Autumn is here, and it’s a lovely time to take a break. The weather is often mild during autumn, and then of course you have the wonderful autumn colours to enjoy. So why not consider grabbing a quick weekend away sometime over the next few weeks?
The problem is that as soon as you start thinking about a weekend away, you cringe at the thought of how much it’s all going to cost. And indeed, a weekend at a hotel in the UK can often cost almost as much as a week abroad.
So in this article we give a few suggestions for a weekend away that doesn’t cost a fortune.
If you don’t mind being a bit flexible about where you go for your weekend away, it’s a good idea to leave booking a hotel until much nearer the time. Perhaps you could have a shortlist of destinations you would like then sort the finer details at the last minute.
The reason for this is that many hotels will be prepared to offer a discounted rate just to fill their empty rooms. So it could be worth calling at the last minute to see if there is anything available. For all you know they may just have had a cancellation and would be prepared to offer the room at a good discount rather than have it stand empty.
If you want to get things sorted a little earlier than that, another good tip is to make your booking the Saturday before you want to go, as Saturday seems to be the day when last minute offers start to appear.
There are a couple of ways that you might be able to get a good deal by including either Thursday or Monday in your weekend. Let’s take a look:
Many hotels offer a better rate or a special deal if you stay for 3 or more nights. This could mean that you can extend your stay for one night for not much more money than you would pay for 2 nights. Extended deals often include extras such as a welcome drink, afternoon tea or evening dinner allowance. So you could end up getting a longer break for little difference in cost, which would be well worth it.
Most hotels expect weekend guests to check in on Friday and leave on Sunday. So the prices for Sunday night may be much less than the peak prices charged for Friday and Saturday nights.
It could therefore be cheaper if you check in on Saturday night and stay over till Monday, making it a Saturday-Monday weekend instead of a Friday-Sunday.
When planning your weekend away, bear in mind that prices for some weekends will be considerably higher than others. An obvious period to avoid is half term week, which for most schools are the weekends of 21st/22nd and 28th/29th October – although staying the night of Sunday 29th October could be better value as most people tied into school dates would not be able to stay that evening.
But as well as general peak dates, also be aware of any special events going on in the particular places you are hoping to go to. For example sporting events, big music gigs, or major conferences. Any of these could inflate weekend prices way higher than usual, so are best avoided.
If there are particular hotels that you really like the look of, it’s always a good idea to start following them on social media and also signing up for their emails. This will give you advance notice of special deals and offers that could save you money. They may also run competitions that could get you a free meal or even a whole weekend away – and let’s face it, someone has to win!
Also look out for secret deals on third party websites such as lastminute.com. You may be able to get a really good hotel deal such as 40% off if you are willing to book at an unknown hotel. The full hotel details will be available to you once you have booked. So if you have decided where you want to go but are prepared to be flexible about the actual hotel you stay in, this could be a good option for you.
Of course, another option for a fabulous weekend away in the UK is to go self-catering. In many ways, this can work out better than a hotel in that you would have much more space to enjoy, and also you have complete flexibility over different aspects of your day: for example what time you get up, and where and when you eat.
Many cottage rental companies offer shorter breaks such as 3 nights at this time of year and, particularly if you are making a last minute booking, you are likely to get a considerable discount on their peak season rates.
Also take a look at AirBnB, which offers a wide range of short term rentals from private hosts from just one night. Just be careful to double check the full price on the website as AirBnB charges a fee, and the host may also add on an additional charge for cleaning on top of the rental itself. But you could still find exactly the kind of accommodation you are looking for in the destination of your choice.
We hope that this article has given you some useful ideas about how to get away for a weekend this autumn without spending a small fortune in the process. But if at any stage you do need to top up your funds, remember that Minty offers 24 month loans that may be able to help.