1 May 2016

Day 2 - Paris Disney / Euro Disney


Visiting Euro Disney is an experience which may sound pricey but we booked early and through a local website, meaning we essentially bought two for one Disneyland Paris tickets. Cheaper tickets are also available on specific dates and times throughout the year. At the link above you'll find far more ticketing options available at a discounted rate, than you will on the Euro Disney site itself. Crazy, we know.

Other than purchasing your tickets in advance via Ticketmaster France (see link above) our other top tip is to make sure you stay until close and enjoy the phenomenal light show. It was both moving (for all those long standing Disney fans out there) and impressive. 

Disneyland Paris was a bucket list item that we saved for and was soooo good it's deserving of its own pictorial post... so here it is, enjoy!


OMG WE'RE AT DISNEYLAND! Yup, we're still just a couple of kids inside he he.

Phantom Manor, the best "Ghost Train" we've ever been on. Never fear we survived the ordeal.

View over Fantasyland.





Jessie and the Army Soldiers from Toy Story. The soldiers were hilarious.






Space Mountain: Mission 2. Not quite as good as Mission 1, but still so excellent L got queasy! 






22 Apr 2016

Paris: First Day - Making your money go further + La Tour Eiffel


First off, we can't recommend the Eurostar from London to Paris enough. Cheaper, more comfortable, less travel time (if you include airport transfers etc.), no baggage charge, and you leave from the centre of London, arriving in central Paris. Brilliant!

Our top tip for Paris is to buy all your cultural site tickets in advance, and compare the price validity of the Paris Pass, as it's often cheaper to NOT go with the Paris Pass you see advertised everywhere and simply book your sites individually. We booked everything except the Eiffel Tower through Paris Info. Choosing to book our Eiffel Tower tickets direct through their site instead. This not only meant we skipped a bunch of queues, we estimate it saved us about 30% off the final ticket costs for all sites combined.

Our second tip? Buy local. 

We saved a packet by making up our own baguettes from local bakeries, supermarkets etc. We managed to keep our food spend down to no more than €10 for the two of us per day, which if you know Paris is incredible.

An Airbnb often gives you access to a kitchen, making dinners cheaper also.

Full disclosure here, this was L's first time in Paris (N's 2nd) so we're gonna try highlight a first timers experience (although to be sure N's views will spill through).

After arriving at Gare du Nord, we made our way to our Airbnb, conveniently located within view of the Eiffel Tower. If you're looking for great, well priced accommodation in Paris, Airbnb is the only way to go. Anything else will be a rip-off and will most likely cost you bunch in Metro travel expenses due it's location.

One of our biggest tips to travelling cheap in Paris is to use your feet, especially if you're only there for a few days. We've found it's always better to find great priced accommodation as close to the sites you want to see as possible, so you can walk rather than catching public transport. This way you also get a better feel for the city you're visiting rather than just popping up from a metro station like a gopher.

Okay so back to the main event...
In L's words, "La Tour Eiffel by today's standards is not particularly tall, however size isn't everything and in comparison to the rest of the city it's definitely an iconic landmark. The rest of the city is no more than say 5-6 stories high, so against the low lying skyline of Paris it is certainly impressive. When I see it I also think about when it was built, and for its time it was a feat of engineering, that would be copied the world over (Tokyo Tower, we're looking at you)."

We were lucky enough to receive some going away euros from both of our workplaces, so on our first night treated ourselves to a non-budget French meal at Le Pere Claude. We decided on a set menu (at €35 per head) + drinks and escargot.

If you're on a serious budget, or any real budget for that matter we wouldn't recommend it. However, although we travel cheap, we always plan to have one experience in each place we visit that perhaps costs a little more, but gives us an insight into the culture, history or feel of the place. Le Pere Claude was this for us, a  traditional French meal, we were just lucky enough to have had it paid for us by our ex-workmates. If you do go to Le Pere Claude, definitely go the set menu, and the duck is a winner!

Still to come, the Paris Catacombs, Pompidou Centre, Euro Disney, Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur and more!

6 Mar 2016

Road trip! Scotland - Wales - England

First off, a big apology for the delay in blog posts, it's been a crazy week for the 2 Travel Cheap duo. 

So here's what we've been up to...


SCOTLAND

On the morning of Saturday the 27th of February we departed our beloved second home,
Edinburgh. 


It was an elated and sad departure, and we'd be lying if we weren't a bit emotional to be saying 'see ya later'.


So with sore heads (thanks to all our pals for this valuable and painful contribution ha ha) and heavy hearts we hitched a train to Dunfermline, where we picked up our wheels and accommodation for the week, a Spaceships van. 


Once on the road we headed to the stunning town of St. Andrews, for a relaxing stay at the lovely Kingask Cottages. If you're heading to St. Andrews, we highly recommend booking a stay with Kingask. 

The accommodations are lovely, warm (the heating had been turned on prior to our arrival, a
great touch), relaxing and ideal for group
and family bookings. We really can't say enough wonderful things about our experience with Kingask. 

After a few days relaxing at the Kingask Cottages and enjoying the sites of St. Andrews, we headed towards Loch Lomond National Park, and south towards the Scottish Borders. If you haven't visited this part of the world, you really should, it's absolutely stunning, and every turn in the road is breathtaking. 


Despite preaching that planning is key when making the most of your travels, we didn't realise there's a fantastic pass you can get for only £24 (£30 from March 25th, 2016) that gains you access to a bunch of Historic Scotland sites. Had we known, we would of purchased this pass, instead we decided to forego the cost of entering these sites, in order to stay on budget for this leg of our trip.


One of the beauties of Scotland is its free camp laws, it does pay to be respectful so if camping on private property do ask the landowners first. There are plenty of National Parks you can camp in though, for example we pulled over in the Scottish Borders, next to a lovely stream. To say it was one of the most wonderful places to wake up to is an understatement. 

LAKE DISTRICT + LIVERPOOL

We had a hefty drive ahead of us post Scottish Borders, so we headed south via the Lake District (yet another stunning part of the world), to Liverpool, crossing into England and making a beeline to The Beatles Story Exhibition.


After reaching Liverpool we parked the van in a backstreet and headed for the nearest bar to enjoy a pint, relax after a long drive and properly charge our devices plus get our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram foo on.

The Beatles Story, although undergoing some work and additions, was a great collection of stories and memorabilia and if you love The Beatles, you'll enjoy the experience, telling the story pre-fame through to the official disbanding on April 10th, 1970.

WALES + THE DOCTOR WHO EXPERIENCE

We won't lie, our main reason for heading to Wales was to visit The Doctor Who


Experience... And it was worth it, more than in fact. So much so that we've written a separate post purely on The Doctor Who Experience, which you can enjoy here.

What we didn't bank on is how much we'd enjoy the stunning drive through the Welsh countryside. Yet another reason why we'd highly recommend making your own way through the UK, rather than via public transport (which can be exorbitant in cost by the way).


Do keep in mind though if driving through Wales that the roads can be narrow and winding, so make sure you're vehicle isn't too large (we were nearly caught out a couple of times ha ha).


BRISTOL

Post Cardiff, we drove to Bristol to meet up with pals, who as it turns out were all not in Bristol at the time. Oops!

At 7:30pm, we contacted a good friend we met at Burning Man in 2014, who lives in London and we were due to stay with in two days time, and asked if we could drop by earlier than planned... two days earlier, and like the champion he is Tom let us drive direct to London that very night with only a couple of hours notice. Thanks Tom, you rock!
This is Tom. Tom is awesome!

LONDON

As everyone knows, London is an expensive city. Like, prohibitively expensive. You can go from spending 6 quid for two pints in Liverpool to £5 for a single pint in London. Drinks generally provide a fairly good indication as to how expensive a city is. 

So what do you do when you want to visit a city that's outside your budget? 


Well it certainly helps if you have awesome pals like Tom that can put you you up for free. If not then do your research, Airbnb is always a great option, but do make sure to read all the reviews before locking in your accommodation. 


When it comes to attractions, finding anything that's free is super helpful when it comes to budgeting. For example the National History MuseumScience Museum and the V&A all offer free exhibitions which are fantastic and make for a wonderful day out. The Science and Natural History Museums are also great for family's, although we must admit we loved many of the interactive exhibits aimed at children, perhaps we're just big kids when it comes down to it he he. 



On Friday night our wonderful Burning Man family organised a catch-up. Many drinks flowed and conversations were had. It was wonderful, and we thank all our Burner Family for a fantastic 'see ya later' at The Magic Roundabout.


SEE YA LATER LONDON...

Tomorrow we're jumping on the Eurostar to Paris, and bid adieu to the UK, our home since December 2012. There will be art, culture, cheese, wine, Disneyland, and many adventures in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. And after that? Tokyo... Bring it!

xxoo L+N


The Doctor Who Experience

We won't lie, really the main reason we wanted to go to Cardiff was to visit The Doctor Who Experience

In 2013 we were lucky enough to attend the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Celebration in London, so we'd already been inside a TARDIS, and seen a lot of the costumes and creature models, but there was no way we could skip the real deal. We are kind of big fans! 


During the days adventure we checked out the exhibition, an interactive adventure, and the optional extra, but totally worth it TARDIS studio tour!



We were lucky enough to arrive on the first day of new additions to the exhibition, including costumes, props and scenery from Season 9.

If you're thinking of going, here's what you can expect...


THE EXHIBITION



Delete!

The Face of Bo.
Retro TARDIS Console Replica, used in the 50th Anniversary. 

The Silence and the Ood. 

The amazing River Song outfits.



Can you guess the Doctors?

The early years of the Doctor.

The ultimate in budget travel and adventures.
War Doctors TARDIS from the 50th Anniversary film.

Davros' medical chamber.

Can you guess the episode?


THE STUDIO TOUR



Clara's TARDIS from Season 9.

EXTERMINAAATEE!

Turns out, it's bigger on the outside ;)

Entrance to the TARDIS

Pretty damn awesome inside! 

Happy :)

The Doctor actually walks here!

These are all REAL BOOKS! 

THE GALLIFREY "MUSEUM" TOUR
We'd LOVE to show you photos, but unfortunately this was a 'no photography allowed' kind of situation. You'll just have to take our word for it that it was awesome... DON'T BLINK!