Today marks one year living in London. I have been thinking about all of the learning and growing I have done while here. It seemed only fit to mark a year with a blog post! Being here has definitely changed my life in a way I could never have imagined. I am by no means an expert on life in London. I don’t think I ever will be. However, this year has definitely helped me find out things about myself and life in general.
Eamon and I have started to realise in our last few months of this year that we have not taken advantage of being in London as much as we should. We have started to book some holidays now because that is one of the upsides to being here. You can travel! This process in itself was a bit of a learning curve for me because Eamon left me to plan this one on my own.
Every year, it seems that Londoners leave for a couple of weeks at a time to take advantage of the warm weather in Europe. Eamon and I decided that we want to sample what Portugal has to offer. This is what I learnt from booking this holiday.
I am not saying that this is an absolute in every circumstance. However, if you are booking a holiday where you want to relax and come back feeling refreshed, then all-inclusive packages help you do this. You do not have to worry about making your own food or making your own cocktails. You can really use your time to completely ENJOY yourself, which is what holidays are for! The price difference between half-board and all-inclusive is minimal so sometimes it is most definitely worth it!
Booking online vs calling an agent
I am a huge fan of Expedia. This is usually my first point of call when I start looking for a holiday. I like that fact that I can log on to my account and book a holiday in a matter of minutes without any fuss. However, sometimes it is easier to speak to an actual person so that you can get the best flight times but still stick to your budget. This is what I ended up doing, I called in and made it clear what I needed and Expedia delivered. So now I have learnt I don’t always have to do it alone on their website! I got the best flight times on the airline I wanted and I stuck to my budget, I was winning!
Ask yourself : “Is it during school holidays?”
If the answer is yes, expect to pay more! It is usually cheaper to go two weeks into school holidays when families have had their summer holidays already and are heading home. Also, you avoid the excitable children and will probably have a more relaxed time.
Try and be as flexible as possible with the times and dates you can travel. I made the mistake of booking a week off and then I only had this week as an option to go somewhere. If you have the option to be a little bit looser on your time constraints, this will save you a lot of money!
This is especially important if you are booking through an agent. A colleague recently had the unfortunate horror of having her entire trip cancelled and no refund because the company went into administration and she did not have cover for this. Get insurance, pay a bit more for everything to be covered and breathe easy!
So even after a year, I feel that I am no closer to being an adult. I feel that booking trips and “making decisions” is still hard. However, I have come a long way! Because a year ago, I would not have been negotiating ticket prices on the phone, a year ago I couldn’t even order pizza on the phone!
The most important thing about this whole experience is that I learnt that you need to make the whole process fun. It shouldn’t be stressful, so try your hardest to make it your own! Maybe this little guide will help you make the most of your plans to go away 😉 I cannot wait to share about my trip to Portugal with you!