Budget Travel Planning – Long Weekends

It’s time for some shameless crowdsourcing of ideas. What’s the point of blogging if you can’t pick the rest of the internet’s collective brains, right?!
Here’s the situation. I now have a £50 Flight Centre voucher thanks to winning a competition on Jessi’s blog (thanks again Jessi!) in addition to a free weekend rental voucher thanks to spending a crapton of money with Avis over the past couple of months. I’m also working up to a free night with Accor Hotels to round out the budget approach to this weekend away.
I originally started plotting for Easter next year but that’s an expensive time to travel, so I’ve randomly chosen to plan for the 11th – 15th of March. I have no idea if I’m even free then, but it seemed as good a place as any to start.

Option Ein:

Flights to Munich ¦¦ About £90 each, via Easyjet from Stansted (which is a slight pain to get to from where we live). Plus transport to and from the airport, minus my £50 voucher, that’ll be about £170 worth of travel costs.
Car hire from Avis Munich ¦¦ Free! The voucher is valid for 3 days from Thursday – Sunday or Friday – Monday. It’s also not valid around Christmas and Easter so good thing I changed my mind on dates. We’ll go for the Friday to Monday option and then spend an extra day exploring the city, I think.
One night at the Sofitel Munich Bayerpost ¦¦ Free! (I hope, will have to check ts and cs of my free night once I’ve earned it), then we might spend subsequent nights somewhere a leeetle bit cheaper. Perhaps we’d head out to somewhere like the Mercure Hotel Garmisch-Partenkirchen for a night or two (£46 per night!), or a cheaper hotel option in Munich itself like the Novotel Suites, although that’s still upwards of £75 per night and it’s fairly far out of town. The ones in town seem to be super expensive… 
We could use the hire car to get out and see the Black Forest, plus I’d love to go back to Munich. The last time I went I was 14 and it was fabulous, but I think my experience would be a little different now!

Option Dois:

Flights to Porto ¦¦ Flights are £70 each from Stansted, so doing the same sums as above it would be about £130 for both of us.
Car hire from Avis Porto ¦¦ Free! As above…
4 nights at the Mercure Porto Centro Hotel ¦¦ At £37 per night with one night free, that’s £111 for the lot. Or we could head out to somewhere like Braga where an Ibis sets you back just £20 per night.
I have a feeling the weather in Porto might be the best of all my options, and there’s also a good amount of scenic countryside within striking distance. There’s also coastline, which none of the others have. I’ve heard excellent things about Portuguese food and I’ve never been to Portugal proper (the Algarve doesn’t count, as it’s basically England with sun).

Option Troch:

Flights to Bratislava ¦¦ Just £43 each, and from Luton which is more convenient that Stansted. Unfortunately the flights are with Ryanair but hey, you can’t have it all.
Car hire from Avis Bratislava ¦¦ Free! As above…
4 nights at the Mercure Bratislava Centrum ¦¦ This option is £42 per night so minus the free night, that’s £126. 
Slovakia seems like a slightly more unusual place to visit, which makes me instantly happy. It’s a smaller city than the rest, but there’s a big nature reserve just north of the city that I’m sure would keep us busy in our hire car. Or we could pop over into Austria, or even Hungary.
So, what I’d like to ask is…. If you could do a fly-drive long weekend to anywhere in Europe, where would you go?
Please leave your thoughts in a comment, I’d love to know where you’d pick.

Even though it probably sounds like it, this post was not in any way sponsored by Avis or Accor Hotels. I just have points with each and I’m doing that thing where I spend my money with one brand in order to reap more rewards. So far it seems to be working pretty well!

Linking up with Lauren & Courtney for Travel Tuesday, with Malinda for Wednesday Wanderlust


  1. 17th November 2015 / 10:53

    If you go to Bratislava you can also visit Vienna which is just cca 40 km away!:) Porto and Bratislava are def cheaper than Munich, and if you go in March I guess Porto would be the warmest!;) I don’t know if I helped at all 🙂

    • 19th November 2015 / 09:49

      That’s true! Vienna is lovely. You’re right, spending money is definitely a consideration, as well as weather. Porto appears to be edging towards the top of the list… You definitely helped, thank you!

  2. 17th November 2015 / 13:08

    It is such a personal decision and all three options have a lot of merit! I would only choose Porto because it’s the only one I haven’t been to, but I like the idea of going to Bratislava because for many it would be more exotic and Central European than the other options… plus, you can EASILY fit in a day trip to Vienna (only one hour away!) or elsewhere in Slovakia (High Tatras!). Bratislava is a lovely city very livable… maybe not as exciting as some other capitals because it’s so small.

    • 19th November 2015 / 12:02

      I know, and it also depends what type of a holiday we feel like closer to the time. I’m interested to hear about Bratislava, a small capital sounds good to me. I like to go somewhere where I don’t feel too overwhelmed! What happens in High Tatras?

  3. 17th November 2015 / 15:30

    Yay – congratulations again! And I love this post idea – you’re right, it’s a great way to crowd-source inspiration 🙂

    For me, I’d definitely pick Porto out of these choices. I’ve been reading a ton about what a beautiful and fun city it is recently, and after visiting Lisbon I would be keen to spot more azulejo tiles. I am also pro-anywhere that is warm 😉 But the others also sound like great options – I look forward to seeing what you pick!

    • 19th November 2015 / 13:01

      Yippee thanks again! I’ve only been to the Algarve in Portugal and I think the rest of the country is quite different. I hear Lisbon is beautiful, so if Porto is anything like it it’d be a great one to go for. Also I’m the same as you; I’m very much warm place orientated!

  4. Andrea On Vacation
    17th November 2015 / 18:09

    oooohhh fun! I think I’d choose Porto (for weather reasons) but you can’t make a bad choice. Have fun!

    • 19th November 2015 / 13:02

      Weather reasons are very important reasons! You’re right, Porto would be lovely and warm in the summer. Also it’s by the coast, which is a plus. Thanks for helping!

  5. 17th November 2015 / 20:47

    There’s so many options in Europe I feel like your main problem is picking one choice! They all sound wonderful to me, and I think that you’ll be happy no matter what you choose. I think that Porto might sound the most interesting. I think that Sara over at Sara Sees (I think) recently did a post about her trip to Porto, and it looked beautiful!

    • 19th November 2015 / 13:03

      I know! I had such a struggle whittling it down to three! And to choose just one is very tough. First world problems eh? Porto seems to be the clear favourite so I think I’ll go check out Sara’s post. Thanks for the tip!

  6. 17th November 2015 / 22:44

    Ooh, they all look so good. I’m so jealous that you can go to any of these beautiful places for the weekend. It’s so far to come from Australia (and expensive) that we have to save/wait much longer and spend more time there.

    • 19th November 2015 / 13:11

      I know, I’m so lucky. Europe is so small and well connected with budget airlines and trains, it does make travel so much more easy. The trouble is when something is on your doorstep you can tend to take it for granted!

  7. 17th November 2015 / 23:37

    Such a hard decision to make with so many great options. I’d pick Bratislava since it’s so different than anywhere I’ve been in Europe. Exciting to see what you pick!

    • 19th November 2015 / 13:12

      I know, it’s a good problem to have! Bratislava sounds really cool, and as you say so different. I’ve never been there before so it would be an all round exciting experience. I’m excited to see what I pick, too! Thanks for the suggestion!

  8. 17th November 2015 / 23:41

    Bratislava without question ! It’s less visited and looks amazing. Wish I had this problem 😀

    • 19th November 2015 / 13:13

      Ha yes I know I’m very lucky to have such a difficult problem…! Bratislava does seem like a great place for this holiday in particular as it’s got such cool places you can drive to, with the national parks and nearby cities. Got to get good mileage from that free rental!

  9. 17th November 2015 / 23:53

    seriously such a hard choice, I haven’t been to either but would jump at both! My vote…pick one and then do the other late in the year…you never know you might win another competition!! Can’t wait to see what you decide.

    • 19th November 2015 / 13:14

      That’s optimism in motion! Who knows, maybe I will win another competition. It’s really hard to choose, but hopefully I will get to see them all 🙂

  10. 18th November 2015 / 02:10

    To me one it comes down to budget, two what do you want to achieve on your weekend getaway: fun in the sun or sightseeing and three ease of getting there – after all you only have a couple of days you don’t want to spend the whole time getting there and coming home.

    • 19th November 2015 / 13:16

      Quite right, spending ages in transit is not what it’s all about. Even quite short flights take up a long time what with getting to the airport etc. Good point. We tend to favour sightseeing holidays but perhaps by the time we go away we’ll be ready to kick back on a beach with a book…!

  11. 18th November 2015 / 04:00

    I vote for Porto. I think it is an amazing place and your money can go a long way.

    • 19th November 2015 / 13:42

      I’m glad to hear you enjoyed Porto, and you’re right about money going a long way. It’s important to consider spending money along with all of this! What’s your favourite thing to do in Porto? Any top tips?

  12. 18th November 2015 / 06:11

    Oh you have such a great selection of places to go see here! I’ve never been to any of them so I can’t give any real advice, but Porto and the coastline would be an amazing place to drive around I think!

    You really can’t go wrong with any choice! Good luck! 🙂

    Away From The Blue Blog

    • 19th November 2015 / 13:43

      I know! I’m feeling very lucky! I think you’re right about the coastline. There must be some good drives with views of the sea. Thanks for your help!

  13. 18th November 2015 / 11:08

    Oh to be spoiled with such choices 😉 I’d go with option 2 for the good weather. But they all sound good to me. Thanks for linking up to #wednesdaywanderlust xx

    • 19th November 2015 / 14:18

      I know, right?! Weather is right up there with the main criteria. Porto seems to be a favourite so far!

  14. 18th November 2015 / 11:36

    Wow these are some pretty awesome choices!! I would go with Munich or Porto – but that’s because they are both on my list for next year 😀 x

  15. Joanna - Me-And-My-Itchy-Feet
    18th November 2015 / 14:12

    I’d go with Porto or Bratislava. Porto – for the weather and coastline (plus we’re planning to visit Portugal next summer, so reading a little bit more about it would be also great), while Slovakia for the option of visiting Wien as well. Bratislava itself is also beautiful and not that common to visit.

    • 19th November 2015 / 14:19

      Yes, not many people from the UK visit Bratislava which is why it appeals to me! It looks really pretty, and with some lovely forests to visit (or Wien, indeed!). However as you say, Portugal has coastline and I do love to be beside the seaside…

  16. Jen
    18th November 2015 / 19:36

    These are all such amazing choices, we would love to move to Europe at some point just so we can have the opportunities to travel. 🙂

    • 19th November 2015 / 14:20

      Travel between countries is so much easier here! I hope you get the opportunity to move to Europe, too. It does make deciding where to go hard, though!

  17. 19th November 2015 / 01:09

    Omg… How to choose??? All the places look so fab! I know nuts about Europe so can’t help you out with this. But if you ever want want to come Asia, you know where to find me. :p

    • 19th November 2015 / 14:24

      Well, it’s good to know the limits of one’s knowledge! Thanks for the offer of Asia advice, I will definitely take you up on that as it’s not an area I know a lot about. Although I’m learning a lot more via your blog!

    • 23rd November 2015 / 22:17

      Haha yay! Let me know all about it, please, any top tips/recommendations??

      • 25th November 2015 / 15:22

        Ask me again next week! I’m headed there tomorrow – whoop whoop 🙂

  18. 19th November 2015 / 22:46

    Well I’ve never been to Bratislava, but Munich and Porto are both amazing choices! I’ve been to Munich 3 times now and I just can’t get enough (also within driving distance is neuschwanstein Castle- AMAZING) butttt, if you haven’t been to Portugal, I would really suggest that! I loveeeee Portugal and it is so so affordable, the food is amazing, the coastline is gorgeous and the wine, well also amazing. If you’re looking for a budget trip, you can’t get much better than Portugal! 😀

    • 23rd November 2015 / 22:18

      Oh it sounds like I really have my work cut out to choose – but food, wine and coastline sound like a winning combo to me. I have in fact never been to Portugal properly, whereas I have been to Munich (albeit a really long time ago). So… I’m edging towards Porto I have to say!

  19. 24th November 2015 / 17:51

    ALL the places! hahaha. I vote Munich, so I can be jealous. Heck, I’ll be jealous regardless 😉

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