Friday, 24 February 2017

Cheap Winter sun for under £250pp? (All In)

Winter sucks in the UK, it’s cold, wet and miserable so I wanted to see if you could catch some winter sunshine for under £250pp. 



The UK winter is actually one of the best times to visit the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and really anywhere in the tropics. Obviously a trip to the Caribbean would have been great but with a budget of £250pp for a week I didn’t think I would have much luck. A much cheaper and closer to home option was the Canary Islands with their year round summer weather.
First stop, Skyscanner, set month view to Jan/Feb and set departure from Glasgow or Edinburgh and check all Canaries. First and cheapest hit was Gran Canaria, £15 outbound with Ryan Air from Prestwick and £18 return with Thomas Cook to Glasgow, 6 days in total which was close enough to my week goal.
Second stop, hotels.com, after a quick check I found most of the 4* plus hotels were out of budget so I switched over to Air B&B and managed to find a couple of places which looked ideal. Cue some over excitement and all of a sudden I had booked one, without actually checking where it was. How big can Gran Canaria be? Thankfully not actually that big but anything inland was only accessible via some crazy ass mountain roads and, you guessed it, my Air B&B was right in the heart of the island!



Since our accommodation turned out to be in the middle of no-where (the title did say Rural) I thought it best to hire a car (the car rental people did laugh where I said we were going to a place called Fontanelles). Car hire in Europe can be a nightmare, if you have ever booked one before you will know never to book the cheapest car rental that comes up in a search, the pick-up location could be 10km from the airport and you can end up being up-sold insurance to cover the most obscure things. Also check the fuel policy, if it says “return with empty tank” the rental will be slightly cheaper than the “return with full tank” but be warned that you will be charged a full tank of fuel at the rental companies own fuel rate when you pick up your car.

So out of all the rental car companies at Gran Canaria airport I found only one which ticked all the boxes. Auto Reisen Car Hire. Here is why you should book with them if you visit any of the Canary Islands.


  • New cars
  • Pick up with full tank, return with full tank
  • £0 excess insurance provided 
  • No added costs
  •  Additional driver for free
  • Free baby seat if required
  • Cost for 6 days all in for a Volkswagen polo 1.2 Turbo = 70 Euro


Was it under the £250pp budget?

  • Flights = £33 x 2 =   £66
  • Air B&B = £47/night x 6 = £282 - £25 Voucher = £257
  • Car hire = £65 (with the UK’s crap exchange rate)
  • Total = £388 for 2

What a deal! Since this came way under the £500 budget I decided to use the remaining £112 for holiday money to see if you could do a week in Gran Canaria for under £250 ALL IN, check back and see if we managed it!


Are there any flights still available? 

Im glad you asked because you can still fly out to Gran Canaria for less than £30 return. Check these links out for some of the deals.

Flying from Glasgow
March (Lot's of dates from £26 return)
April (not so many dates left from £45 return)
May (various dates from £45 return)

Flying from Leeds
March (lots of dates available from £30 Return)

Flying from Liverpool 
March (lots of dates available from £32 Return)


If you fancy booking an AirBnB you can get £30 off the total cost of your first booking, simply click through and use my Friends and Family discount bellow. (AirBnB full terms and conditions here).  Don’t say I’m not good to you :P 





 Thanks for reading

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Thursday, 23 February 2017

Insanely cheap flights to USA (Norwegian Air)

ALL NOW SOLD OUT! well they didn't last long, subscribe to me on BlogLoving or my mailing list and you will be the first to know about future offers.

Are you holding on to your seats, I have a round up of some fantastic deals from the UK to USA. All flight prices correct as of 23/02/17 @ 19:00 but won't last long!. 






5 Nights in Boston



When: 25th - 30th October 
Where From: Edinburgh
Flights (click here) = £147pp Return.  SOLD OUT!!!! 



14 Nights in Boston





When: 20th Nov - 4th Dec 
Where From: Edinburgh
Flights (click here) = £147pp Return.  SOLD OUT, £225 NOW


7 Nights in NYC


When: 23rd - 30th Jan 2018
Where From: Edinburgh
Flights (click here) = £147pp Return.  SOLD OUT!!!! 


BOSTON TO NYC (multi city tour)





Buy one way flights on the links below and book a train to take you from Boston to NYC, its only 3 hours away and there is good availability on the return flight from NYC.

When: 25th Oct - from 6 nights to 3 weeks
Where From: Edinburgh
Train from Boston - NYC = £40 


Let me know if you grab any of these bargain fares, this must be the cheapest ever fares to the US from the UK. There are more available from Dublin and of course they only include cabin baggage so pack light!! Also check 2018 for more availability if you can plan that far in advance. 

Thanks for reading

Cal Mc

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Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Paris By Foot

Just before Christmas Easy-Jet were offering some pretty good deals to fly to some of the major European Cities, one of them, Paris was only £25 return! An offer I couldn’t turn down. Before I knew it I had booked the tickets and all that was left was to find a hotel, how hard can it be to find a cheap, nice hotel near the attractions. . . . .apparently very hard as I found out.


(love lock of Paris)

With a Budget of £90 a night I started to look for hotels within walking distance or a subway ride of the major attractions. One of the areas that I found was Monmartre, it had a great choice of hotels and restaurants within walking distance of the main sights. Cue the B Monmartre, a nice boutique hotel which even has a little tropical garden with palm trees rising into the sky out the back. The hotel rooms are small but modern and clean with all that you require after a long day out exploring the city.




Day 1

Once we had checked in and freshened up we decided to explore the local area, I took Jess on a mystery tour to a place that apparently gave the best sunset view of the city. Twenty minutes of walking later I was beginning to wonder if this place actually existed as we wandered through a random cemertery. Thankfully after a short walk up a hill we ended up in the market square of Place du Tertre and things started to look up! And then right on cue when we walked around the corner, flanked by a huge cathedral, was an incredible view of the city with the sun setting beside the Eiffel Tower.



The night was finished with some drinks in the Bistrot Du 9eme during their happy hour (5 Euro cocktails) and a walk back to the hotel via the Moulin Rouge.



Day 2

Our second day started early-ish - we grabbed some breakfast from a great local bakery before taking a walk down to the Galeries Lafayette. The centre foyer in here is incredible, it's just about the most impressive department store ever!! Just look at that roof!




Sick of bumping into the countless people staring at the roof we decided it was time to head off on a walk to the Louvre. I used an app called “SatNav” keep us right doing the trip, its free to download and you get one free offline country (extras are £3). I definitely recommend it as it kept us from getting lost and won't cost you anything on data.




A good forty-five minutes later we arrived at the Louvre. There was a short queue (extra security at all monuments at the moment) but once we were in we took some time to admire the famous glass domes from the entrance gallery. The Louvre itself is a huge museum and probably best not to just rush round it so we decided to keep it for another time. We did however spend some time in the vast underground labyrinth that stretches for miles and miles under the museum. If you do want to go in it's free for any students and EU national under 25 , free for anyone under 25 on a Friday night or 17 for a normal ticket.




Refuelled with a quick coffee and bite to eat we made our way back along the river taking in the sights before eventually ending up at the main attraction. The Eiffel Tower, of course. We gave the tower a good looking at before deciding that it was too much effort to go up. Plus the view from the ground was pretty good anyways. 




Satisfied with our photo haul we began the freezing cold, hour long trek back to the hotel through the residential side of Paris. We even stumbled upon a nice little restaurant that served up some great French food and drink on the way.

Day 3 

Having clocked up a good 26 miles by this point, our feet were getting a bit sore. The executive decision was made (by Jess) to get the all-day 10 subway ticket. This gave us access to all the stops within the centre of Paris. We quickly ended up at the Notre Dame which we actually did go into, 10 tourist points to us! The building is quite incredible and since its free to get in to we couldn’t turn it down (#cheapskates).




Next up a subway ride to the GOMA (free entry) where we spent 45mins being confused by some very weird exhibits. Deciding that maybe we just didn’t get art it was time to do something that we really do get. Drinking. The rest of the afternoon was spent trying out some local bars and famous Macron shops where we ate and drank our self until we ended up crashed out in bed.



Summary

Would I recommend Paris in the depth of Winter? Damn right!

If you wrap up warm and can brave the cold -2C days then you can see Paris without the mad crowds and you can save yourself a fortune on hotels. If you fancy cramming in a good old 36 mile hike around the city then check out this super awesome map I made.




Until next time,

Cal Mc

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Paris By Foot | The Ultimate Guide to Seeing Paris on Foot | By CalMcTravels


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Friday, 17 February 2017

Best Airbnb's in France

I have been pretty addicted to trawling through Airbnb recently, hunting out some of the more unusual places to visit. Some of them are not actually that expensive and look pretty dam cool! Check out my top five finds for France. 





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The Cave



Where:  Bonnieux, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

What: Cave home built into a stone quarry (1 bedroom)

How Much: £124/night

Key Features: Infinity Pool, huge open spaces and unique rooms

Why I'd like to stay: There is something medieval about this place, like a castle built into the rock but with all the modern luxuries I can just picture myself at that pool drinking mojitos and chilling in the sun.



The Wooden One


Where:  Saint-Martin-Labouval, Midi-Pyrénées

What: Wooden house with infinity pool (2 bedroom)

How Much: £54/night weekday £75/night weekend

Key Features: Infinity pool, 2 bedrooms, fully equipped kitchen

Why I'd like to stay: I love log cabins so this place, equipped with an infinity pool, is right up there in my top 5. Also the surrounding areas look great for exploring and walking.



The Villa


Where: Forest Labenne, Aquitaine

What: 3 Bedroom villa with pool 

How Much: £140/nightKey 

Features: Pool, loads of room, private, close to beach 

Why I'd like to stay: With plenty of space and only 2.5km from a surfers paradise beach this place would be ideal for a trip with a few pals! 


The Little One


Where:  Vieille-Toulouse, Midi-Pyrénées

What: Small cabins with 1 bedroom 

How Much: £84/night

Key Features: Close to the city, breakfast can be included, very modern

Why I'd like to stay: After a long day exploring the city or surrounding areas this place looks ideal      for chilling out and taking in the countryside. 5*Glamping. 


The One With The View


Where:  Lapeyrugue, Auvergne

What: Private chalet with 2 bedrooms

How Much: £89/night

Key Features: Incredible view, big chalet, log burner, hot tub, pool
Why I'd like to stay: This looks like the sort of place you could go and not need to leave for a week, the views look incredible and I can just picture myself chilling on a winter night by the log burner after some drinks in the hot tub.

FREE £30 CREDIT FOR AIR B&B


 I hope you liked my top 5 list, any other suggestions let me know. 

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Tuesday, 14 February 2017

New York - Part Two







Woahhh hold on - if you haven't read part one of this trip click here and check that out first!


Day 3

The next day with a mild hangover and tired feet we took the subway down to lower Manhattan to visit the 9:11 Memorial. We quite fancied going into the museum as we had heard good things about it but a huge queue in baking hot weather put us off so we just ended up walking around the pools. We did however take a walk to the One World Trade Centre, currently the third tallest building in the world.There is an observation deck at the top but because we had already gone up the Rockefeller Centre we decided not to spend the cash.




The rest of the day was spent wandering around, we checked out the statue of liberty from the shoreline, did a bit more shopping and then had some craft beers and nachos in a beer hall on 5th Avenue.

Sat Night, I had two tickets to see the Mets pay baseball in the Caesars Gold section of the Citi Stadium, this gave us access to a private bar and some great seats to watch the game (£60 each). We got the train out to the stadium which didn’t take too long. Once we'd grabbed some Mets attire (you gotta fit in with the crowd) we headed straight to the bar.



Looking like true American baseball fans (or total tourists) we cheered the Mets to victory as they won't the game! The night ended with a bang as a huge firework show was put on by the stadium as part of their Saturday night show.




Day 4

Today was all about the Natural History Museum, we walked from the hotel via the park but not before picking up another New York Cheese Cake from Magnolia Bakery and some sandwiches to have a picnic along the way.




It was pretty busy when we arrived but there wasn't much of a queue at the self service machines so managed to get tickets pretty quickly and headed straight into the museum. I definitely recommend this way of buying your ticket, the price was the same as pre-booking or group booking. 




The museum is great and just what you expect, lots of old stuff and things to spot from the film "Night at the Museum".

The rest of the day was spend chilling out in the park before heading back to the hotel.



Tonight we had tickets to Avenue Q. I was sceptical about this musical, a recommendation from Jess, since it's about some puppets living in New York... But it was quite honestly one of the funniest shows I have ever seen! We scoffed some super strong Long Island Iced Teas and laughed until our sides hurt.


Day 5

Day 5 and my feet were killing me, so to soothe the pain we went . . .  shopping!



We did stop off at Ellen's Stardust Diner for breakfast where a Broadway actor sung a great version of Jackson 5 to Jess while we ate our pancakes. It’s a pretty cool place and definitely recommend it for something different.



After some shopping we headed to Grand Central where we wandered around and took some photos. I have heard that if you go to one end of the hall and speak to the wall a friend at the other end can hear you, probably not true but definitely going to try this next time I’m there even if I look like a complete nutter.




Bumped into a film set on our way back to the hotel.

We had nothing booked on our last night so just decided to have a nice meal at the hotels restaurant and chill upstairs on the roof bar.

Day 6

Our last day was pretty relaxing, we took a picnic in the morning out to Central Park, another New York Cheese cake was involved! Then got our stuff packed up for our trip home.

We decided since it was so easy to get the bus from Newark Airport that we would do the same on the way out to JFK airport, this was a huge mistake! The bus skipped the highway and instead took the longest way ever to the airport. To make things even worse there was roadworks on the way so this delayed us even more but luckily we left super early so we could make the most of the Concord Lounge at the airport so arrived on time. Note to self - never take the bus from JFK. I think it took more than 2 hours.




Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed.


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Saturday, 11 February 2017

2000 Avios for £12.50




If you have an Iberia Account then you can buy 2000 Avios for £12.50 which is 0.65p per Avios 

To do this you will require an Iberia Account that has been open for over 6 months 

If you don't have one then head over to www.iberia.com and open one and you can catch this deal next time. 

If you do have one head over to the Spanish Groupon site 






You can google translate the page if you want but its quite easy to navigate through if you don't. 

  • Click the add to basket and add "2000 Avios"
  • Once you have added it sign in to Groupon 
  • Add the following discount code: "CUPON20"
  • This will take the price to 15.20 Euros 
  • If you pay with PayPal you will not get a foreign translation fee from your card provider
  • Now check your emails 
  • Find the coupon and open the pdf 
  • On the coupon look for "click aquí"
  • Click this and then enter the two numbers from the pdf into the web page along with your email address
  • You may have to try this a couple of times before it will work
  • Once it works it will take you to a new page to enter your Iberia Plus number, again you may need to enter this a couple of times before it will accept it. 



Hey Presto you have 2000 Cheap Avios 




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