**This budget does not include travel costs, however, I will always include how much it cost for the both of us to get to said break.**
As my partner and I are both students, working various low paying jobs and saving for a wedding, getting away for a night or two comes with a multitude of issues. The main issue being cost and our love for just ignoring any sort of financial restraints we attempt to put on ourselves when we do go away. So we looked at our budget and decided to see what £100 would get us in various places across the UK (well, for now). Cardiff is the closest major city so it seemed like the most logical place to start the journey.
Travel(not included in the £100):
Megabus- £6 each. Total: £12
It’s no secret that hotel prices are a minefield and finding a single price that is the best deal feels impossible. There are ways around this, but it requires planning and the ability to be forward sometimes. We were lucky due to the fact that we planned this trip around a Thursday meaning that the prices were already dropped. We ended up paying £37.50 for a Travel Lodge in the centre of Cardiff. This is how we did it. We created a throwaway email account solely to use for holiday planning and started signing up for the newsletters for all of the hotels that had the option. We got an email fairly quickly from Travel Lodge saying there was a sale on rooms across the country for £50 a night, which was the cheapest price for a central hotel at the time that we could find (outside of hostels). The Travel Lodge has a policy that means you can cancel the room up until midday the day of. So, we booked the room and left it until we were on the coach to Cardiff. Then, at about 10 am, we checked the website and saw that there were still rooms available and the price had been knocked down to £45. Seeing the price drop, I rang up and just simply asked what the best deal they could do for a room that evening was. They quoted £37.50, so we booked it and cancelled our original booking. If we were feeling more ballsy we may have held off making a booking at all, but neither of us had the nerve to do that just yet, so this was the safest way of guaranteeing the cheapest price.
We needed lunch and dinner for two days and then breakfast for the following day. Before we left, we made sure we packed a few pot noodles to make sure that if we royally messed up we’d still have something to eat, even if it wasn’t the greatest meal. Here is where we made the most use of our smartphones.
Lunch day 1:
We downloaded the Greggs app and saw that there was an offer for a free coffee and a free chilled drink for new customers. With drinks sorted, we decided to stick with Greggs and bought two sausage rolls for £1.
Tea day 1:
We were pretty tired by the time we were hungry in the evening so going out to eat wasn’t the most appealing option. We started looking online for Dilveroo codes when I found this amazing app called Too good to leave. This app basically lets restaurants put food that would otherwise be thrown away onto the app, you pay a set amount, turn up at the dedicated time and you get given a box of food. There were so many options in Cardiff from Sushi to local bakeries but we settled on an all you can eat place called FeD. We paid £2.99 each and got given a box and were allowed to wander around the restaurant to fill our boxes with whatever we want. There were two slots we were able to collect food at, between 3:45-4 and between 10.45-11.00, we chose the latter.
Breakfast day 2:
We wanted to leave the hotel early, we decided to shower and get back into Cardiff. My partner finds it hard to stomach hot food in the morning, so we decided to go to a Poundland get 2 drinks for a £1 and a box of cereal bars.
Lunch day 2:
We had another look online when we started to get hungry again. We saw that Ed’s Easy Diner had an offer of a free burger when you buy a drink if you sign up to the newsletter. We had a look at the drink prices and found that two drinks would cost just under a fiver and decided to go for it.
We’ve always got on the Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour when we’ve been able to as it’s somewhat of a tradition for us. It’s something that we couldn’t really compromise on, so we had to do it as cheaply as possible. For 2 student tickets, when booked online it was £19, we also had the added bonus of getting 10% for having previous tickets. This meant we spent £17 but also meant we could freely get around the city as well as getting to the waterfront, something that would be take around 40 minutes on foot. We got off at almost every stop over the two days we were there (tickets run for 24 hours) and spent nothing else on things like admissions as the entry to all the museums were free.
We spent £3 in a Krispy Kreme on two doughnuts and two drinks (using the free and BOGOF offers on the Krispy Kreme app)
We spent £10 each buying each other gifts, another tradition we’ve always done. We will leave each other for half an hour, have a wander around the city and buy each other something unusual.
Total Cost of the Trip: £91.50
There were obvious ways we could cut costs further and perhaps different ways in which we could have spent our budget but this was the first time we’d ever set ourselves a proper budget on a getaway and I’m pretty confident that if we sat down and planned things like food before we travelled down we’d of been able to cut that cost down even further. The next trip we take, we’re hoping to try 2 days on £100 something which will no doubt be much much harder.