Saturday, January 11, 2020

How one savvy holidaymaker paid just £373 for a two-week trip to the Seychelles

As the New Year gets underway, many people will be looking ahead to the summertime of 2020. For some, it may be that they hope to enjoy a getaway this year – be that a staycation or perhaps a trip to sunnier climes.

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Daria Gerasimova, 30, lives in London, and last month travelled to the Seychelles for two weeks. Holidays to this location are often synonymous with luxury, meaning many would expect to pay a significant amount on a getaway to this destination.

However, savvy saver Daria, who works in the capital as a Head of PR, has explained how she managed to save on outgoings for her two-week trip to the Seychelles with her boyfriend.

The couple paid £373 each for their flights, and their expenditure on hotels was nothing at all.

This figure may come as a surprise to some, but Daria has explained exactly how she managed to cut costs.

While she didn’t spend any of her money on the hotels, they were instead covered by Avios points, as were the return flights.

So we’re usually very lucky to be able to use his points for travel and have been to places like Barbados, Antigua and, now, Seychelles largely using Avios to cover flights and hotels

Daria Gerasimova

However, due to taxes, fees and carrier charges, the return flights ended up costing them £373 each.

“To be fully transparent, my partner travels a lot for work. And I mean a lot,” she explained.

“So we’re usually very lucky to be able to use his points for travel and have been to places like Barbados, Antigua and, now, Seychelles largely using Avios to cover flights and hotels.

“That said, I have seen return flights to the Seychelles for under £400. Jack’s Flight Club occasionally features incredibly good deals for flights to the Seychelles, so you don’t need to have a lot of Avios points to bag a cheap return flight to paradise.

“We booked our flights five months prior to travel, and then over those five months, I focused on saving the money to spend when we’re there.

“I set up a goal in my Chip app and let it do its thing. I also made a few manual saves, depositing larger chunks of money, but all in all, when it was time to go to the Seychelles, I had around a thousand pounds saved up. What definitely helps is spreading the costs and saving up gradually.”

While the cost of their accommodation and travel to and from the Seychelles may have been less than £400 per person, their expenditure during the two-weeks getaway did add up.

In total, Daria explained they spent £1,532 between them – working out at £766 each.

This included food, drinks, admission to national parks and museums, transfers between islands, bicycle hire, public transport and a couple of taxis.

Per person, their fortnight getaway cost them £1,139.

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“£1,139 is a lot of money, but I think you should also take into account the money you’re not spending at home.

“Especially if your home is London, which is not cheap.”

Does Daria have any top tips for saving money?

“Here’s the thing. Spending money is easy and saving is hard. There’s no getting away from it, so you need to trick your brain into making it effortless,” she said.

“I’ve heard of people having multiple accounts for different purposes or only giving themselves a certain budget for a week and saving the remaining funds, but personally, I like to keep it simple. Partially because I’m not great at saving.

“So my tip would be automating it. I use Chip (full disclosure – I work for Chip, but I was a user for two years before I landed this job), which works out how much I can afford to save and then puts it away.

“This means Chip does its thing in the background and never leaves a big dent in my account. I also make manual contributions to my Chip account if and when I have funds left at the end of the month.”

Having opted for her thrifty travel hacks to explore different corners of the world, does Daria have any top tips for getting a dream holiday for less money?

“My two tips would be: have some money stashed away (and do it gradually), and use points,” she said.

“As to the latter, I think a lot of people don’t realise that you can use your Avios to book a hotel, which immediately makes some trips a lot more manageable.

“Seychelles, for example, is not a cheap destination, and hotels would have been a huge expense (they would have cost us around £4,000 for two weeks).”

Daria explained that she thought saving up over time may be “more manageable”, and she explained that having the funds saved already could be handy should a deal come up.

“As to my first point, save up over time as that’s more manageable and you will be able to easily pay for that trip when the time comes,” she said. “Jack’s Flight Club has some awesome flight deals but you have to be quick and have the funds ready to buy the tickets.”

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