Having done several city breaks before with some being organised by package holiday suppliers I have often found that I have been in fact paying more for the convenience of letting someone else organise it for me, you will be surprised how much you can save by booking your own independent city break and have some much more choice on where to stay and who to fly with! In this post I am going to give you my guide for how to book a own city break that way you want it!
Note that a lot of the sites you will read of in this post have been mentioned before in one of my previous posts, about which sites I use for travel. However this post goes more so into how to use them and in what order to make sure you have everything you need organised!
The easiest way to properly organise and book the elements of your trip, is to break them down by what they are;
The main parts of your trip will be:
- Your flights or major transportation to and from the place you are visiting
- Where you are staying while there.. be it a hotel, motel or Holiday Inn!
Other things you may think of booking:
- Reserved airport or train station parking?
- Airport lounges passes?
- Transfers at your destination, be it one way or return pickup?
- Activities you want to do whilst there?
Using my latest trip I have booked to Belgrade, Serbia that I am visiting later on in the year I will go through the end to end process I went through to get everything I needed organised!
Step 1: Get your main transport sorted!
By main transport I don’t mean the taxi across town, I am talking about your main transport from your home country to the place you are wanting to go to in whichever country it is! This could be a bus, train, ferry or a plane!
For me living on the island of Blighty!, my first stop would be ‘Skyscanner‘ to see where I can fly to.. I put my home airport into the first search box, which is Manchester and then the country of the place I want to go to, followed by some rough dates on when I want to travel.
The returns on this search will give me a few details; where I can fly direct or indirect to, what days and I fly and who I can fly with! Once I am happy with the returns and using a private browser, I will check the details I put in direct with whichever airline came up in the Skyscanner search to see if its any cheaper! many times it has ended up being slightly cheaper!
The same method can be adopted if you needed a bus, train or ferry to get where you want to go, however I would recommend searching through ‘Rome2Rio’ and then checking with the sites it returns directly to see if it is cheaper!
Step 2: Now you can get there, get somewhere to stay!
You’ve got the most important part of the trip sorted, now you need somewhere to stay!
Depending on your budget you may want your own private hotel room or if you are wanting to save money on accommodation, opt for a multi-person share hostel!
For hotel rooms search on booking.com to see what is in the place you are going to, for dorm rooms search HostelWorld.com. Just be sure to enter the date that you arrive into the place you are staying as your check in date and then the date you leave as your check out!
Both booking.com and hostelworld.com have the ability to filter your results, accommodation rating, facilities, location to centre and cost, so just toggle each variable to suit what you are after!
Step 3: You can get there and have somewhere to stay, what are you going to do whilst you are there?
Once you know how long you are staying in the place you have booked, you can start planning what you want to do and see whilst you are there.. the easiest way I have found to do this to get the most out of your time is just by spending a bit of time on Google, looking at results from a search like ‘things to do in …’
To help make sure that you see everything that you want to see, I would also write down either on your phone or on paper a day to day itinerary, kind of like this…
Day 1 – [ARRIVAL DAY], Museum A, Bar A, Restaurant A
Day 2 – Bar B, Bar C, Park A, Restaurant B
Day 3 – Museum B, Bar D, Restaurant C
Day 4 – Park B, [DEPARTURE DAY]
To help you make the most of your time I would also recommend going one step beyond this and even using Google or Apple Maps and finding what is geographically close to each other and planning accordingly! This way you are sure to see everything you want to see!
Step 4: All the main stuff is sorted, now just to book some small things!
With the main stuff out of the way, all I would look at getting booked now is small things like home airport/train station parking, airport lounge passes and airport/train station transfers, if any of these are required for you!
If you require any parking at the station or airport, try and find a parking site that is no on the actual site but off site.. unless it is on an offer I can almost guarantee that it will be cheaper to park away from the station or airport than on. Also don’t forget to factor in some additional time both prior to your flight/train etc. and also when you return so you don’t encounter any overstaying fee’s!
Prior to arriving at your destination I would recommend searching online at what is the best transport option is to get to where you are staying.. most of the time if I am in a destination where I get data service on my phone and it is available, I will often use Uber to get there. Before returning to go home I will try and figure out a cheaper public transport option if one is available during my stay in the place I am at so I am not having to pay for 2 more expensive Uber rides!
I hope that you have found this guide to booking your own European city break useful and easy to follow! Europe is an amazing continent to not only live on but also frequently visit other parts of it and I recommend to everyone I meet to come and see as much of it as they can!
What are you tips for booking your own city breaks? Let me know in the comments below!