Author Topic: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?  (Read 1554 times)

sea_saw

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Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« on: November 08, 2017, 04:37:28 AM »
I need more travel in my life, and obviously being on this forum, would prefer to do it on the cheap. Most of the stuff I see on travel hacking on this forum seems to be US-centric, using US credit cards and rewards programmes for mostly domestic US travel.

I have friends who have travelled for very cheap through knowing people in lots of places - mostly through academic/professional networks. But my friends are pretty concentrated in a few places that I already go semi regularly.

I am subscribed to a mailing list for cheap air fares and have seen some great deals go by there (the free version of the Scott's Cheap Flights mailing list, if anyone's interested), and have promised myself that next year I'll just pick one and go.

Anyone have any tips and tricks they'd like to share?

KCM5

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2017, 06:36:16 AM »
Travel hacking exists in the UK - its called buying a cheap flight!

Ryanair, Easy Jet, etc have really really cheap flights - you can still go places for 20 pounds, right? Those flights just don't exist in the US. Budget airlines are starting to become a thing, but you could never fly the distance of London to Istanbul for 40 pounds.

I don't live in the UK anymore, so I'm sure other people will chime in with actual suggestions :)

cerat0n1a

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2017, 07:56:19 AM »
There's websites like secretflying.com that will highlight interesting long-haul deals (and if you google something like "error fares uk" you might find other such sites.) In general, though, the low margins on budget airline fares and the low margins on bank account/card costs in the UK (Americans pay quite a bit in fees for banking) mean there isn't much scope for travel hacking.

sea_saw

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2017, 10:02:00 AM »
Yes, I did some researching on long haul deals/error fares sites, and settled on the Scott's Cheap Flights mailing list. But there are a few good ones from what I could see.

For short haul flights, you definitely can get them cheap on budget airlines and I've taken advantage of that occasionally. For environmental reasons for (comparatively) short distances, I prefer to take the train (!), which I've also done quite a lot of and enjoyed a lot. To anyone else thinking of it, I can't recommend this website enough: https://www.seat61.com/

It makes sense that the travel perks in the US are powered by the high fees there. I've been wondering how they can afford it.

daverobev

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2017, 11:36:50 AM »
You can get to a lot of the very interesting world very cheaply from the UK. "Unfortunately" there are caps on credit card fees so the sign up bonuses available in the US just aren't there.

It's a good thing generally, but bad for churners.

You should check out manufactured spending (I read stuff a while ago alluding to ways of doing that successfully in the UK, but I don't remember where). And also the possibility of taking gambling sites for a ride. Needs research though.

It's basically a part time job. Do a cost/benefit.
Great Canadian Rebates good extra sign up bonuses on credit cards, among other things

Tangerine Orange Key: 48322202S1. Honestly I prefer Simplii (was PC Financial) to Tangerine, but you get $50 for signing up (and so do I), so whatever. Simplii is a stupid name.

Moiser

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2017, 09:24:22 PM »
Hey Sea_saw, did you have anything semi specific in mind?

Megabus is a worth a look if you wanted to get into Europe cheaply, although it wouldn't cost a huge amount more for a budget flight.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2017, 09:32:31 PM »
AMEX has a couple cards of interest on offer in the UK. Much worse than stateside, but better than nothing. I took this picture on the tube a few weeks back:


cerat0n1a

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2017, 12:27:29 AM »
Many retailers won't take AMEX, and it's not uncommon to see a surcharge for AMEX transactions here. It's probably only valuable if you travel a lot on business (i.e. to places where the card is more useful.) The fee is somewhere around £140 per year, so it's only really worth it if you are likely to use some of the other benefits too.

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2017, 01:37:27 AM »
I know I for one am always jealous of the deals our US MMM's score...

I've actually got a fair few BA miles, and you know what, it's really hard to use them. You have to pay so much for taxes and charges, I've never had an occurrence when it's cheaper to use the miles...but I do really need to work out how to use them.

KCM5

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2017, 06:13:53 AM »
I know I for one am always jealous of the deals our US MMM's score...

I've actually got a fair few BA miles, and you know what, it's really hard to use them. You have to pay so much for taxes and charges, I've never had an occurrence when it's cheaper to use the miles...but I do really need to work out how to use them.

When I had BA miles, I used them cheaply by avoiding the UK. UK flight legs had huge surcharges. But since you're in the UK, that probably wouldn't make sense to you!

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2017, 11:09:39 AM »
I know I for one am always jealous of the deals our US MMM's score...

I've actually got a fair few BA miles, and you know what, it's really hard to use them. You have to pay so much for taxes and charges, I've never had an occurrence when it's cheaper to use the miles...but I do really need to work out how to use them.

When I had BA miles, I used them cheaply by avoiding the UK. UK flight legs had huge surcharges. But since you're in the UK, that probably wouldn't make sense to you!

So they are better to use on non UK flights then? Will bear that in mind..

Paul der Krake

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2017, 02:27:59 PM »
Many retailers won't take AMEX, and it's not uncommon to see a surcharge for AMEX transactions here. It's probably only valuable if you travel a lot on business (i.e. to places where the card is more useful.) The fee is somewhere around £140 per year, so it's only really worth it if you are likely to use some of the other benefits too.
Travel hacking is usually about getting the bonuses. The long-term value of the card is largely irrelevant.

UKMustache

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2017, 02:20:13 AM »
Many retailers won't take AMEX, and it's not uncommon to see a surcharge for AMEX transactions here. It's probably only valuable if you travel a lot on business (i.e. to places where the card is more useful.) The fee is somewhere around £140 per year, so it's only really worth it if you are likely to use some of the other benefits too.

I know we're talking about airmiles but the Amex platinum every day cashback card doesn't have a fee and pays 1% cashback providing you spend £5k per year. 

There's an offer on at the minute for 5% cashback for the first 3 months.  We've got one and use it for all our fuel, trains and any large purchases.

The only place I shop regularly that doesn't accept it is Aldi, all the other supermarkets, petrol stations, rail companies etc accept it without any additional charges. 

cerat0n1a

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2017, 04:19:06 AM »
I know we're talking about airmiles but the Amex platinum every day cashback card doesn't have a fee and pays 1% cashback providing you spend £5k per year. 

There's an offer on at the minute for 5% cashback for the first 3 months.  We've got one and use it for all our fuel, trains and any large purchases.

The only place I shop regularly that doesn't accept it is Aldi, all the other supermarkets, petrol stations, rail companies etc accept it without any additional charges.

That seems like a pretty good deal. I think the fact that there are websites devoted to listing places in the UK that take Amex tells its own story. Certainly when I've had American visitors, they've often had tales about not being able to pay hotel bills with Amex (although possibly some more general confusion from staff about how to handle 1950s-style US bank cards was more to blame.)

Last time I looked (couple of years ago), B&Q, Ikea, BT, Sky, my son's university wouldn't take it and there were certainly high street places like H&M that didn't and very few independent shops or places selling low value items.  Elsewhere in Europe, it's even less accepted - understandably so.

I think the UK government has put all of the card providers on notice that merchant fees will be investigated at the same time that they announced plans to make credit card surcharges illegal. So I assume Amex has had to cut its charges to retailers to try to stay viable.

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2017, 07:55:56 AM »
I know we're talking about airmiles but the Amex platinum every day cashback card doesn't have a fee and pays 1% cashback providing you spend £5k per year. 

There's an offer on at the minute for 5% cashback for the first 3 months.  We've got one and use it for all our fuel, trains and any large purchases.

The only place I shop regularly that doesn't accept it is Aldi, all the other supermarkets, petrol stations, rail companies etc accept it without any additional charges.

That seems like a pretty good deal. I think the fact that there are websites devoted to listing places in the UK that take Amex tells its own story. Certainly when I've had American visitors, they've often had tales about not being able to pay hotel bills with Amex (although possibly some more general confusion from staff about how to handle 1950s-style US bank cards was more to blame.)

Last time I looked (couple of years ago), B&Q, Ikea, BT, Sky, my son's university wouldn't take it and there were certainly high street places like H&M that didn't and very few independent shops or places selling low value items.  Elsewhere in Europe, it's even less accepted - understandably so.

I think the UK government has put all of the card providers on notice that merchant fees will be investigated at the same time that they announced plans to make credit card surcharges illegal. So I assume Amex has had to cut its charges to retailers to try to stay viable.

Yeah, doesn't everyone have that Amex?


UKMustache

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2017, 08:45:34 AM »
Yeah, doesn't everyone have that Amex?

I think a lot of people still think it's hard to use...

I never understood how just saying 'do you take Amex' whenever you buy something isn't worth a couple of hundred £ per year.

Christof

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2017, 05:41:12 PM »
A lot of European miles and points collection focuses on premium travel rather than cheap travel, so likely not what you want. Taxes and surcharges are a lot higher here when redeeming miles, while sign up bonus are significantly lower. You are always cheaper off getting a paid  ticket if you don't mind travelling light and flying.

poppydog

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2017, 01:09:23 AM »
Yeah, doesn't everyone have that Amex?

I think a lot of people still think it's hard to use...

I never understood how just saying 'do you take Amex' whenever you buy something isn't worth a couple of hundred £ per year.

Me too!  I have an Amex platinum credit card.  Thereís a £25 annual charge but I get 1.5% cash back which nets me about £400 each year.  The only place I regularly shop that doesnít accept it is Aldi.

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2017, 01:19:01 AM »
Yeah, doesn't everyone have that Amex?

I think a lot of people still think it's hard to use...

I never understood how just saying 'do you take Amex' whenever you buy something isn't worth a couple of hundred £ per year.


Me too!  I have an Amex platinum credit card.  Thereís a £25 annual charge but I get 1.5% cash back which nets me about £400 each year.  The only place I regularly shop that doesnít accept it is Aldi.

Yeah Aldi & Lidl don't (but they never even used to take credit cards), but Primark does :). I just ask nowadays, and have my backup Mastercard ready. Interesting all companies I've worked for gave an Amex as a corporate card, except one bank which didn't issue Amex....and most places you'd need expense things took Amex no problem, especially all the big ones like hotels and travel.

poppydog

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2017, 01:59:01 AM »
Ha ha - DaD, I could have written the exact same post!

tawyer

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2017, 07:33:04 AM »
I know I for one am always jealous of the deals our US MMM's score...

I've actually got a fair few BA miles, and you know what, it's really hard to use them. You have to pay so much for taxes and charges, I've never had an occurrence when it's cheaper to use the miles...but I do really need to work out how to use them.

When I had BA miles, I used them cheaply by avoiding the UK. UK flight legs had huge surcharges. But since you're in the UK, that probably wouldn't make sense to you!

So they are better to use on non UK flights then? Will bear that in mind..
It's not the points per se, it's the taxes/fees/surcharges that come after you have "paid" for the flight with points. Comparing transatlantic to London or Dublin, the points usage is the same, but the difference in taxes/fees/surcharges is several hundred dollars, which is, incidentally, several hundred dollars more than a cheap flight from Dublin to UK mainland where the fees are much lower. I'm sure it's similar for other airports within a cheap flight, but I've only compared DUB and LON.

watchingthewheel

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #21 on: November 14, 2017, 03:26:15 PM »
Good UK site for tips and tricks to collect travel points (Avios etc)

http://www.headforpoints.com/

Cheers

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2017, 04:08:19 AM »
The BA reward flight saver (RFS) are pretty good for local-ish flights. You pay a fixed £35 in fees for a return flight.

But I get my points for free with work, and am happy to play around with churning cards for points sign up bonuses. If not for this, I'd use a cashback card.

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2017, 07:10:27 AM »
The BA reward flight saver (RFS) are pretty good for local-ish flights. You pay a fixed £35 in fees for a return flight.

But I get my points for free with work, and am happy to play around with churning cards for points sign up bonuses. If not for this, I'd use a cashback card.

I might have to look into the Reward Saver flights, and start using my miles...it looks like the least worst option.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #24 on: November 17, 2017, 12:53:18 AM »
The BA reward flight saver (RFS) are pretty good for local-ish flights. You pay a fixed £35 in fees for a return flight.

But I get my points for free with work, and am happy to play around with churning cards for points sign up bonuses. If not for this, I'd use a cashback card.

I might have to look into the Reward Saver flights, and start using my miles...it looks like the least worst option.

They are perfect for relatively last minute travel when the cash price of tickets is high, and the budget airlines are sold out.

I used one for a long-weekend trip to Denmark that I booked the week before. There is no way I would have gone for the £300 cash ticket, but for £35 plus points it was affordable for me.

I often find that using points for things like gift cards (or wine for gifts with Avios) works out as well as using them for travel. The conventional wisdom with Head for Points et al is that you get best value using points for intercontinental business class flights - but there is no way in the world that I'd be buying those tickets for cash, so it is a false comparison. If I knew that they weren't going to change the redemption cost of flights, I'd be hoarding points for when I FIRE and can be more flexible with dates and have more time for travel.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #25 on: December 01, 2017, 04:04:44 PM »
As this thread exists, I thought I'd pop in for a bit of advice. We want to go to Rome for a week (mid-week to mid-week) in January. I'm looking at the following costs for two people:

Return flights from London for £159 total (hand luggage only, no choice of seats)
Ä80 on taxis to and from the airport in Rome (getting the train to Roma Termini and then a taxi seems equally expensive, getting a train and then a bus and then walking will send my husband's blood pressure through the roof)
£350-£400 on a one bedroom/studio flat AirBNB
£400 spending money, mainly on delicious, delicious food (aim to eat one meal out per day at a plat du jour type place and cook the other two in the AirBNB) and one or two museum entries. In an ideal world we'd certainly spend more (again, on delicious, delicious food) but this seems like a reasonable amount to enjoy ourselves without bankrupting ourselves.

So around £1000 total for the week. Any tips on cost-cutting?

We're about to put down a hefty deposit on something so could swing a credit card for points if it were around £1000 minimum spend, but above that I'd be a bit wary of not making our money back enough on it to make it worth the hassle. I'm going to have a look at headforpoints.com but if anyone can point me towards anything specific I'd be very grateful.

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #26 on: December 01, 2017, 11:52:31 PM »
As this thread exists, I thought I'd pop in for a bit of advice. We want to go to Rome for a week (mid-week to mid-week) in January. I'm looking at the following costs for two people:

Return flights from London for £159 total (hand luggage only, no choice of seats)
Ä80 on taxis to and from the airport in Rome (getting the train to Roma Termini and then a taxi seems equally expensive, getting a train and then a bus and then walking will send my husband's blood pressure through the roof)
£350-£400 on a one bedroom/studio flat AirBNB
£400 spending money, mainly on delicious, delicious food (aim to eat one meal out per day at a plat du jour type place and cook the other two in the AirBNB) and one or two museum entries. In an ideal world we'd certainly spend more (again, on delicious, delicious food) but this seems like a reasonable amount to enjoy ourselves without bankrupting ourselves.

So around £1000 total for the week. Any tips on cost-cutting?

We're about to put down a hefty deposit on something so could swing a credit card for points if it were around £1000 minimum spend, but above that I'd be a bit wary of not making our money back enough on it to make it worth the hassle. I'm going to have a look at headforpoints.com but if anyone can point me towards anything specific I'd be very grateful.

Rome is amazing, a great city to visit and so much to do! I ended up with a newfound appreciation of art from a trip there. People complained about the prices, but it was much cheaper than London then, maybe not now the pound has tanked.

On expenses, those flights seem pricy for no frills in January, do you have specific dates you need to travel on?
Taxis? If you are going for a week with just hand luggage, where is the rush? Can't you get the bus?

PhilB

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #27 on: December 02, 2017, 12:11:57 AM »
Can we take it as read that you've already got / are applying for a credit card that gives clean FX rates with no transaction charges for foreign currency transactions?

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #28 on: December 02, 2017, 12:50:17 AM »
The last time I looked, a lot of the travel portals were still charging significant amounts to use credit cards (which I think is not allowed, but somehow they still are). I'd check the fees before applying for a credit card specifically for this purchase.

The Halifax Clarity credit card is what I use for overseas spending, clean rates, no charge for taking cash out of a cash point (although interest is charged from the day of the transaction, not the billing date, so best to pay off when you get home). Airport rates have become offensively bad lately.

If food is what you are aiming to optimise, you could look into package deals on including flights and hotels with breakfast, which could come out cheaper than your flights plus airBnB (watch out for city taxes though) and eat two meals out a day? Expedia have some options in the historic centre.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #29 on: December 02, 2017, 12:59:53 AM »
As this thread exists, I thought I'd pop in for a bit of advice. We want to go to Rome for a week (mid-week to mid-week) in January. I'm looking at the following costs for two people:

Return flights from London for £159 total (hand luggage only, no choice of seats)
Ä80 on taxis to and from the airport in Rome (getting the train to Roma Termini and then a taxi seems equally expensive, getting a train and then a bus and then walking will send my husband's blood pressure through the roof)
£350-£400 on a one bedroom/studio flat AirBNB
£400 spending money, mainly on delicious, delicious food (aim to eat one meal out per day at a plat du jour type place and cook the other two in the AirBNB) and one or two museum entries. In an ideal world we'd certainly spend more (again, on delicious, delicious food) but this seems like a reasonable amount to enjoy ourselves without bankrupting ourselves.

So around £1000 total for the week. Any tips on cost-cutting?

We're about to put down a hefty deposit on something so could swing a credit card for points if it were around £1000 minimum spend, but above that I'd be a bit wary of not making our money back enough on it to make it worth the hassle. I'm going to have a look at headforpoints.com but if anyone can point me towards anything specific I'd be very grateful.

Rome is amazing, a great city to visit and so much to do! I ended up with a newfound appreciation of art from a trip there. People complained about the prices, but it was much cheaper than London then, maybe not now the pound has tanked.

On expenses, those flights seem pricy for no frills in January, do you have specific dates you need to travel on?
Taxis? If you are going for a week with just hand luggage, where is the rush? Can't you get the bus?

I thought the flights seemed pretty expensive, but the 'poster price' was £20 per person each way (cheapest date in January!) but then taxes and fees and what have you added up.

I couldn't find any information about a bus straight from the airport to the city centre. My husband is a dreadful traveller so I'm willing to spend a bit of money to not have him so stressed out by the journey he takes the whole holiday to recover from getting there, but I would like to make an informed choice! Do you know anything about where to find out about such a bus?

Can we take it as read that you've already got / are applying for a credit card that gives clean FX rates with no transaction charges for foreign currency transactions?

Do you mean for spending money? We'll take cash, bought in the UK. Very important for easy visual budgeting on holiday, we have found.

The last time I looked, a lot of the travel portals were still charging significant amounts to use credit cards (which I think is not allowed, but somehow they still are). I'd check the fees before applying for a credit card specifically for this purchase.

The Halifax Clarity credit card is what I use for overseas spending, clean rates, no charge for taking cash out of a cash point (although interest is charged from the day of the transaction, not the billing date, so best to pay off when you get home). Airport rates have become offensively bad lately.

If food is what you are aiming to optimise, you could look into package deals on including flights and hotels with breakfast, which could come out cheaper than your flights plus airBnB (watch out for city taxes though) and eat two meals out a day? Expedia have some options in the historic centre.

Interesting on package deals. I will do a bit of research and consult with my husband. We have enjoyed AirBNBs in the past for the "hanging out" potential - chilling out in basically a spartan bedroom in a hotel has less appeal, but we don't like to be "on the go" an out all the time.

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #30 on: December 02, 2017, 06:12:24 AM »
OK, gmail says I went for a weekend in Nov 2013, flight was only 27 pounds return. Went to Ciampino  (sp??) airport and got the bus from there to central Rome, then walked to my AirBnB near the Coliseum...At the Coliseum, restaurants with an un-obstructed view  did 10 euro specials for lunch; pizza, wine and dessert, my perfect meal. No doubt there  has been some inflation since then, but your flight prices feel high.

What doesn't your husband like about travelling? Would the right book / snack / podcasts keep him happy, or is it more about the situational noises/people/unknowns? If you could get him to enjoy being a lost tourist and appreciating the journey including wrong turns, and the  sense of achievement you get from navigating around despite not speaking the local dialect would that help?

shelivesthedream

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #31 on: December 03, 2017, 03:27:39 AM »
Things my husband hates about getting from A to B when travelling: (note: once we get there, he is as happy as a clam wandering around random backstreets)
(Note 2: he is not the total psycho he sounds like here! He is generally a well-adjusted human.)

- Luggage. In everyday life, he rarely carries a bag. Everything goes into his pockets. No "just in case" bottle of water or "for the tube journey" book. I like to bring water and a snack and a book and usually my diary/planner and a hanky... You get the idea. I am used to carrying stuff around. He hates it. [The options we are considering for Rome are: be super-ruthless and take one wheeled suitcase for clothes and my satchel for books; borrow my parents' hand luggage and take two wheeled suitcases (overkill but free); buy a hand-carryable overnight bag and take that (he carries) and the wheeled suitcase (I wheel and he carries up and down stairs - cuz pregnant).
- Legroom. He is tall. I am small.
- The pressure of having to be in a particular place at a particular time. He is a punctual person, but "thirty seconds late for an appointment" just means apologising. "Thirty seconds late for a flight" means bye bye holiday. So he is intensely stressed by the idea that we might be late.
- The hanging around. A corollary to the above is that he hates the aimless waiting. Trains are better because you can collect your ticket, have a coffee with whatever length of time you have available, stroll up to the train and sit down. Not so the aeroplane.
- The indignity of airport security. Having your luggage scanned, emptying your pockets, maybe being patted down, having to go through passport control...
- Other people. Nuff said.
- Crap food. At some point during a substantial journey, you usually end up eating some crap food. I eat it, shrug and move on with my life. My husband either eats it and sends the next few hours silently fuming about how horrible it was, or decides it's all too awful and doesn't eat anything. Aeroplanes are not so keen on you packing snacks...

Things I find stressful about travelling:
- Not being certain at all times that I am in the right place at the right time (chronic propensity to get lost)

All suggestions gratefully received. We haven't been on a plane since 2010 so maybe some bits have changed or I've forgotten some bits!

poppydog

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #32 on: December 03, 2017, 08:13:07 AM »
Mrs PD and me have just booked our first post-retirement trip, for the end of June next year.  Business class flights to New York and back, and a swanky Marriott hotel near central park - paid for with BA avios and Marriott Rewards points, plus the BA fees and taxes.  (Came to about a grand all in.)

It finally time to get a little back for all the business travel I've done over the last fifteen years or so.  It sounds glamorous, but it's a slog really.

never give up

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #33 on: December 03, 2017, 09:21:55 AM »
That sounds fantastic poppydog. I love New York. Itís considerably more fun travelling for a holiday than it is for work thatís for sure! Will enjoy hearing about your travels.

sltd- I donít think I have too many solutions Iím afraid. When Iím travelling with an airport involved I normally prefer a rucksack as it leaves both hands free for tickets, getting through doors etc.

I prefer to get to airports way early to avoid the stress of being late. Could you not use the waiting time to familiarise yourselves with maps, itinerary playing guess the pilots name? Airport security isnít great but does make me feel a little like James Bond. Maybe putting this positive spin on it would help! Perhaps I just easily amuse myself!

poppydog

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #34 on: December 03, 2017, 09:44:36 AM »
SLTD - how about getting to the airport early enough to have a nice meal before the flight?  Most airports have somewhere decent.  Mr SLTD will then be stress free knowing that you guys are there in plenty of time, and can always curtail the meal if there's any significant hold up.  You'll also avoid the crappy airline food!

shelivesthedream

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #35 on: December 03, 2017, 10:05:28 AM »
I'm also very easily amused! That's part of the problem! I can't relate very well to his inability to just find something to think about or look at and zone out of the stressy bits.

Eating something nice at the airport sounds like a good thing to research.

I mean, at the end of the day he's just going to have to suck it up and cope like a grown up. But I can tell when he's silently fuming even though he doesn't usually say anything. It's just a hump to get over before we get to the fun bit (and, unfortunately, afterwards as well).

Paul der Krake

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #36 on: December 03, 2017, 10:13:47 AM »
You can bring food airside and on the plane. Just nothing that could be argued is liquid. I bring sandwiches and fruit all the time.

itimjim

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #37 on: December 03, 2017, 11:21:40 AM »
I bought a touring caravan for 4k and put it on a seasonal pitch between March and October. We get about 40 nights away each year in the beautiful Llyn Peninsula in North Wales.

Mileage and fuel creeps up a bit (160m round-trip), as do to the site fees for the area (£2.7k), but we get way more time away than regular holidays all for approximately the same cost, if not a bit cheaper.

We still get a bit of abroad time each year due to racking up about 60k Avios per yer. And a number of trips to London (Virgin Traveller - free 1st Class all weekend for 2 and £10/child) and the mass of Marriott points I acrew for being away almost 90-100 nights a year.

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #38 on: December 03, 2017, 02:22:08 PM »
You can bring food airside and on the plane. Just nothing that could be argued is liquid. I bring sandwiches and fruit all the time.

Me too; sandwiches, boiled eggs, tomatoes, and an empty water bottle are staples of mine, and have never been questioned by security.

I'm also very easily amused! That's part of the problem! I can't relate very well to his inability to just find something to think about or look at and zone out of the stressy bits.

Eating something nice at the airport sounds like a good thing to research.

I mean, at the end of the day he's just going to have to suck it up and cope like a grown up. But I can tell when he's silently fuming even though he doesn't usually say anything. It's just a hump to get over before we get to the fun bit (and, unfortunately, afterwards as well).

Yep, we all have to deal with theses sucky bits of travelling, and use what we can to make them better - hence the popularity of airport bars. On a serious note, I don't think airports are that bad nowadays (ok, I think Stansted is hell on a Friday night with stags/hens, and City is full of overly entitled dudes).  I've always managed find somewhere comfortable to sit and work/read/surf etc and tend to arrive early to avoid that stress - I've even know to frequent said airport bars for a cheeky pint, especially since I've found the only quiet corner of Stansted is in the pub. I'd also second backpacks or rucksacks; I use one most of the time, especially since I break suitcases and my cat loves sitting on/in my suitcases leaving them covered in cat hair. Backpacks are so much easier to deal with, much more ergonomic and leave your hands free.  If hubby travels that light on a daily basis, I'm sure he'd fit all his stuff into a backpack.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #39 on: December 03, 2017, 04:10:13 PM »
You can bring food airside and on the plane. Just nothing that could be argued is liquid. I bring sandwiches and fruit all the time.

Gosh, clearly I am out-of-date! I suspect this might be helpful, even if for no other reason than a big pack of wine gums can be very consoling...

sea_saw

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #40 on: December 04, 2017, 03:16:10 AM »
Food I regularly take on to a flight:

* Sandwiches
* Huge bags of crisps, or pretzels or tiny crackers or etc
* Chunkily sliced cucumbers, peppers, carrots
* Non-liquid dips like cream cheese or hummus (with the slight potential of having them confiscated, but so far so good)
* Dried fruit and nut mixes
* Fresh fruit
* Cherry tomatoes
* If I'm feeling posh, little supermarket deli things like stuffed pastries or cooked meat

I got used to it from budget airlines where there's no food provided, and now I do it even when there is - I think the airline staff and fellow passengers got used to it from the same influences. I find even when I'm sick of podcasts and books just having something tasty to munch while I listen to music etc keeps me happy. I always bring a bit more than I know I can eat so that I can have variety (helps with the boredom thing), and then it's useful emergency snackage at the destination too, so long as you don't go overboard on the fresh perishables.

It also helps to know what's in the airport. E.g. Luton has an M&S before security (good for all of the above, if you want to buy them on the day), and once you're through, there's a Wasabi (which has lots of stuff I like inexpensively, if I'm hungry on the spot or want to take it with me). Recently I found myself in Gatwick and saw lots of shops in the larger terminal, but when I hurried through to my terminal I found it was smaller, emptier and had bugger all of use to me. I was (unnecessarily) stressed about time and didn't want to backtrack, so powered on and hoped the duty free zone would have something like Wasabi - it did not, only Pret etc which I dislike. I resorted to a crap meal deal from Boots. Not the end of the world but totally ruined my travel zen. Don't do this, if you see a place that has food you want just buy it.

You can bring empty bottles through security and find somewhere to fill them. If you don't, Boots and WH Smiths have the cheapest bottled water.

Top tip if you can't find a seat in the busy shopping/food areas, or just don't like the crowds and noise and incessant announcements - walk in the direction of any random gate, find an empty one and sit down. Bliss!

Note that once you're out of the central pen the screens and announcements around you will not show all flights, only the ones from the nearby gates, so you'll need to wander back occasionally to check on yours. That's nice if there's two of you though, as one can stay with your bags while the other sticks their head round.

cerat0n1a

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #41 on: December 04, 2017, 03:58:06 AM »
The last flight I took had a party of 60 or so people from India on some kind of pilgrimage, who brought a huge communal feast on board with them.

Air travel doesn't have a monopoly on hanging round. I once spent 24 hours on a railway platform in Indonesia, waiting for the line to be rebuilt after it had been washed away by a flood. Couldn't go somewhere else to wait, as no-one knew when the train was coming, so we all just had to sit there.

SLTD, I think your husband needs to get used to carrying stuff round asap - apart from your actual baby, there's also changes of clothes, wipes, food, nappies etc. every time you go somewhere :-)

shelivesthedream

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #42 on: December 05, 2017, 09:34:21 AM »
SLTD, I think your husband needs to get used to carrying stuff round asap - apart from your actual baby, there's also changes of clothes, wipes, food, nappies etc. every time you go somewhere :-)

We have mentioned this to each other. He's still got five months to get used to the idea. :) On my "baby prep" list is to buy a mutually acceptable "baby stuff" bag that won't stress him out - probably one with lots of internal compartments so there is zero rummaging.

PhilB

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #43 on: December 05, 2017, 10:42:03 AM »
It seems a bit drastic to get pregnant just to cure your husband's aversion to carrying stuff, but it's a definite 'kill or cure' method ;@)

shelivesthedream

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Re: Cheap travel from the UK - does 'travel hacking' exist here?
« Reply #44 on: December 05, 2017, 11:10:08 AM »
It seems a bit drastic to get pregnant just to cure your husband's aversion to carrying stuff, but it's a definite 'kill or cure' method ;@)

Cornerstone of the Evil Genius List (google it): send your strongest troops out immediately rather than starting with the weakest ones and sending out waves of progressively stronger ones as the weak ones get slaughtered.