Bargain Family Holiday Deals

Summer sun that won’t break the bank

 

Thrifty guest blogger Natalie has been hot on the trail of bargain holiday deals this month. Read on to find out what she found.

 

Over to you Natalie ……

Natalie Vincent B&W

 

Holidays are a great opportunity for families to spend some quality time together away from the stresses of everyday life.

However taking a typical family of four abroad for a week or two can quickly get expensive.

That’s why we’ve found some good value trips that won’t break the bank this summer.

 

 

Eurocamp

 

Eurocamp is a great place to find family-friendly deals at affordable prices. Many of the parks have plenty of free activities on site and the accommodation ranges from basic tents to more luxurious campervans.

We found affordable Eurocamp deals to traditionally expensive countries, such as Switzerland.

A family of four can spend seven nights at the Bella Tola site for £763. That’s staying in a surprisingly spacious tent that can accommodate six.

If you want something a bit more comfortable, then try a two bed caravan for £1,029.

 

Mountain campsite

 

 

Cycling in Catalonia

 

Spend a week cycling through beautiful Catalonia countryside, medieval villages and secluded beaches in this active family holiday from Inn Travel.

One of the best things about this trip is that the routes are short and easy enough for the kids to manage. This means there is plenty of time left over for long, leisurely lunches and water fights in the pool.

Accommodation, bikes, breakfast and dinner are all included in the price. You don’t need to worry about luggage either as that is all transported for you. All you need to do is peddle.

Adult prices start at £660. Get more informationhere.

 

 

Disneyland Paris

 

Take the kids to see Mickey and Minnie Mouse at Disneyland Paris this summer.

A trip like this is never going to be cheap but we found a three night break for a family of four for £888.24.

That deal includes return flights from Manchester and accommodation at the historic, 4-star Vienna International Dream Castle Hotel – perfect for a little Prince and Princess!

Considering prices for this kind of trip can easily start in the thousands, we thought this was a good deal.

 

 

Balearic Islands

 

Majorca, Minorca and Ibiza are all popular holiday destinations that are just a short flight away.

We found a 7 night stay in a three star TRH Jardin Del Mar Apartments for £1,165.92. Like many other properties in Majorca, this one is aimed at families. It has a pool, playground, play room and entertainment included in the package.

Try Travel Republic for similar deals.

 

 

City Breaks

 

Thomas Cook has some good deals if you prefer a city break over a beach holiday.

We found a 3 night stay in Berlin for £891.88. That includes return flights and accommodation at the Sylter Hof hotel for a family of four.

That’s a pretty good deal since a short city break can often cost the same as a week long holiday.

 

 

Build Your Own

 

Package holidays can be a God send if you’re just looking for a quick and convenient trip. Most companies will handle all the particulars so you just need to pack and show up.

Building your own trip can often work out cheaper though and it gives you a lot more flexibility.

 

Holiday homes

 

That’s why we are big fans of Airbnb. This useful website lets you stay in other people’s property for the duration of your trip. You could rent a room in a house or an entire apartment. There are also plenty of weird and wonderful properties you can stay in such as castles and even tree houses.

Organising your own trip is time consuming, but you can get a great deal if you’re willing to put the effort in.

 

Bon vacance!

 

Natalie x

 

Natalie Vincent is feature writer and social media manager for Watchmywallet.co.uk

 

Photographs: Eurocamp, Air BnB

 

Other articles by Natalie:

Things to do this Easter Bank Holiday

The Share Economy

Affordable things to do February half term

Improving your money habits

How to have a thrifty Christmas

Ideas for pre Christmas breaks

How to avoid big phone bills abroad

Free things to do – New York

Free things to do – United Arab Emirates

 

 

 

 

Money saving tips for holidays

Helping to make your holiday money go even further

 

We’ve got Altrincham based money saving web site Watch My Wallet back on the blog again today with some top tips for keeping on top of your holiday finances.

I hate having to watch the pennies when I’m on holiday, but in the current economic climate, and with exchange rates less favourable than they used to be – all advice is gratefully received.

 

Over to you ‘Watch My Wallet’ Natalie ……

Going on holiday can be very exciting, but it can also be incredibly stressful if you’ve got a budget to stick too.

That’s why Watch My Wallet has created a guide to help you manage your money and get the most out of your holiday.

 

beach walk

 

Pick the Right Destination

 

Eastern Europe has some beautiful budget friendly destinations that are becoming increasingly popular amongst savvy tourists.

Countries such as Lithuania, Croatia and Bulgaria offer secluded beaches and beautiful scenery just a few hours flight away.

Not only are these countries cheap to fly to but your money stretches a lot further there too. You can grab a good meal and a pint of beer for under £10.00 which is a pretty good offer.

 

Dubronik

 

If you’re after a cheap city break, Prague and Budapest are great options. They have lots of free activities to keep you occupied during the day and the streets are filled with affordable restaurants to relax in at night.

 

All Inclusive Holiday

 

An all inclusive holiday can help you stick to a budget as it eliminates the need for additional spending. However, it’s only good value for money if you can pick a hotel that fits your specific needs.

Before you book, know what kind of holiday you want. Do you enjoy a glass of wine (or four) in an evening? If so, check to see how many drinks are included in the price. If you don’t drink, there’s no point paying for an unlimited bar tab so see what else is on offer or find a more suitable deal.

 

croatia

 

 

Flash Currency Sale

 

Get a good deal on your currency before you go away by taking advantage of a flash sale.

This type of deal typically lasts just a few hours but it means you can snap up currency for a heavily discounted price.

Keep up to date with currency flash sales here.

 

 

Cheap Travel Insurance

 

No-one wants to spend their money on something as boring as travel insurance, but it is important to have a policy in place before you go away.

When looking at travel insurance quotes, use a comparison website, such as Moneysupermarket.com, to find the best price.

It’s important to disclose any health issues you have. If you fall ill while abroad and it’s discovered that you weren’t entirely truthful on your insurance form, the policy could be declared invalid and you will be left holding a huge hospital bill.

Be sure to check the small print so you know exactly what is covered. Some basic activities may not be included and you may need to purchase additional insurance for certain sports.

 

snorkeling

 

 

Keep your eyes peeled for offers

 

There’s money to be saved if you keep your eyes peeled for time limited offers, like this one for Disneyland Paris.

 


Have a great holiday!

 

Natalie x

 

Natalie Vincent is feature writer and social media manager for Watchmywallet.co.uk

Photographs: Watch My Wallet

Disclosure

 

Other articles by Natalie:

Making money through the share economy

Affordable things to do February half term

Improving your money habits

How to have a thrifty Christmas

Ideas for pre Christmas breaks

How to avoid big phone bills abroad

Free things to do – New York

Free things to do – United Arab Emirates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The share economy

Make money from your things with peer-to-peer lending

 

We’ve all of us spent years acquiring stuff – that we don’t necessarily use all the time. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if there was a way of making a bit of money back on our ‘investments’!

A phenomenon which started in the US is now making it’s way over here. I already make extra money by renting out my spare room to tourists through AirBnB (see below), so this month I’ve asked our regular thrifting blogger Natalie to explore a bit further to see what’s available to us in the UK.

 

Over to you Natalie ……

Natalie Vincent B&W

 

Peer-to-peer lending has become increasingly popular over the last few years as household budgets shrink and consumers watch their every penny.

Savvy savers have realised that you can boost your monthly income by renting out your spare room, car, bike, and even your power tools if you know the right places to list your items.

 

Similarly, you can save a bundle by renting from a private owner rather than buying or renting from an established business.

Watch My Wallet has looked at some of the best ways to save or make money via peer-to-peer lending.

 

Rent Your Spare Room

 

Watch My Wallet and your 4ManchesterWomen editor are big fans of Airbnb.

If you have a flexible schedule and a spare room, you can rent it out to some lovely people looking for somewhere to stay. It is a safe way to generate a bit of extra income and meet a diverse bunch of people.

 

Air BnB

 

It’s also a good place to find affordable accommodation in some of the most popular holiday destinations in the world.

The website is easy to navigate and you can read hosts profiles and ratings to check everything is legit. You can communicate with hosts via the site which is great if you have any questions or want further information.

For more information visit airbnb.co.uk

 

 

Rent Out Your Car or Driveway

 

If your car spends most of the week just sitting outside your house, you could make some money by sending it to work. Your car has to be up to a decent standard for this to kind of scheme to work and EasyCar won’t accept models made before 2005.

 

Easy Car

 

If you regularly drive long distances, you could cut costs by renting out a seat in your car. BlaBlaCar ensures that drivers can’t profit from this kind of arrangement though but it can substantially reduce your petrol costs.

BlaBlaCar also offers women only journeys, which can give you some extra peace of mind if you’re a solo female travelling on a budget.

Parkatmyhouse is an easy way to generate income if you live in a busy or popular area. Got a house near Old Trafford or in trendy Chorlton? Rent your pavement out to visitors and earn a pretty penny while you’re at it.

For more information visit:

 

 

Rent Your Bike and Winter Sports Gear

 

Spinlister is a small American website that is steadily growing in popularity across the UK and the rest of Europe.

If you have a bike collecting dust in the garage but don’t want to part with it for good, then you can rent it via Spinlister. The same goes for snowboards and skis.

 

Spinlister

 

This site can help you avoid renting a costly bike while visiting London, Paris or New York. You can pre-arrange to meet a local resident and simply rent their wheels for the day, normally at a much lower rate.

For more information visit spinlister.com

 

 

Rent Your Space

 

Generate some extra cash by renting out your spare room, garage, empty loft, or vacant shed.

Storenextdoor claims that the average person makes £90 a month, or just over £1,000 a year, by listing on their site. That’s your summer holiday paid for.

 

Storenextdoor

 

It’s also a much cheaper way to store items than using a traditional unit.

For more information visit storenextdoor.com

 

 

Miscellaneous Items

 

Got a set of tools you only drag out of the garage occasionally? Rent them out to frugal DIY fans via Rentmyitems.

This site has a bizarre collection of things on offer. You can find instruments, camping equipment, air guns, a cross trainer, rollerblades, sledge, kayak, lawn mower, BBQ, chocolate fountain, and a decorative archway to hire – as well as many, many other items.

 

rent my items

 

You’re probably not going to generate a large regular income via this site but you could still make enough pocket money to pay for the odd takeaway or trip to the cinema.

For more information visit rentmyitems.com

 

It’s time to start embracing the share economy. Let us know how you get on.

 

Natalie x

 

Natalie Vincent is feature writer and social media manager for Watchmywallet.co.uk

 

Other articles by Natalie:

Affordable things to do February half term

Improving your money habits

How to have a thrifty Christmas

Ideas for pre Christmas breaks

How to avoid big phone bills abroad

Free things to do – New York

Free things to do – United Arab Emirates

 

 

 

 

 

Improving your money habits

Getting back on track with some new resolutions

 

January – month of cold weather, short days and no money!

However it’s also a month of new beginnings and trying to get back on track. So today we’ve asked our regular thrifty guest blogger Natalie to come up with some top tips to help us get our bank balances back into the black!

 

Over to you Natalie ……

Natalie Vincent B&W

 

The growing cost of Christmas means that many of us spend January struggling to make ends meet.

It’s not surprising that one of the most popular New Years Resolutions is to save money, but with scary credit card bills and a long wait till payday, it can be difficult to know where to start.

Watch My Wallet has come up with some useful tips to help you get into good financial habits this year.

Even if you can’t set aside a large chunk of change each month, you could still save money by making a few small changes to your everyday habits.

 

Set a Goal

 

Why are you saving money? Do you want to pay off your credit card, buy a new house or have some money put aside for emergencies?

Having a specific goal can help you stay focused.

If you need £20,000 for a house deposit, break it down into smaller milestones so it feels less daunting. You’re probably not going to reach your target overnight (unless you win the lottery!) so it helps to recognise small achievements that build towards your bigger goal.

 

Sterling money

 

Make a Budget

Blue piggy bank - face on with money sticking out

 

Have a good look at your finances and create a budget. Aim to save around 20 percent of your total monthly income, splitting the money into an emergency fund and retirement savings.

If you can’t manage 20 percent, work out how much you can afford and try to build on it when your circumstances change.

The Money Advice Service has a quick and easy budgeting tool that can help you create a realistic financial plan for the year.

 

 

Shop Carefully

 

We’re all prone to the occasional impulse purchase, but you could also be spending more than necessary on everyday items.

Trolley full of money

Supermarket offers can be misleading and many customers get confused over the sheer volume and variety of deals.

One supermarket could offer a seemingly good 3 for 2 deal. However, even with the offer, products could still work out cheaper elsewhere.

The basic rule is don’t assume you’re getting the best price just because it’s on sale.

It may be worth using a website like mysupermarket.co.uk to compare prices before you shop. This could save you an average of £17 per shopping trip.

 

Cut Unnecessary Spending

 

Have a good look at your finances and see where you can cut costs. Do you really need a gym membership or could you cycle to work instead? Do you use Netflix enough to warrant the cost? Could you take a packed lunch to work or skip that Starbucks latte?

Be ruthless when analysing your direct debits and standing orders. A staggering 75 percent of us are on the wrong phone tariff and paying way more than necessary for our contracts.

Check if you’re being overcharged by comparing your usage levels against your contractual allowance. If you’re using less than you’re entitled to, shrink your tariff to see how much you could save.

 

Good luck and happy saving!

 

Natalie x

 

Natalie Vincent is feature writer and social media manager for Watchmywallet.co.uk

Photographs: Free digital photos

 

Other articles by Natalie:

How to have a thrifty Christmas

Ideas for pre Christmas breaks

How to avoid big phone bills abroad

Free things to do – New York

Free things to do – United Arab Emirates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to have a thrifty Christmas

Top tips to help you save during the festive season

 

Christmas can be an enormously expensive time of the year. So with that in mind I’ve asked our regular money saving expert guest blogger Natalie to come up with some top tips to save us some cash.

 

Over to you Natalie ……

Natalie Vincent

 

With the stress of feeding your family, preparing your kids for the school play and navigating the hectic high street, it’s easy to lose track of your budget.

However, with a little planning, you can have a great Christmas without breaking the bank.

Watch my Wallet has come up with some convenient ways to have a fun and thrifty Christmas:

 

Pre-Christmas Sales

 

Many of us exploit the boxing-day sales but we don’t make the most of the pre-Christmas deals.

Big name retailers such as ASOS and Debenhams are running good sales at the moment. This could be the perfect place to find a dress for the office party or find a jumper for your niece or Nan.

 

shopping

 

Homemade Hampers

 

This is a great gift if you’re a bit crafty. You can make snug scarves for your relatives or try your hand at a festive jumper (Mark Darcy style!).

 

Marc Darcy Christmas Jumper

 

Hampers can still be a great present even if you’re not creative. You just need a few items to make it work. You could include a good book, some bubble bath and a home made CD. If you’re willing to spend some more, throw in a nice bottle of wine.

Include little bits that they’ll love, like their favourite chocolate bar or a collage of dishy men they fancy! It’s cheap and it shows you know them.

 

Groupon / Secret Escapes Offers

 

If you’re trying to find something for the person who has everything, why not buy an experience instead?

 

afternoon tea

 

You could treat your Mum to some afternoon tea with a voucher from Groupon or pay for a friend to indulge in some relaxing spa treatments.

If you’d prefer a romantic break, have a look at some of the deals offered by Secret Escapes. This website offers savings of up to 70 percent on luxury holidays and weekend trips.

 

Cashback Savings

 

Save money on your purchases by doing the bulk of your internet shopping through a cashback website like Quidco.

This is a great way to earn some money back on anything from big household items to little stocking fillers.

You can earn up to 8% cashback from Boots, 10 percent from ASOS, and 3 percent from Toys R Us.

You can get also earn cashback on your train tickets or hotel bookings over the festive period.

Learn more about the benefits of Cashback websites here.

 

family at Christmas

 

Whatever your budget, have a great Christmas and happy New Year!

 

Natalie x

 

Natalie Vincent is feature writer and social media manager for Watchmywallet.co.uk

Photographs: Free images from Shutterstock

 

Other articles by Natalie:

Ideas for pre Christmas breaks

How to avoid big phone bills abroad

Free things to do – New York

Free things to do – United Arab Emirates

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Ideas for Pre Christmas Breaks

Getting in the Christmas spirit (or escaping from it!)

 

Our regular travel blogger Natalie is back with us today with some top ideas for pre Christmas breaks. Whether you want to embrace the Christmas spirit, or run a mile then there’s something here for everyone.

 

Over to you Natalie ……

Natalie Vincent

 

It’s understandable that many of us are feeling miserable with the bad weather and dark nights drawing in.

Beat the winter blues with an enjoyable weekend away during the run up to Christmas.

We’ve found some great holiday ideas that won’t blow your festive budget or require lots of travel money.

 

So cheer yourself up with one of these great deals:

 

 

Christmas Markets in Germany

Berlin at Christmas

 

Berlin is a great city to explore anytime of the year but it becomes even more exciting in the run up to Christmas. You can sip hot chocolate while walking around the markets before moving on to see the historic Brandenburg Gate or the Reichstag building.

The markets are second to none and the whole city looks even more beautiful covered in snow.

Return flights are reasonably priced at £160 per person*.

 

 

Northern Lights in Iceland

Northern Lights

 

Make your Christmas extra magical this year by seeing the Northern Lights.

Reykjavik is a great place to visit, and December is one of the best months to go if you want to see the lights.

Iceland has a lot to offer beyond this. You can go whale watching or visit the Blue Lagoon, which is said to have many health benefits, especially if you suffer from psoriasis or a similar skin complaint.

Buy return flights from Manchester to Reykjavik for £250 per person*.

 

 

Winter Sun in Egypt

Red Sea Coral Reef

 

If you’d prefer to escape the cold this winter, try a long weekend in Sharm el Sheikh. This popular holiday destination boasts average temperatures of 22 degrees, so it’s just a bit warmer than our lovely Manchester!

This is a great place to go snorkelling, canoeing or scuba diving in the Red Sea. You can find affordable equipment to hire along the coast or enjoy a fancy cocktail in a sea view restaurant instead.

Return flights Manchester to Sharm el Sheikh are around £250 per person*.

Please check the Foreign Office Website before travel.

 


Cabin holidays in UK

Cabin holiday

 

Not sure where abouts this cabin is in the UK – but never mind!

You don’t have to go far to enjoy a nice break this winter.

Companies like Forest Holidays offer value breaks in their modern cabins which range from budget-friendly to luxurious.

This is a great choice for people who love drinking wine by the fire after a busy day climbing trees and getting muddy.

Similar to Centre Parks, these holidays offer optional extras such as horseback riding, 4×4 off-roading, clay target shooting, or Go Ape Tree Top Adventures.

You could also learn a new skill in one of their archery or watercolour classes.

Alternatively, keep the budget to a minimum by simply getting lost in the woods or using your bike to explore hidden pathways.

We found a two bed cabin for three nights for £192.15.

 

UK Spa Break

spa break

 

If you prefer luxurious mud baths over muddy shoes, try a spa weekend. It can be a nice way to relax and take a break from all the stresses of Christmas.

We found these top 5 winter spa deals with prices from as little as £65.00 a night.

You can generally find good spa deals on Groupon or similar voucher based websites if you’re after a last minute deal.

 

Where ever you end up on your pre Christmas break, have a lovely time.

 

Natalie x

 

Natalie Vincent is feature writer and social media manager for Watchmywallet.co.uk

*Flight prices from Kayak for the 5th – 8th December 2013. Accurate as of 28th October 2013.

Photographs: Free images from Shutterstock

 

Other articles by Natalie:

How to avoid big phone bills abroad

Free things to do – New York

Free things to do – United Arab Emirates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to avoid big phone bills abroad

Don’t get caught out with shock roaming charges when you’re on holiday

 

Our thrifty travel expert Natalie is back on the blog again with money saving tips to help prevent you getting a nasty post holiday mobile phone bill shocker!

 

Over to you Natalie ……

Natalie Vincent

 

Holiday’s are expensive when you consider the cost of flights and travel money.

While relaxing on a beach or rushing around a city, the majority of tourists don’t think about how much it will cost to upload a few pictures to Facebook or even check their emails.

Figures show that the average tourist racks up £120 in additional charges while abroad. However, you can avoid these costs by being a bit savvy and thinking ahead:

 

How to Avoid Roaming Charges Completely

 

If you’re happy to go without the internet for a few weeks, switch off data roaming settings before you board the plane. This will ensure that your phone doesn’t automatically connect to a signal when you arrive in your host country.

 

Use Wi-Fi Hubs

 

Many hotels offer wi-fi or have computer clusters you can use. There may be a small charge for these, but it is normally reasonably priced and substantially cheaper than your phone.

 

Girls looking at mobile phone

 

Buy a Data Plan

 

If you plan to use the internet regularly while abroad, it’s worth purchasing a plan from your network provider. There is normally a set price per day for X amount of data used. This means that you will know exactly how much you are spending so there aren’t any nasty surprises when you get home.

 

New EU Rules

 

The EU now requires networks to cap data roaming costs when people travel within Europe. This means that phone calls will be charged at a maximum of €0.24 a minute and texts will cost no more than €0.08.

Data charges are the most expensive but will be capped at €0.45 a megabyte.

 

Girl on holiday with mobile phone

 

I hope this will help you keep costs low and avoid any post-holiday stress!

 

Natalie x

 

Natalie Vincent is feature writer and social media manager for Watchmywallet.co.uk

 

Other articles by Natalie:

Free things to do – New York

Free things to do – United Arab Emirates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free things to do in New York

Free and cheap things to do in the city that never sleeps!

 

I’ve got a real soft spot for New York. I first went in 2001, flying out on the morning of 9/11! I went back there on my honeymoon ten years to the day later. It’s brash, loud, shouty and full of character. And of course it’s home to my beloved Sex and the City.

Today we’ve got another guest blog from Natalie – our travelling on a budget expert!

 

Over to you Natalie ……

Natalie Vincent

 

New York is one of the most exciting and diverse cities in the world.

Around 40 million people visit the state each year but many tourists don’t venture far from Times Square or the Empire State building.

But there are so many other great places to see, where your travel money will stretch further and you’ll hobnob with locals.

 

Here are a few cheap and cheerful ideas for your trip to New York:

 

Brooklyn Bridge Park

 

 

Manhattan Kayak

 

Brooklyn Bridge Park has become increasingly popular with locals and tourists because it has unparalleled views of NYC.

Visitors can go kayaking, or participate in a zumba, yoga, belly dancing or palates lesson. You can also show off your ‘soccer’ skills here or enjoy one of the outdoor concerts.

This park certainly has better views than Central Park and all of the events mentioned above are completely free.

 

Yoga Brooklyn Bridge Park

 

 

Rooftop Bars

 

The Empire State building is known for its views, but it’s also renowned for its horrifically long queues and slow-paced security checks. Skip this expensive, stressful excursion and head to a rooftop bar instead.

 

Roof top bar Met Museum NYC

 

One of the best views of NYC is from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. After taking in a bit of culture, you can watch the sunset from the rooftop café while enjoying a cocktail (or two!). It’s a much more relaxing way to see the city from up-high without the stress of a trip up one of the city’s skyscrapers.

 

Movies with a View

 

Open air movies New York

 

Forget Broadway, what you want is a movie with a view.

If you get good weather, go to one of the open-air cinemas that pop up around the city. These free events give you the chance to snuggle under a blanket with a glass of wine and meet some of the locals.

 

There are hundreds of showings on over the summer, so there will be a film for everyone. You can find the full list of open-air cinemas here.

If you prefer live entertainment, have a look at what’s going on off-Broadway. The artists working in tiny theatres across NYC are hugely talented and many of them go on to star in Broadway musicals or TV shows.

 

Governors Island

 

For great views of the Statue of Liberty and lower Manhattan, head to Governors Island.

This historical island is a short ferry ride from NYC. It’s free to visit, unlike Staten Island where you’ll pay $12 per person.

Make the most of your trip to Governors Island by taking a picnic and setting up camp on the grassy quad. This is a great place to watch the sunset over Manhattan and get a good look of the Statue of Liberty.

Alternatively, hire a bike and go for a ride. The island is only small, but it’s an awful lot of fun to cycle round.

 

 

Union Square and Williamsburg

 

Instead of getting a little brown bag from Bloomingdales, head to Union Square at the bottom of 5th Avenue near the Flatiron District. This park hosts a busy market four days a week, full of delicious food from regional farmers, fishermen and bakers. The market also regularly host book signings and cooking demonstrations, which is perfect for food-lovers.

 

Union Square Maret

 

If you’re more interested in clothes than grub, venture out to Williamsburg. This area is known for being “trendy” and it’s populated with second hand record stores, quirky eateries, and beautiful bookshops.

 

Williamsburg Chad Matthew Carlson

 

The Williamsburg flea market is held each Sunday and it has an eclectic range of vintage jewellery, modern art, delicate furniture and designer clothes. Most things on sale are reasonably priced so it’s a great place to stock up on souvenirs and treat yourself.

Have a fantastic time in The Big Apple – which won’t break the bank!

 

Natalie x

 

Natalie Vincent is feature writer and social media manager for Watchmywallet.co.uk

Photographs: Guest of a Guest – Yoga Brooklyn Bridge Park, Roof Top Bar – Flickr Noel Y.C., Movies with a View – Julienne Schaer, Williamsburg – Chad Matthew Carlson Shutterstock.com, Union Square market – littleny Shutterstock.com

This is not a sponsored blog post.

 

Other articles by Natalie:

Free things to do – United Arab Emirates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free things to do – UAE

Free and cheap things to do – it can be done!

 

It sounds like an impossible challenge – but guest blogger and self confessed thrifter Natalie has some top tips. So if you’re planning an autumn of winter break to Dubai or Abu Dhabi then read on. And if not – read on anyway and we might just persuade you!

 

Over to you Natalie ……

Natalie Vincent

 

The pristine beaches, high temperatures, and unique culture have helped make Abu Dhabi and Dubai two of the most popular holiday destinations in the world.

However, the country is also known for being very expensive and you can easily spend the bulk of your travel money within days of arriving.

 

 

To help cut costs, I’ve produced a list of some of the best free or cheap things to do in the United Arab Emirates:

 

 

The Grand Mosque

 

The Grand Mosque is one of the most beautiful buildings in the country. It’s one of the largest mosques in the world, and it’s also home to one of the biggest chandeliers in existence.

This is a must see for any visitors to the country. It’s an impressive sight and it’s free to visit.

 

Grand Mosque UEA

 

Grand Mosque UEA

 

Note: There is a dress code to enter the mosque. Women are required to cover their heads and wear lose fitting clothes, while men can wear pretty much anything as long as it’s respectful.

 

 

Corniche

 

The Corniche is a beautiful stretch of land a few steps from Abu Dhabi’s city centre. You can use the parks, beach, and volleyball courts for free, but avoid the hotel owned areas as they charge an entrance fee.

The cornice is also a good place to explore the rest of Abu Dhabi from as it’s close to several landmarks, including the Emirates Palace and the Heritage Centre.

 

 

Heritage Centre

 

The Heritage Centre is just opposite the Corniche and it’s a great place to learn about the history and development of the UAE. It also gives you the chance to see a camel up close without paying for a separate, expensive camel experience.

The best thing about the Heritage Centre is the incredible views on offer. The centre backs onto a quiet beach that is the perfect spot to capture Abu Dhabi’s impressive skyline.

 

Heritage Centre Abu Dhabi

 

Shopping Malls

 

The UAE isn’t short of malls. They’ve become a bit of a tourist attraction in themselves as many feature impressive water features, aquariums, ice rinks and restaurants, as well as a huge range of shops.

The Dubai Mall is one of the most popular places to visit. There is plenty to see in the mall itself but it also provides access to the Burj Khalifa building, the tallest in the world.

You can buy tickets to go up the tower for around 125 AED (£23). Expect long queues if you decide to go to the top, but the mall itself is fun to explore and you can easily spend a few hours wondering around without spending a penny.

 

Dubai

 

 

Best Way to See The Desert

 

Various companies offer tours of the desert. These packages often include camel riding, sand surfing and belly dancing for around £60 per person for a half day trip.

I’d recommend renting a car instead, which costs about £11 a day for a small vehicle. This gives you the chance to drive yourself out into the desert and explore forts and villages you find along the way. It will take you away from the typical tourist areas and help you save money.

 

Camel

 

 

Day Trip to Al Ain

 

If you fancy a day trip away from the skyscrapers and beaches of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, drive to Al Ain. It’s only an hour and a half away from both cities and it’s a pleasant journey through the desert. You’ll probably see a few Bedouin and camels along the way.

The emirate is home to the highest mountain in the UAE. It may not be the Burj Khalifa tower but the mountain is free to drive up and it offers great views from the top.

Al Ain also has a good zoo that costs 15 AED (£2.67) for adults and just 5 AED (89p) for children. It’s not as good as Chester Zoo, but it is good value for money and a nice way to spend a few hours.

 

Al Ain

 

Remember it’s a Muslim country so dress respectfully, don’t act drunk in public, and keep displays of affection in your hotel room!

Bon voyage!

 

Natalie x

 

Natalie Vincent is feature writer and social media manager for Watchmywallet.co.uk

Photographs: Natalie Vincent, Sergii Figurnyi / Shutterstock.com

This is not a sponsored blog post.

 

 

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