar overlooking the city, you can experience the best culinary vibes that Bucharest has to offer without breaking the bank!

 

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Be sure to take a break in one of many of Bucharest’s green spaces!

The flights below are with Wizz Air – Wizz Air offer a lucrative deal with their Discount Club. For €30 a year, a named traveller and their companion can benefit from a significant discount on flights, as well as luggage deals. For €60 a year, this can extend to a named traveller and up to five others getting this deal. In this instance, there is a 40% discount in the comparative price – travelling more frequently with Wizz Air will allow you to quickly earn back this initial cost!

Like many other budget airlines, Wizz Air have recently changed their baggage policy. All passengers are entitled to one free cabin bag (40cm x 30cm x 20cm), while those who purchase Priority at £6.50 per flight will also be entitled to an additional bag (55cm x 40cm x 23cm). Aside from this, a 10kg bag (149cm x 119 cm x 171cm) costs £10 per flight.

 

(Prices last checked 17th January 2019)

18th March – LTN – OTP (08:55 – 14:10) – £10/£16 (Wizz Air – the lower price is with the Discount Club) (Transfer from Bucharest Otopeni Airport to city centre = 50p)

21st March – OTP – LTN (21:35 – 23:15) – £10/£16 (Wizz Air – the lower price is with the Discount Club) (Transfer to Bucharest Otopeni Airport from city centre = 50p)

Total = £21/£33

 

Currency conversion rate (17th January 2019) – 1 GBP = 5.32 RON

 

Images: rawpixel.comEduard BalanAlexandru Stavrică

 

Please note, all the information on this page is accurate at the time of publication.
If you are viewing this deal at a later date, the price and availability may no longer be as advertised.