15 February 2017

Travelling, even just for a couple days in another city can be so expensive. I know how it feels when you get that compelling sense of wanderlust to travel and experience somewhere new but money is short and you just can't afford it. Or so you thought. What if I told you how you could save money when buying airline tickets to make that dream trip more of a reality?


In the last couple of years, I've been lucky enough to travel a lot. Bali, Thailand (on multiple occasions), Singapore, Portugal, Rome, New York. I'm not trying to brag but thanks to these trips, I've built up quite the repertoire of tips and tricks to saving money to travel. Particularly where expensive flights are concerned.

I don't have rich parents. I don't have a well-paid job (which I'm leaving in March to travel). And up until September, I was pretty damn poo at saving money. So in the past few years, I've learnt a thing or two about buying plane tickets on a budget!



Make a habit of searching using only private browsers


When you visit a website, your browser stores cookies of information based on websites you've visited previously. New websites can access this information to learn about your browsing patterns.

In short, if you're searching for hotels in Prague and then head to the British Airways website, BA can/will use the information stored in your cookies as an indicator that you're interested in flights to Prague. It is possible for them to increase the price of flights in an attempt to improve their profits. It's unlikely that this will happen from just your search alone, however if multiple people are doing the same thing, BA would be silly not to act on this.

Using a Private Browser on Safari or going Incognito on Chrome, stops your browser from storing your search information, meaning you can guarantee the the prices you see on screen are true examples of prices for everyone!

It's all about when you travel!

Flying at times that would be inconvenient to the less flexible traveller will save you money.

Parents with children going on holiday are more likely to fly at the weekends, outside of work and school obligations. Whereas, Business men and women are likely to fly earlier in the week and in the mornings. Flight tickets for days and times less desirable to family's and business' tend to have smaller price tags.




Hand Luggage


This goes without saying, but unless you're flying halfway across the world, chances are your airline, especially budget airlines like Easyjet, will charge you more for hold luggage. On some airlines, you can save up to £50 for flying with just hand luggage!

Don't book seats!


Budget airlines make their money from looking cheap on the outside but adding additional fee's as you proceed with your booking. Such as charging up to £20 per person to pre-book seats.

If you can, consider not securing your seats until you check in. Most airlines allow you to check-in 24 hours in advance and if you're quick on the mark, you shouldn't have a problem getting seats with at least one of your travel partners if you check-in online!

Fly Standby?


I've never done this before, my anxiety would never allow for such a thing. But I know people who have, and for some, this is the only way they fly! You turn up at the airport, purchase a ticket for some of the cheapest prices and get to board on the next available plane to your destination! It couldn't be easier.

Standby fairs are based on no-show's. So when someone doesn't show up for their flight, their seat is auctioned off at a fraction of the price. It sounds like a great deal and is a great deal, as long as you don't mind waiting around. It's definitely an option for the more easy going, budget traveller.

Buying in advance


There's a lot of myth that buying flight tickets years and months in advance will get you the best deals. But in actual fact, prices tend to be higher in advance because airlines still have a lot of time to shift their empty seats! In contrary to that however, buying flights last minute won't save you much buck either because even though flight companies want to fill their seats, they'll most likely have already made enough money to profit on that flight. So last minute fairs are just brucy bonus'.

The best time to book is actually 6 weeks before departure.



Know when the sales are


Just like the best deals and bargains in your local Mall are found around Boxing Day, there are particular times of the year to search for flights too. January will see to a whole host of travel deals, especially because they know people want something warm to look forward to once Christmas is over. Another great time to book flights and holidays is in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Even though they are 'events' unique to the United States, British companies have capitalised on the benefit of sales and some of the best one's I've seen have been around Thanks Giving. We're talking £99 for four nights in Italy, flights and 3* hotel included!

Shop Around


Another no brainer. Obviously, the first search you do isn't going to be the best. Using websites like Sky Scanner and Kayak (two of my absolute favourites) are great ways to compare lots of flights from different sources all at once. STA is another good one too, particularly if you're under the age of 25.

Once I've found a good price, I tend to shop the airline website too. So if I've found a Virgin flight to New York for £310, i'll check if there is a similar price direct with Virgin. If not, giving them a ring and explaining that you've found a good deal but would prefer to shop direct normally works to secure a good deal!

Buy a Gift? Groupon?


Whilst discount websites seem like you're falling into a trap of no return, reputable ones such as Buy A Gift and Groupon are great for finding Black Friday-like prices all year round! However, always be sure to read the T&C's and be comfortable with the company your buying through.

Know your destination


This sounds silly, but knowing when the low and high seasons are at your destination could save you a lot of buck too. As much as not travelling in the School holidays will save you money for places like Europe. Destinations further afield might be your go to at this time of year. Countries in the East suffer from typhoons and monsoons, south Asia's rainy season runs from June - September so travelling at this time will be much cheaper. Monsoon season doesn't mean it's going to be raining 24/7 far from it infact!


So, still awake? This was a long one, but I really wanted to get in as much information as possible. These tips and tricks have kept me travelling around the world on a budget for the past 3 years and hopefully continue to do so this year! If you have any tips I haven't mentioned, I'd be very intrigued to hear all about them in the comments below.

Happy travelling!

Love always,
Melissa

8 February 2017

It's that time of year again where the world divides in half. Valentines Day lovers vs. those who think it's a waste of time. I for one think it's lovely and why not have a special day dedicated to those you love. Whether it be your friends, family or your significant other. This year the festivities are a little more low-key, a little less fancy and I'll be heading out straight from work, ripped jeans and all!



If there is a reason to get dressed up, you can bet I'm all game. Especially when there is time to really make an event of it it. Pop some music on, have a bubble bath and a face mask, before getting lost in the world of hair straighteners and highlight. I love it. And Valentines Day is as good, if not better reason as any! However this year, Valentines falls on a weeknight and there's nothing I quite hate than having to get ready in a hurry after a long day at work. So this year, I'm opting for an effortlessly chic date night outfit that I could totally wear to work too.

(I know ripped jeans at work! But I spend my week throwing paint at walls and climbing ladders so ripped jeans makes sense. Just work with me on this one!)

I have a love-hate relationship with ripped jeans, I love the way they look on other people but on me I feel like they look too masculine. However, with the right coordinates and accessories, they can be the perfect way to make you look cool, feminine and completely on trend.





These jeans are the Ripped Joni's from Topshop which have faded disastrously but (as much as I hate to admit) totally add to the edgy "I just threw these on" vibe we're going for. The effortlessly beautiful kind of vibe. I paired them with this satin, pink cami top from H&M which add's a beautifully romantic touch to the look. It breaks dresses up the "I just rolled out of bed" vibe so it's more shabby chic than just plain shabby. Then the chunky heeled boots say natural, approachable elegance.

It's all about the way you dress up this look. The satin top is a statement in itself, so light jewellery like this star choker subtly add's dimension to this outfit. The choker works with the ripped jeans, keeping to the edgy vibe but in a more feminine way.

For my makeup, I kept it super simple. Something that would effortlessly transform from day to night. I used the Stila Eyes are the Window to the Soul Palette to create a matte smokey eye. It's subtle enough not to be too bold for daytime but bounces well with the edgy elegant look we're going for.

WHAT I'M WEARING


This outfit is all about the ripped jeans, these are from Topshop but I recommend shopping around a little. Like Topshop prices are, these jeans were pretty pricey and believe it or not jet black when I bought them! On a more positive note, the satin pink cami top was an absolute bargain in the H&M sale for £5 but there are similar ones dotted around everywhere. Check out this one from New Look or this one from SheIn.

Like I mentioned this look isn't anything without the accessories. The bag is my staple, everyday go to Rebecca Minkoff 'Mini Moto'. It's a great day bag but looks posh enough for the evening too. The star choker is from ASOS and comes with a longer, moon pendant necklace too which you can switch in and out as you feel like it. A great addition to the outfit.

What do you think about this outfit. I love the convergence between edgy and elegance, cool but feminine! The way they work seamlessly together to create a classic, effortless date night outfit for Valentines Day. What are your plans this year? Are you spending it with someone special? Or with your best buds? I'd love to know what Valentines means to you!

Love always,
Melissa

1 February 2017

This year is traveling weird. It's only January, and I say that in an, it's only January type of way. It feels like it could be Spring already, time is traveling so slowly. But at the same time, it's not. When I think about it, it's January! I leave to go traveling in March and I still have so much to do beforehand. It feels like time is traveling slowly but there's not enough time to get things straightened out! Does that make sense?



I haven't spent much time experimenting or trying new things where make-up is concerned this month. I haven't had the time to read any new books, unless you count the Lonely Planet's guide to Iceland. I've been pretty held up juggling dates, car hire and exchange rates, that my brain has slightly turned to mush. So when I sat down to think about the products that I'd been loving this month, it didn't go quite so swimmingly as usual.

But in the midst of stress, sweat and tears, I have a few things I've been loving quite passionately this month.

Charlotte Tilbury, Matte Revolution Lipstick // Glastonberry


I have been dying, literally, to get my hands on this lipstick for about 18 months and the time finally came on Christmas morning! And it's everything I imagined and dreamed it would be. Cliche?

I'm such a dark, berry lip kind of person and at this time of year, I live in them. I have quite the collection of berry tones lipsticks and I rotate them out on a daily basis. But this lippy is just the cherry on the lipstick cake! The colour is beautiful, a light wine shade. It's matte too (my favourite) which means it goes on like a dream, stays all day and doesn't budge when you eat or drink! My kind of lip product down to a T!




Instagram


I fell in love with Instagram when I first got an iPhone when I was 17. That's back when it was only available on IOS and putting filters on your summer vacay shots was a relatively new thing. Fast forward, 6 years, I'm 24 and Instagram is being used for marketing, advertising and it's purpose for fun, photo sharing platform is long but gone.

Last year I was not into the Instagram hype. I hated the idea of theme's and being Instagram famous. I hated the stigma of having to post a certain way and at certain times of the day to get likes and follows. That's not what it was about and most certainly not why it was created. However, in the last month, I've really grown to love Instagram again. I'm not posting because I feel like I have to, I'm doing it because I took a cool shot and I want to share it. Yes, I'm encapsulating on the whole 'micro-blogging' idea, I am using Instagram as an extension of my blog, but I'm not treating it like a business. I want to love what I'm doing and last year, I was not!


Harry Potter


In December, the beauty that is Katie from Essentially English took me to London to see the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I've always loved the Harry Potter franchise, albeit I was a little late to the party and I've only seen the movies. None-the-less, I've never loved a film series quite like I love the magical world of witchcraft and wizardry! However since seeing the play, which is incredible and so magical by the way, if you haven't already, sign yourself up for the mailing list because getting tickets should be your next most important venture. Anyway, since seeing the play, I've fallen even more in love with Harry and his story than before. I've watched the entire movie series probably three times through in January alone. I know I said I was tied down with traveling research but who can say no to a daily dose of magic?

I guess I'm going to leave it there. Three things I have been truly besotted with this month, despite all the tears, sweat and heartache to finally have all my travel plans finalised. I have found solace in these three things. How has January been for you? Have you anything that has saved you from insanity this month?

Love always,
Melissa