Travel

Tips for a perfect city break

The roaring 20’s – no not the decade of sparkly shoes and slip dresses, but the time when, as an individual, you discover the many city break adventures on offer around Europe.
 
We often don’t realise just how lucky we are to have the ability to travel to another country and experience a new culture until we are on an aeroplane back to the Emerald Isle. Adventures are the stories you never forget and I don’t know about you but in the past two years I’ve spent more money on plane tickets than clothes and food. So, I hear you ask, what are my tips for a perfect city break? Stay tuned while I explain how to pack the maximum amount of sight seeing into a short time, what the perfect length for a city break is and which city suits the student budget best!
 
Over the past few years, I have experienced various cultures and explored many cities including Rome, Paris, London, Barcelona, Madrid and Prague to name but a few. In order to make the most out of your holiday it is vital to research what the city has to offer and organise your activities before leaving. In saying that, when you arrive, you sometimes discover little gems around the city that you never would have found while googling “touristy fun things to do in London!” So, I find organising one main thing to do that day, and fill the rest of the day with little activities works best.
 
Now, I know some of you don’t want to hear this, but in order to maximise your time, getting up early each morning is essential. What! Getting up early on holidays! Not a chance! However, unless you want to wake up at lunch and miss the buzz of the morning markets in Madrid or the short queues for the Eiffel Tower, a 9am alarm has to be set.
 
The very definition of a city break according to Collins dictionary is ‘a short holiday spent in a city’ – but how short are we talking here? In my opinion, 3 nights is a perfect length for a city break. In saying this, an early 6am flight to the city and a late 10pm flight on the way home allows for 4 full days of discovery. Although spending four days in a city that you could spend years exploring really emphasises the idea that filling your time with activities is so important! However, I don’t believe that you need to return to the same city two or three times in order to fully explore it. I think it is important to travel to different cities in order to experience various cultures, and if that means only seeing a short snapshot of the area at least you feel like you’ve checked another experience off your bucket list.
 
With all this talk about holidays, many of you I’m sure are wondering how a broke media student with a part time job can afford so many trips. It’s all about finding the right place, researching the city properly and often going during the week can guarantee cheap flights. Madrid ticks all of these boxes, cheap flights and accommodation sets a grounding for a budget holiday. While there, the city is the perfect size to explore on foot eliminating the cost of taxis, trains and buses. The option of a student ticket means cheap or free entry to the top attractions including the Prado Museum (free entry), the Royal Palace of Madrid (€5) and the Botanic Gardens (€2). The wide range of tapas food and exquisite restaurants guarantees a 3 course meal for two with a drink each for around €30 altogether.
 
City breaks are a time of exciting discover and if organised properly will fit perfectly into the student budget. So I leave you with these 3 main tips for a city break holiday.
1. Organise your holiday activities before the trip.
2. Book an early flight to maximise your 3 nights away.
3. Research the best deals to fit your student budget.