How to spend less on a city break

How to spend less on a city break

A romantic stroll through the gardens of Paris; a sunny day exploring Madrid’s cultural offerings; a cooling drink outside a colourful Dublin pub… a city break is the perfect choice for those seeking culture, adventure and relaxation in an exciting new destination!


An explorer’s delight, a city escape typically offers the chance to explore away from the main tourist sights as well as those iconic landmarks you’ve dreamed of seeing up close. If you prefer buzzing city squares to golden beaches, a city break is an ideal choice – but this urban alternative doesn’t have to break the bank!

With city breaks becoming increasingly popular, why not check out our top tips on how to spend less but have more fun on a city break of your choice!

Plan ahead

Planning ahead is a simple but essential way to save those extra pounds during your city break. Book as early as possible for the best deals. Do a little research and find out if pre-booking certain attractions will save you money, as well as flights to get there (perhaps consider indirect flights for better deals). You can save a significant amount of money by comparing flight times and costs – money which can be spent when you actually arrive.

Try and avoid spending on debit/credit cards abroad too. Research the best rates when exchanging into the desired currency and exchange before you leave your home country. This avoids the hassle of queuing and committing to perhaps a worse-off rate just for the convenience of last-minute exchanging.

Smart exploring

You’re planning on spending most of your city break exploring, right? Of course, the best (and cheapest) way to truly become immersed in the city’s culture is by exploring on-foot. Plan your sightseeing geographically and you can spend an entire day ticking sights off your bucket-list and savings those extra pounds. Renting a biking can be a fun and budget option too (bring your own bike if feasible) – both easier if your apartment is pretty central.

Find out what the public transport costs are like before you arrive – a bus day-rider or rail pass may be the best choice, or sharing a taxi at certain distances may actually save a travelling party some money.

There are plenty of fantastic travel apps out there too, many of which are free themselves, offering some seriously valuable guidance on getting around the city, what’s on in the area, helpful language translations and so much more!

Budget culture injection

When you’re putting together your holiday itinerary or wish-list, make sure to research the entry fees to the local attractions. Many of the world’s best museums and galleries are free to enter, with optional donation fees. You don’t need to splash the cash for a true culture injection on your city break – research the city’s best free attractions (donation-only walking tours are great for exploring) and ask around for recommendations on affordable activities before you leave home.

It’s a good idea to sign up to a few websites offering holiday attraction deals for offers a few weeks before your break. Watch out for deals in the run up to your holiday; there are plenty of great, up-to-date apps now you can browse on mobile to secure some unmissable offers on local attractions and activities. Make use of your city’s sightseeing pass if you buy one and if your destination offers tax-free shopping – take advantage!

Cook like a local

Staying in a rented apartment is a fantastic way to budget during your break, but also experiment with the local cuisine! While you’re sure to sample some of the city’s local dishes out and about, by renting an apartment you can undergo a fun, foreign supermarket shop and eat like a local during your break. Even packing your own picnic is sure to save a few pounds!

In fact, renting an apartment can be a huge money-saver all round, if you’re happy to share your city escape with a few friends. There are a handful of great bill-splitting apps available now to ensure your accommodation, travel and food costs are shared equally – get browsing! And remember – don’t be afraid to haggle if you think the time and place is right.

Be phone savvy

While we love the plethora of handy travel apps out there, be savvy when using your mobile phone abroad. The last thing you want is to feel you’ve been money-smart during your holiday to come home to a nasty phone bill! Check the data roaming terms and conditions with your provider before you leave, or why not bring a ‘pay as you go’ mobile phone so you know exactly how much you’re spending everyday?

Budget is brilliant

A city break can be a fantastic holiday choice for culture-vultures, holiday foodies and avid explorers. So whether you’re dreaming of exploring Rome’s ancient sites, Barcelona’s beautiful architecture or London’s world-famous museums, don’t be afraid of booking your city escape on a budget!

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