How to Find the Best Cheap Holiday Deals

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I was joking with my friend the other week saying that we should set up a travel agency because we have both been finding and booking flights and holidays for our friends and family just recently so here we go with a feature that I'm going to make a regular thing on here because let's face it everybody loves a holiday but we don't always have the cash to spend a fortune on one. There's nothing better than lying under an umbrella on a sunny beach with the sound of waves crashing against the sand and the smell of sea air but finding and choosing a holiday which is right for you can be a bit of a minefield so I'm hoping to help you find the best cheap beach holidays.


Useful Websites

There's a few websites which I can definitely recommend when it comes to beach holidays; the aptly named offers some great beach holidays at very affordable prices. There's some amazing deals to be had on family hotels at family friendly prices such as resorts in Egypt with water parks within the resort. Prices range from the low £300's to the mid £400's per person. could be mistaken for being a 'last minute deals only' kind of website but they offer cheap beach holidays all year round to destinations like Turkey, the Algarve and Tenerife which are stunning places for adults only to relax but they also have lots of fun things to do for children. 

Travel Supermarket is an excellent site to use when looking for a holiday, you can select your desired dates, destination and even your budget and it will do all the searching for you to come up with the best deals for your holiday. It even tells you if cheap holidays are available just outside your set dates which is great if you have a little bit of flexibility. Try it yourself at

Beach holidays aren't just about the beach

There are beautiful beaches all around the med, so chances are you'll be spoilt for choice when looking for your 2015 holiday; which is why it's important to look at what's around the beach. Some beach holiday locations offer much more to do for adults and children alike, whether that be beach and sea activities such as water sports, or tourist hot spots nearby for example waterparks, historical towns or local excursions. Make sure the beach isn't the only reason you're choosing a location because if it is, a couple of days in you may find yourself without much to do (especially if you have a young family!).

Most popular cheap beach holiday locations

Spain offer some great cheap beach holidays such as Majorca and lots of great locations in the Malaga area. If you're looking to Barcelona for your Spanish getaway, expect to pay a little more, but if you keep your eyes peeled you can find some great deals throughout the year.

Quarter-Life Crisis Experience

The title of this is so cliche it makes me feel a bit sick and I don't even know if a 'quarter life crisis' is even a thing, is it? 

Anyway, I just wanted to talk to you about the fact that I'm a bit fed up with adulting at the moment, I'm not right keen on this responsibilities lark and I sure as hell don't like missing out on so much sleep. I used to be able to get up at 12pm with absolutely no consequence, I used to have a Thursday cleaning lady (my nana) who used to tidy up my bedroom to stop it getting in such a state that you couldn't see the floor and my mum did everything for me (she even used to bring me a bowl of Weetabix every morning to try and coax me out of bed). I was spoiled as a child, not so much in the sense of money (although I always had nice things), but in the sense that I was never forced to really do anything for myself. Then I moved out and BAM! I had to get up in the morning with only the aid of a very loud, obnoxious alarm clock and I don't bloody like it anymore. I've had enough.


I expected my 20's to be completely and utterly different to how they actually are, I expected to be totally carefree, without ties, without really any worry for anyone but myself. The harsh reality is that I have a full time job (not one that I expect to have, but we'll get on to that), I have bills to pay and I have a husband to please. Just recently I went through a stage where I felt hard done to, I felt like I was the only one not having fun all the time, I was the only one with responsibilities... I felt like the only proper adult out of all the people my age. The reality is that all my friends are adults with very real responsibilities (some with responsibilities that actually eat and breathe and make nice little parcels inside nappies), I just haven't cared to look outside my own little bubble and realise that I am a grown up.

I had a little breakdown moment last week where I panicked a bit. I worried that I wasn't doing what I wanted in my life and that it was just passing me by without me stopping to actually enjoy it. Then I realised that there was one common denominator in why I feel like this: me. My own conscience is what holds me back. Fair enough I could technically walk away from my job and tell Jason that I wasn't doing it and I was going to go and do xyz and I could tell him that I wasn't going to be there to help co-ordinate a function because I wanted to go out with the lasses. But I am an adult with responsibilities, I can't be selfish. I know that I also need a life outside of my marriage and job but with a bit of careful juggling, the three should go hand in hand quite nicely without me having to feel guilty for neglecting anyone or anything. 

I've gone through some pretty big personal changes over the past 2 years and most of those changes are down to me losing weight, I was adamant it wouldn't change me and I'm certain that it hasn't changed me in a negative way but it has changed me. I'm a more confident person now, I want to live my life and I aren't embarrassed anymore so the whole juggling thing is quite a new thing because before I was quite happy to plod along as I was but now I want more. I've said yes to more things over the past 6-8 months or so than I have in the last 5 years and I absolutely love having a social life back. 

My job was the next thing to come under scrutiny; doing what I do now isn't what I expected to be doing at all. If you asked me at 16 what I was going to be doing aged 25 I would have said living in London working for a big retail company or being a teacher, two different paths I know but one of those is honestly where I thought I'd be now. There are times when I love what I do, honestly love it but there's also times when I feel like I'm banging my head against a brick wall but then I realised that probably 80% of people, if not more, feel like that about their job because it's work. If we all got paid to do something that we absolutely loved 100% of the time, well wouldn't that be a wonderful world to live in!

The bottom line is that I have realised that although I come across as being quite grown up and mature, there are times when I'm actually not and I'm actually quite immature when it comes to manning up to my adult responsibilities. However, I'm hoping that I'm not alone in these feelings I've had about being an adult, is it normal to not want to do it, or am I just being a bit stupid?!

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Things to do in Orlando Besides Theme Parks

This last month or so has been absolutely mental for me, for so many different reasons - good and bad  and it's not all over yet but I just wanted to share with you a few ideas of what you can do in Orlando (and surrounding areas) without going into a theme park. The general assumption is that a Florida holiday has to be a very expensive, possibly once in a lifetime experience but this really doesn't have to be the case because although the theme parks are brilliant, Orlando has so much more to offer and reducing the number of parks you do can reduce the overall price of your holiday quite significantly. Jason and I have just got back from a week in Orlando and we loved every minute of it, we didn't do Disney (shock horror!) and we only actually went to the two Universal theme parks (Diagon Alley was a must do for me because I missed it last year); we focused on chilling out and doing some non-park things. So if you're looking for something to do in the Orlando area that doesn't involve going to a theme park then here you are:

Visit a State Park - State Parks are the US equivalent of Forestry Commission areas but often on a much bigger scale, we visited two while we were there and they were both unique and brilliant in their own way. Lake Louisa was the first one we visited because it was a bit closer to our villa; it has lots to do while you're there from hiring bikes and nature trails to swimming and kayaking. We focused on Lake Louisa because you could have a swim (or paddle in our case) although there are other lakes which offer other activities. 



I'm going to put it out there now, the colour of the water in Lake Louisa is weird. It's tea coloured; it sounds like it's going to look mucky but it isn't, it's not murky it's just like actual black tea. This is because the water flows over fallen leaves and the 'tannin' in them turns the water brown like this...


Weird, isn't it?! You can't see the bottom of the water so obviously you swim at your own risk but we went straight in and had a paddle because we're fearless, obvs. There's a little beachy area and a picnic area too so you could take your own food and have a bite to eat while you're there at the side of the lake. We also did a little nature trail which was nicely shaded by the trees and we saw a gopher tortoise (who didn't seem too pleased to see us, he went straight back in his hole!), there were boards along the way telling us what we might see but to be honest I was pleased that we never saw a Diamond Back Rattle Snake! 

The second state park we visited was Kelly Springs which is a little further out in Apopka but well worth the drive in my opinion. Here you'll find a 'lazy river' like what you'd find at a water park but this one is completely natural and ever so beautiful to swim down. Before you get into the park you stop off at one of the shacks which hire out rubber rings which you can use to go down the river in (this is optional, you don't have to). There's a huge area in the park where you get sit and there's also areas where you can BBQ if that takes your fancy. We headed straight for the lazy river! 




It was a little bumpy along the way; there's obviously rocks underwater and it's not that deep so you do have to be careful as you're swept slowly along down the river but the fact that it's crystal clear  means you can see them and because it's not that deep does mean that you could walk down if you wanted but I much preferred to just bob along. We paid just $3 to get in here and it provides hours and hours of fun! 

Visit a Mall - OK so not necessarily a cheap option but depending on the exchange rate, things can be pretty cheap in Florida and they have shops like Bath & Body Works and Sephora so what's not to like, even if you just go for a look it's something a bit different. We visited Mall at Millenia which is considered to be a more 'upmarket' mall but it still has some high street stores such as Macy's, Bath and Body Works and Sephora as well as the high end stores like Bloomingdale's and various other designer stores. It's also home to Cheesecake Factory which, in all honesty was the only reason we went. We ate possibly our best meal of the holiday in there; we both had a burger then a piece of original strawberry cheesecake as well as a piece of key lime cheesecake to go (yep, we were going all out with the food).


I also bought a few bits from MAC which worked out to be quite a bit cheaper than in the UK (their lipsticks are $16 which works out to be roughly £11) and some hand sanitisers from Bath and Body Works. I did have a look in Sephora and was very tempted but I didn't come out with anything, which I kind of regret now because the Too Faced Better than Sex mascara was only around £15. Moral of the story - if you want it and can afford it, just treat yourself!

Airboat Ride - there are plenty of wild alligators to be seen around Orlando but in all honesty I wouldn't want to be caught off guard near one, we decided to do an airboat tour of the swamps with Spirit of the Swamp which is a small company which only uses a small airboat so you're not all backed on like on a 'swamp bus'. They don't guarantee that you'll see a gator but obviously it's their natural habitat so odds are quite high, we saw two and some babies and it was such an amazing experience (even though one of them got pretty pissed off with us so we had to make a somewhat swift exit but surprisingly I felt very safe with our captain). You can see clips of our airboat ride in the YouTube video I made about our 2014 Florida trip.

Obviously this isn't an exhaustive list, I could go on but I feel like this post has got long enough already and I may well do a part two because I really want people to know that Orlando holidays aren't just about spending every waking minute in a thrill ride queue; it's a beautiful place and I really hope more people venture out of their comfort zone and experience some of the other things the area has to offer!