Travel Hacks: 7 ways to save money on flights

Hey everyone!

If you are traveling on a low budget, like I do, there’s a few hacks you can use in order to save some money. I already shared with you how I save money on food here, but there are also a few ways to save money on the flights, so this second post for the travel hacks series will be focused on helping you out with that

 

1. Choose the right timings  – Try not to travel during high season, like summer or holiday breaks, when most of people travel, because everything is super expensive and crowded. Also, if you buy it on the “ideal time”  which according to experts is 6 weeks before the flight, on Tuesday at 3 am , you’ll have the lowest fare.

 

2.  Use incognito mode (ctrl + shift + n) – Considering that websites save your search history, they  realize you are interested in buying, so the more you look the higher the prices.

3. Use skyscanner  – this is a really good website, user-friendly and with great prices

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4. Research for each trip separately – If you are going to just one place, sometimes the matches done by the websites aren’t always the cheapest, so look for each trip at once and make your own combo depending on your preferred schedules and prices.

5. Look for alternative transportation – Even though airplane is the fastest option, usually  trains and bus can get really cheap,  specially if in Europe, so make sure you check all your options. GoEuro is a nice website to compare all the options.

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6. Check out if the airport is close to the center –  Do your maths. Is is worthy to buy a cheap plane ticket and spend a lot of money on a transfer to the hotel? Or is it better to buy a more expensive plane ticket to the closest airport to the city. Don’t forget that you will probably have to pay for transfer for the city center, and sometimes it’s even more expensive.

 

7. Make sure your lugagge is according to the travel company’s allowed size and avoid to pay an extra fee. And you are thinking “how the hell am I supposed to fit my close into those tiny bags?!” the answer will come on a new blog post really soon, so stay tuned!

 

This are the hacks I use to spend the minimum on my flights , do you use any of these? Do you know any other tricks? Do share them with me please 🙂 

 

 

Lots of Love, 

Catarina

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Lisbon Travel Guide: One day trip to Sintra, the fairytale village outside the city

Hello!

Back to the Lisbon Travel Guide, I decided to write about a magical place called SINTRA!

Sintra is a charming little village just a 45 minutes train ride away from Lisbon. This is one of my favorite places in Portugal and the one I recommend everyone to go, when visiting Lisbon. It is surrounded by woods and hills, it has gorgeous palaces and breathtaking views. It is literally a fairy tale come true.

Visiting Sintra should take you a whole day, so you will have to go early, not only to avoid crowds, but to make sure you have time to see everything.

 

Sintra Center

Being this the point of start for a Sintra day tour, you will be enchanted right from the beginning, with these narrow and colorful streets. There is also a view from the palace and you can not skip the traditional pastries “queijadas de Sintra” from Piriquita, as they are the most known and delicious in the country.

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Sintra center
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Queijadas at Piriquita
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Narrow Streets

 

Castel of the Moors

This castel in ruins goes back to the 9th century, and it was restored afterwords. I actually haven’t visited the inside for a while, but from what I remember it has a really interesting background and an amazing view. If you don’t want to spend money here, you can still see a few things in the outside, so don’t miss it.

 

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Pena Palace

This stunning palace is located on the top of Sintra, and you can see it from bellow in almost every part of the town. It is a landmark of Sintra and it is known for its unique colors and architecture. The tour for the palace and the gardens costs around 16€ , and it allows you to see how the royal families used to live and the gardens, which are really nice as well.

 

 

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Quinta da Regaleira

This one is my absolute favorite in Sintra. Regaleira is a really pretty palace, but in here, the real magic is found in the gardens. The price is just 6€, which is super cheap for this awesome place. The gardens have wells, cages, lakes, flowers… and amazing viewpoints. I don’t think any words or photos can truly show how fascinating Regaleira is, so my advice is: go and see for yourselves.

 

Quinta da Regaleira

 

Some tips that might helpful:

  • Once this is a very touristy zone, all the coffee shops are pricey, so if you want to save money take some food and water with you.
  • In Sintra is always colder and windier than in Lisbon, so make sure you bring a coat.
  • The cheapest way to get to Sintra is by train, from Cais do Sodré. You can also go by tram from praça da figueira (15E) or by bus, but as they are often crowded I don’t really recommend it.
  • Once you get there, you can go from one place to another by foot, but it is a bit far and it is going up, so you can take a bus going through the main attractions. either take one trip by bus from Sintra center to the top and then walk down, or buy the daily ticket and ride as you wish, which is what I would do, as it is A LOT of walking.
  • If you are going by car, you can also do a detour and visit the most western point in Europe: Cabo da Roca!

 

I hope this somehow inspired you enough to convince you to visit Sintra, because believe me, you’ll love it!

 

Lots of Love, 

Catarina

 

 

Porto Weekend Escape

Hello!

Seeing that I haven’t been to Porto since I was really small and I didn’t remember anything, I decided to revisit it with my boyfriend. And I’m glad I did.

Even though the city is trending, my expectations were not that high, for some reason I don’t even now why, but boy was I wrong! I adored Porto, it is such a charming city, people are so nice and it is very much affordable (more than Lisbon!). I spent two days there and it was enough to see the majority of things, but I would definitely come back.

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Guess what I did first? Food of course! Since we arrived at lunch time, and our hotel was pretty close to Cafe Santiago, one of the best places to eat the famous Francesinha, an original dish from Porto which I told you about before .

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We then went through Rua de Santa Catarina – if you go there, make  sure you check the notorious Café Majestic, which has a beautiful architecture but is super expensive (3€ for a coffee is a little too much for me). We also tried to go to Bolhão Market but sadly it was closed because it was Saturday afternoon. Usually it is filled with fresh fruit and vegetables, and it has this very typical ladies yelling to costumers to sell.

We walked in the center until we arrived to S. Bento train station, which I know it’s quite an unusual place to see but it is magnificent, its walls are filled with tiles and it’s just amazing.

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From there we headed to Sé do Porto, which has an INCREDIBLE view. believe me , you can see the whole city from there, just stunning. Then we came down to Cais da Ribeira, through the traditional narrow streets that had  clothes hanging, and I just loved it! So typical and charming!

After we arrived to Cais da Ribeira and took a walk along the river,  we were a bit tired so we decided to rest in this awesome bar named Cais that had great and cheap cocktails (totally recommend !). We then went to take a boat ride through Douro River to see the 6 Bridges, which is mandatory in this city. The majority of this trips is sold all across town, you can get many deals and they usually include a Port tasting. We payed 15€ for a 50min ride and a tasting in Gaia (just across the S.Luís Bridge). We went to the Porto Cruz winery, which sadly didn’t had the cellar, but it had a great rooftop with a perfect view over Porto

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At the end of the day, we went to have dinner is this great restaurant called “Venham Mais 5” (bring me 5 more, in english) which is quite recent and trendy apparently. They are known for their “prego” with queijo da serra, which is a popular portuguese dish, basically it’s bread with (really rare) beef and this one is special because t has one of our most famous cheeses, and it is just heaven! As I’m a sucker for desserts, (#sorrynotsorry) I had to have the special chocolat merengue cake and it’s so perfect!!!

 

The next morning we went to the place I wanted to go the most in Porto: Livraria Lello! You might have heard about it. This bookshop is more than a 100 years old and it inspired J.K. Rowling  to write about some scenarios, when she was living in Porto. I believe that Barnes and Nobles was created due to it. The shop is always full of people, which was a disapointment for me, I mean I knew it was gonna be a lot of people, but I didn’t thought it would be that much… I couldn’t even take a good photo. I advice you to go there either early or very late…

 

Right next to Livraria Lello, it’s the most obvious and imponent monument in Porto: Clerigos Tower, it is impressive how big it is! It was considered world patrimony, so do check it out.

After that,  we went to the beautiful Cristal gardens, which are really worth to check out-They have a beautiful lake with swans and you get the most breathtaking view over the Douro river. Really stunning.

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If you are into art, you will want to go to Serralves Museum and Gardens, which is a bit far of the city center, you would have to take transportation but it is a great museum and those gardens are really beautiful. I was suppose to go, but that day was pouring rain so I just gave up. They always have great exhibits

Long story short: Porto is a beautiful city, a capital of culture, people are super nice and it has great food and drinks. It is totally affordable and I recommend it to everyone. So, GO THERE.

Lots of Love,

Catarina