Travel is personal.
For example, we try to avoid all-inclusive offers – opting instead to forge our own travel paths, which we believe gives us flexibility and competitive costs.
It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but we try never to pay anyone for doing anything that we could just as easily do ourselves.
And, of all the tricks we’ve learned for keeping travel expenses down, one of the best tips involves careful airport selection – especially if you are flying into Europe.
In choosing an airline, we also take care to also select an arrival airport with both lower taxes, fees and operating costs, where the savings are therefore usually passed to travellers.
Heathrow Airport, London
For example, if possible, we avoid Heathrow airport in London, sometimes described as one of the most expensive airports to fly into.
Instead, we’ve flown into London Gatwick and to Manchester – as well making Athens, Rome and Berlin our European entry point – from where you can usually get plenty of low-cost fares to the UK.
Colleagues also recommend Warsaw, Dublin and even Moscow.
Berlin Tegel airport
We use websites like Skyscanner and Clever Layover to carefully compare airline prices at various European airports – and work it out from there.
It isn’t always feasible; is usually not the fastest option; and sometimes the savings can be small.
But, over the years, we’ve found that every saving, regardless of the size, is important in an overall travel budget.
Of course, the same benefits – or more – can sometimes be achieved by flying into one of the less-costly airports and then completing your journey by a transport network like GoOpti – or by coach or train.
You can also reduce costs by spending a little time to make wise accommodation choices.
Although it is not always the case, accepting accommodation in the heart of popular cities often brings a hefty pricetag.
For example, last year we were back in Venice, Italy, for a brief one-day stay en-route to Central Europe.
Rather than arrange accommodation near the gorgeous Venician canals for one night, we decided instead to stay on the mainland at Venice Mestre – a 10 minute train trip from the beautiful waterways.
Good quality accommodation at Venice Mestre – in this case The Plaza Hotel – was about one-third the price of the equivalent on the island.
And, we were also only a few Euros from the Marco Polo airport by local AVTO bus.
We enjoy using public transport, so this proved a smart option for us.
This saved a substantial amount of money for spending later – and gave us a good quality of accommodation only two train stops from the heart of the beautiful Italian city.