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Spring days are perfect for itinerary planning. It is one of those things that a traveller enjoys, or at least is learning to, because it is an inherent part of designing an itinerary that is tailor-made for your own travel style, budget and personality. I’ve put together a quick reference for the budget traveller who’s always on a time crunch!
I am going to London really soon, for the third time no less. It’s a wonderful city to fly out of when you want to make a quick weekend jaunt to continental Europe, or even to North Africa or parts of the Middle East with low-cost airlines like easyjet and Ryanair offering affordable prices (especially if you book in advance or travel off-season). In less than 3 hours, you could be in Warsaw, Fez or Lisbon. What’s not to love about that?
Another thing that makes London such a great European travel hub, though not centrally located, is that the city offers many airports to fly out of, meaning if you are willing to travel to the more far-flung and less busy airports, you might find that a low-cost airline will take you to your destination at a fraction of the cost of a regular commercial airline such as British Airways. Yet the multitude of choices often make me more frazzled because my obsessive travel-planning self will compel me to plan my route from my hostel to the airport to perfection, including finding the most economical way to get to my lovely holiday to Madeira, and at the timing of utmost convenience to me. This adds up to a lot of juggling of tiny bits of information when all you want to do is add up the cost of your flight with the cost of your airport transfer to see if it is worth your time, effort and money.
So how do you find the cheapest airport transfer on your budget?
The aptly-named express trains for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted do get you to the respective airports in a heartbeat, but the fares would also make your budget-conscious heart skip a beat. Spare an extra hour or more and opt for the other much cheaper options available. Usually, the cheaper it is, the longer it takes for you to get there, but not always. It’s always smart to check in advance when the coaches are scheduled to leave, and aim to get there earlier, especially the National Express ones, because there are some potentially long frequency intervals (up to 1 hour or more) at off-peak periods.