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How City Breaks have shaped our Holiday Habits

April 1, 2019

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. 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..

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.

how city breaks shaped our holiday habits
Flying – up in the clouds

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.

how city breaks have shaped our travel habits
we get our luggage dropped off and go explore

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……

how city breaks have shaped our holiday habits
Spring is our favourite time for a European city break

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!

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18 responses to “How City Breaks have shaped our Holiday Habits”

  1. I love city breaks but haven’t been on many European ones lately due to G not flying, but that was before Rome. Now that he’s discovered that planes don’t tend to crash we plan to do more. We were supposed to go to Berlin in two weeks time but changed our minds when we both agreed that we didn’t really want to go. We’d already bought our tickets so lost the money and then couldn’t afford to buy new ones for somewhere else. Lesson learnt, don’t make rash decisions! xx

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Oh no! I think you would have loved Berlin! Still, as you say, lesson learnt. If its any consolation, Nik and I were meant to be leaving for Venice today, but life had other ideas. Im thrilled for you that your hubby is willing to get on a plane now, thats so exciting! Where do you fancy next? The world is your oyster now!

  2. Bejal says:

    I love a good City Break and have a couple booked this year since my long haul at the beginning of the year! I am a perpetual planner and so it seems I am a creature of habit! I Particularly like the idea of a Starling card and will be looking into this!

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Ohhh City Breaks are just the best. I think they are such a great way to recharge the batteries. Im excited to see where you go next! The Starling card is brilliant, it honestly has saved us so much over the last couple of years. So much safer too. Thank you for reading lovely lady xxx

  3. The sterling card does sound really useful! I’d not heard of it before. I love city breaks but we haven’t been on one since my Chou was a baby. Now we tend to head to the seaside to make him happy 😁 Looking forward to more trips away before too long. Hope you are well xx

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Its a fab little card. We were recommended it by one of my husbands friends that travels a lot for work, and its been brilliant. yes our wings are temporarily clipped at the moment, but I love heading to the UK coastline too. I think there is a lot to be said for exploring your own back yard. I love it! Thank you for reading, we are doing ok xxxxx

  4. Emma @ Adventures of a London Kiwi says:

    Honestly, England in spring is pretty unbeatable! This is such a beautiful, underrated country!

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      I totally agree with you Emma, and I think us residents of the UK take it for granted, and don’t realise how beautiful it really is. I was guilty of that until a couple of years ago! I now have Oxford very much on my list since your stories!

  5. Binita Shah-Patel says:

    I love city breaks!!Have one to Wiltshire coming up!! xx

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Ohhhh I look forward to following along with that one Binny, I have never been to Wiltshire. How lovely!

  6. Harpreet says:

    I am so envious that living in the UK, amazing city breaks are eas(ier?) for you peeps out there…I do try and head out on safari as a short break within Kenya whenever I can but there is something so charming about city breaks! I do identify with some of your habits though, like checking in even if it means leaving bags and heading out to explore…I usually have a packing cube with my “first day outfit” in it easily accessible so that if we do have to leave our bags, I can quickly change if I need to get out of travel gear, especially if we have travelled long haul. #travellinkup

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Ohhh Harpreet, I will swap you my city breaks for your safari any day! My life long ambition is to travel on safari. One day…. I do agree though, we are pretty lucky here in the UK that we can reach a lot of places pretty quickly. I love your packing cube idea, that is a tip I may have to borrow! Thank you so much for reading xxx

  7. Alex Grace says:

    Thanks Kerry, there are some really helpful tips and advice here! I had never heard of the Starling card before, so will look into it more now. I smiled when I read about your reasons for travelling at the time of night you do – I feel completely the same – there is something so exciting about going when everyone else is asleep and you have to be very quiet about it, it’s the best way to start a holiday xxx

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Yes Alex, it really is! Im so glad you agree. My friends think Im nuts booking flights for that time of day, but I blooming love it. The starling card is fab, have a look into it. It has saved us a lot in fees etc xx

  8. I love city breaks and love how you love a bargain- snap! We use the aqua card which works out well for us on all international holidays. What is it with our brain and doubting the weight of that bag? I went on my first Ryan air flight recently and must have checked about 50 times lol!

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Hahaha! Ohhh I know, I never trust my self. I think having these cards that take the hard work out of changing up money are a god send, makes it all so much easier! Thank you so much for popping across for a read xx

  9. I do love a city break too! But oh gosh I’m totally different to you… I avoid those morning flights at all costs!!

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Haha, a lot of my friends are the same. They hate leaving me in charge of flights if we have a girls trip! I just love that up in the middle of the night feeling… Thank you for popping across Angie xx

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