Long distance travelling can be not only a pain but also very expensive. There have been plenty of articles recently about people travelling to Europe in order to save money on their trip from one end of the country to the other and a fellow money saver, Tom Church, recently flew in a private plane as it was cheaper than taking the train.
Blogging Conferences Galore
Last September I attended my first ever blogging conference, the SHOMOs (Show Me The Money) and the awards that went alongside it. It saw me setting off from home at around 5am to get to London in time for the start of the event, and I returned the same day. It was a tiring day but well worth it. The return journey cost me £36.75 then about £5 in tube fare by taking advantage of the Trainline’s advance fares – I booked in June for September.
This year I’m attending the conference again BUT I’m also heading to BlogOn in Manchester the very next day – yes, I’m crazy. This weekend of blogging goodness was shaping up to be an expensive one, well, it would have been if I wasn’t prepared.
Exploring Other Options
This year I was determined to travel as cheap as I could but also allow myself to enjoy the weekend a little more by not being overly tired – it was a challenge with the 435.71 mile round trip to take in to account. I had to factor in overnight stays as there was no way I was doing it without, my sanity just wouldn’t cope.
My first decision was to travel to London a day early, meaning I could look at other ways to get there besides the train. So my first task was the single to London from Sheffield.
My options were the train at £27.50 which would take 2hrs 22mins to Euston, the National Express at £7.20 which would take 4hrs 20mins to Victoria Street or the Megabus (with my student card) at £3.20 and would take 3hrs 50mins. I opted for the Megabus so Sheffield to London cost me £3.20.
Overnight In London
In order to actually arrive at the SHOMOs in some form of a human state I decided that I needed a bed for the night before, I couldn’t do the same journey as last year. I went hunting for somewhere to stay that I could split with my good friend Katy from Katykicker.com.
I found an EasyHotel about a 30 minute walk from the venue and the coach station. This cost us a whopping £26 each, for a night in the middle of London – BARGAIN! Ok, so it’s not the Ritz and is a basic double room (with a window) but for somewhere to lay our heads it was perfect.
So far so good, total trip cost is now £29.20.
Next Stop Manchester
So the Sunday sees the return of BlogOn. I went in May for the first time and loved it, there was so much to see and do; not to mention the goodie bags. After lots of umming and ahhing between a small group of us we decided that travelling up the Saturday evening would be the best bet. This meant I needed to find a cheap train ticket AND an overnight stay in Manchester.
Low and behold, Virgin Trains decided to have a sale which many of the UK Money Bloggers attending the SHOMO’s jumped on. I ended up spending a whopping £11 on a single from London to Manchester. I know it wasn’t as good as the way there but I had a more restricted time frame – I didn’t want to arrive in Manchester at 4am.
Total trip cost is at £40.20.
I didn’t personally sort this hotel, Katy did. Again, we went with EasyHotel because all we wanted was a cheap room and one close to the station as we’re not getting in to Manchester until midnight. This was £36 each, more expensive than London but that’s due to it being right next to the train station.
Total trip cost is now at £76.20.
All that was left was my home journey. Nice and easy to book so I did while booking my London to Manchester journey. I opted to leave an hour later than I needed to as it was £2 cheaper at £6.50 – it also means I can eat before coming home which will be cheaper than grabbing a takeaway once I get home.
Obviously this doesn’t include tube/taxi/bus fares because I won’t know them until the day but I’m pretty impressed that I’ve managed to go from Sheffield to London to Manchester and back to Sheffield with TWO hotel stays for £82.70. I’d be looking at spending that just on the trip to London if I left it until the day.
It Pays To Be Prepared
If I waited until the day before to book the same trip I’d be looking at around £158, maybe more depending on availability. On top of that I recouped a little in cashback too. I’m not the only savvy blogger saving a fortune this year, David from Thinking Thrifty spent £130 last year so was determined to cut those costs this time round.
What’s been your best travel bargain?