Are you also one of those who already miss holidays even though they just got back to work? I have to say I am. And what better way to get over your previous holiday than planning the next one?
Here are 7 online tools to help you plan a getaway weekend on the cheap.
Click on the logos to access the websites.
Hellotrip: if you don’t know where to go yet
First, you have to select a destination. Well, you don’t have to really, Hellotrip can do this for you. You just have to pick the time you want to go and your budget, and Hellotrip does the rest, with a very smart algorithm collecting flight prices, and a nice UX that displays affordable destinations for you on a map. You can also sort destinations by purpose of travel: do you want to party hard or spend a romantic weekend with your s.o.? In any case, Hellotrip got you sorted. This French startup is based in Paris and Amsterdam.
Skyscanner: if you’ve already selected your destination
Maybe you already set your mind on some place you want to visit and you don’t want an algorithm to choose your getaway destination for you. Well, that’s fine too. Skyscanner is here for you, letting you know what are the cheapest flights on any given dates. And if you’re flexible on the dates, it’s even better: Skyscanner gives you the price trends for your destination throughout the month. Their editorial section is also a goldmine as it lists all the airlines offers and deals currently going on.
Tip: always make a final check on the airline’s website to make sure the prices are the same before booking on these platforms. It’s especially essential for low-cost airlines that do not include luggage in their basic cost.
Blablacar: if you plan to stick not too far from home
Blablacar is best if your getaway destination is rather close, or if you don’t mind long car rides. This famous carpooling service is the most relevant alternative to train cost-wise. I recommend this especially if you plan on visiting Europe. You meet cool people that teach you stuff, you save money, and the journey seems way shorter when the conversation is going on. So what’s not to like?
Couchsurfing: if you want to hang out with the locals
I don’t know what to underline more about the Couch Surfing experience – yes, it makes you save money because you will basically be hosted for free, but this is not the main and sole purpose of the platform. CouchSurfing is all about the social experience and sharing, and if you’re just here to save money rather than meet new people I suggest you go on your way and read about the solutions below. But if you are really into meeting the locals, sharing your thoughts with them and spending some time with them, then this experience is perfect for you! Some of them will cook for you, some others will tour the city with you, each Couch Surfing experience is different – don’t be afraid of surprises!
AirBnb: if you want to feel at home and out of the touristy ways
This website has totally revolutioned the way we plan our holidays and trips. You can either have your own private housing, share it with the host, or with other travelers. Either ways, the experience is supposed to be much less impersonal than in a hotel. Big bonus: usually you get to cook in your own appartment and save on food money. If your host is nice, you will also get a list of the cool and cheap places to go to, another way to save money. Just like with CouchSurfing, Airbnb can be about the social experience, but it’s a slightly safer option.
Booking: If you’re craving a bit of luxury and the hotel experience
Sometimes you just want the comfort of a hotel room, and sometimes, this can come at a very affordable price – sometimes similar to the options listed above. On Booking you can find traditional hotel rooms but also hostels, appartments, Bed & Breakfast, and you can sort your way through all these possibilities thanks to filters that will help you look for the best custom experience. Also, be on the lookout for special deals and offers – Offer of the day, Dream offers, Genius offers – and you might end up in a palace for less than half the price.
TripAdvisor: To match quality and best prices
You want to splurge a little and go to the restaurant but you don’t want to spend your money randomly? Have a look at the Top 10 restaurants in the location you’re headed to in order to see what’s good and what’s not. Then with the little currency sign (€, €€, €€€, etc.) you can look for a place to eat that fits your budget and where the food tastes good. A safe way to avoid disappointment when eating out. Bonus: you can see your Facebook friends comments on each restaurant, because who better than your friends can you trust when it comes to food?
The Fork: to get your hands on the best offers
This website is actually a TripAdvisor company! This platform is not available worldwide and is especially focused on big cities and medium towns but when it is, it’s enjoyable! There, you can find all kinds of deals in specific restaurants, usually a discount on the final check. Whether it’s for brunch, lunch or diner it’s worth having a look!