Lessons from a last-minute trip

You heard it here first, I’m a huge control freak who gets rather bad travel anxiety at times. I’ve always admired the thought of just turning up to and airport and seeing which flights are bookable – not knowing where I’ll spend my weekend. Chris has been asking me for the last 5.5 years to be a bit more spontaneous, so when we realised we had a rare spare weekend the search for a getaway quickly began.

Despite the unnecessary panic and stress at times, the weekend didn’t end up being anymore expensive than if we had booked it months in advance. And as it is in all relationships, I hate to admit that my other half was right – but he kind of was! However, I’ve learnt a few things this weekend that I will definitely keep in mind for future last minute trips, so I thought I would share them with you:

All smiles in Budapest! Last minute breaks don’t have to be all stress!

1. Remember to check in online at least 3 hours before.

I’d booked Wizzair flights from London Luton to Budapest at 4pm, to take off at 9.35pm. By time I’d swiftly left the office and driven home, it was encroaching upon 6pm. In a rush to pack I hadn’t re-read my confirmation email that stated I needed to check in online by 3 hours before my flight or I would have to pay a fee to check in at the airport. Little did I know this fee was going to be £60 for the two of us…

That being said, the lady at the check in desk was very understanding and didn’t charge us – she also sat us together on the plane (result!!!).

Obviously I can’t promise that every Wizzair employee will be so kind, but let this be a warning of the 3 hour check in rule! It’s not usually something I consider as I usually check in a week before the flight.

2. You can get really good deals with British Airways Avois if you book last minute.

We had departed for Budapest without booking a return flight to the UK – and we both had to be back at work 60 hours later. We had originally planned to get the train to Bratislava and get a cheaper flight to the UK from there, however by time I had booked our outbound flight, the return had sold out.

We’ve been collecting Avois points for a while now, so we had a few in the pot. When our search for last-minute getaways started, I had looked on the British Airways reward flight finder only to find there were “no flights available” on the Sunday. However, once the clock struck midnight and it was officially Saturday, FOUR flights from Budapest to London appeared with a number of seats. We managed to pick up late afternoon flights, at the end of the UK school holidays for £17.50 + 7,500 Avois each. We checked on Skyscanner at the same time and these flights were priced at approx £260 each.

This is something I hadn’t realised before, and we will definitely bear in mind for future last minute travel.

3. Generally speaking, things will work themselves out.

It goes without saying, we could’ve been caught in some sticky situations with the last two points. But somehow, everything seemed to fall into place.

I won’t lie, whilst running round the house packing on the Friday I was in tears about how stressed I was. Realistically all I needed was my passports and some fresh pants – what was the panic? Looking back on it I was being silly and I need to calm the hell down.

4. Stick to the weekly fake tan schedule.

It’s February and I’m an office worker. I’ve been on a lot of cold city breaks and my poor skin hasn’t seen proper sunlight since October (*takes vitamin D supplement*).

Who knew when I was feeling lazy on a Thursday thinking “it’s ok I’m not doing anything this weekend, I don’t need to fake tan”, that on Sunday my pale ass would be in a bikini in Budapest.

I joke, my vanity didn’t make this trip any less of an experience – it’s more of a mental note to myself that I never know what’s around the corner!

5. Have faith in humanity!

Lastly, I lost my engagement ring at the airport. What an absolute donut.

I always remain relatively calm when things get lost – until I know they’re really lost. I once left our passports in a random taxi in Pisa, and Chris couldn’t understand how I wasn’t panicked… only to find the same taxi driver at our door 2 hours later, boasting about how great his memory was.

Well guess what? My ring was handed to airport lost & found and we all lived happily ever after. Faith in humanity restored!

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please visit my Instagram @estimatexplore!


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