The cases were closed. One last check of the weight, just to reassure myself for the ninety-ith time that they were not over our allowance, I satisfied myself of this and locked the case. Wheeling this last bit of luggage over to the front door to join the other bags, I was satisfied that all was ready. City breaks have shaped our holiday habits for sure. Getting into the freshly made bed, (I always have to have clean sheets on the bed before I go away), I set the alarm. 345am, Perfect. I close my eyes, waiting for the excitement to fade and my mind to calm enough for me to snatch a couple of hours sleep….ready for the following days adventures..
How City Breaks Shaped our Holiday Habits
I have a thing for getting up in the middle of the night to go on a trip. I am the girl that will book the flight out as early as I can for two reason. Firstly, I love getting up in the dark to go on holiday. I love the quiet exiting of the house, gently wheeling the cases down the drive to the cab, hushed but excited whispers to each other checking we have the usuals. Passport. Money. Tickets. Secondly, if we are heading off on a European break, I love getting to our destination early. I love taking the bags to the hotel, even if we cant yet check in, and getting straight out to explore. Its a holiday habit that we have formed over the last few years, and I cant see it changing.
That first look at a new place is always enticing, and the excited child in me is thirsty to explore. We put our bags into the hotel, then go out to try to find our bearings. This first morning in a new City is for working out where our accommodation is in relation to the main town, getting a street map and sitting in cafes working out our route, firming up our itinerary for the following days. I always feel like we dash about on that first few hours, eager to get a feel for the place, but it has always served us well. Our City breaks tend to be around four day’s usually, so we like to use the time wisely. Getting to our hotel etc early, just seems to make a difference!
Another habit that city breaks have formed for us is the way we pick a hotel. I tend to look at all the main things I have researched and want to see in the city, then work out where they are. I then try to pick a hotel that is near, or at least very easily commutable to, all the things we want to see. I find sights like Hotels.com are good for this, as they give you the distance that you are from destinations or tourists spots that you put in as “points of interest” etc. Its so handy to know, and I book my hotels using that little distance indicator.
We also discovered a couple of years ago, the Starling Card, and it has been our go to ever since. If you are unsure what it is, its a card that you pre-load with cash, then use as your payment source. The benefit to this is that you always get a really good exchange rate, and no fees or commission charges. You can also draw cash out using it, and it again, costs you nothing in exchange or commission. Its brilliant and it has saved us so much money over the last few European city breaks we have been on. It is now our usual routine to just load the card before we go. We don’t bother changing up any cash here before we leave any more. I recommend it fully if you are a European city break fan.
I also look at flight sites a lot. Booking flights in advance can be so inexpensive! Last year we booked flights to Venice for this month, and paid just £40 return per person. Thats crazy! I pay more for a cab in London sometimes. I browse flights, and if any come up that are just too good to ignore and its somewhere we fancy, I buy them. Accommodation etc can be sorted out at a much later date. Again, its a great way to get some flight bargains! We use sites like skyscanner, Easyjet and Expedia.
I think many of us that love to travel form a few habits don’t we. Its like a routine that we have made for ourselves. I think city breaks have shaped our holiday habits massively. I have found that over the last few years, Nik and I always love visiting European cities in the Spring and Autumn, saving destinations further afield for the Summer months. I wrote a post on UK Spring destinations, (Four UK Springtime Mini breaks to Consider) as, since setting ourselves the task to try to discover more of the UK, we tend to explore a bit more of our home country in the spring. The beauty of visiting these places slightly out of season is that they have a lot less busy than the summer months, and accommodation is often cheaper! Win win! I found this book, Where to go When by Lonely Planet is fantastic for helping plan when to visit somewhere. You will usually find me browsing it in the evening, Nik sitting close by, glancing over occasionally with a slightly panicked look on his face……
I think for us, visiting places in the UK in Spring is just more enjoyable. British tourist destinations are rammed in the Summer months, and as much as I love people, I don’t want to be on my mini break with a gazillion of them! The same as European city breaks, we avoid them in the Summer months too. Also, alongside Autumn, Spring is my favourite season and I just think everywhere looks so much prettier in the Spring. We are definitely habitual spring breakers, just not in the drunk American teenager, living their best life kind of way……..
What about you? Do you have any travel habits that you have formed and stick to? Any favourite times of year that you tend to travel? What about routines when you are away, have you formed any that have served you well over the years? I would love as ever, to know all the details!
I was invited to co-host this travel linkup with the lovely ladies below. Feel free to add your travel topic to the link up. Be great to read your posts!