Woman jets off on 7-hour ultimate European city break cheaper than 'dinner and a few drinks in London'
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Featured Image Credit: Lauren Francis
Now that January's finally behind us, I'm sure many of us are looking forward to booking up our holidays for the rest of the year.
So, to remedy that age-old problem, one savvy traveller has made it somewhat of a habit get a whole lot of travelling done in not a whole lot of time or money after jetting off on a seven-hour ultimate European city break that she said was cheaper than 'dinner and a few drinks in London'.
Lauren Francis, 24, from London, spoke to Tyla all about her experiences doing an extreme day trip to the European hotspot of Stockholm, Sweden.
The thrifty globe-trotter, who recently came back from Bucharest in Romania for spa trip that 'felt like a tropical resort’, opened up about her latest travelling pursuit and how she seamlessly arranged the whole thing all by herself.
So - what did Lauren end up doing on her ultimate Sweden day trip?
Well, she pretty much ticked everything off her list after managing to check out two major museums, have a stroll around the picturesque streets, chill out with some coffee and pastries, have a gander at the iconic IKEA and even nab some meatballs before catching her day return flight home.
Lauren boarded her flight from Stansted at 8.15am, landed in Stockholm at 11.40am and then hopped on the 12.20pm express train into the city, arriving at Stockholm Central station for 12.40pm.
"First, I went to the Vasa Museum, a museum containing the world's only fully preserved 17th century ship," Lauren told Tyla. "I'd seen this one on TikTok and thought it looked cool but it was stunning in real life.
"You could get right up close to it and see all the different decks and carvings on the ship. They also had information about the boat and the belongings that were found on there. I spent about an hour looking around before heading back out."
She then got the bus into the city's old town, Gamla Stan.
"I walked down the narrowest street in Stockholm and grabbed Fika [the Swedish tradition of having a coffee and a sweet pastry] at a local cafe," the jet-setter continued. "I then grabbed another pastry and had a wonder around Galma Stan itself.
"The buildings themselves were really nice - there were lots of brightly-coloured buildings and little alleyways to get lost walking around. There were also loads of local businesses there."
Having explored the old town, Lauren - a self-declared 'huge ABBA fan' then got the ferry over the the ABBA Museum as it was the 'main reason' she'd wanted to come to Stockholm.
"They had cases full of their costumes and so many interactive exhibits. I spent about an hour and a half here and it was so much fun!" she said.
After finishing up at the ABBA museum, which was her 'favourite part of the trip', Lauren went back to the central area of the city and grabbed some vegan meatballs for dinner, adding: "I'd got just enough time to have a look around the local IKEA before I had to get the train back to the airport to get the 9.30pm flight back to London."
That means Lauren spent around 10 hours in the country and seven-and-a-half hours in Stockholm itself, which was seemingly more than enough time as she managed to 'fit in everything' she'd planned on doing.
"I think I would've been able to fill an extra day with another museum and more time walking around but my main goals were to visit the two museums and try some Swedish pastries and meatballs which I managed to do," she noted.
Lauren spent £146 in total for the whole thing; with £23 spent on food and drink, £34 on museum tickets, £42 on flights and £49 on additional transport like airport transfers and public transport around the city.
"I could easily spend the £42 I spent on flights on dinner and a few drinks in London," the bargain traveller also revealed.
Talking about her decision to do the whole thing solo, Lauren told Tyla: "I went on my own. I love being able to do what I want at my own pace.
"I think being able to plan your trip around exactly what you want to do is so important, especially when you're only in a city for a day."
And the best part?
Lauren didn't have to book any days off work or request holiday time to do the jam-packed trip.
"I didn't use any annual leave for the trip," she explained. "It's definitely a huge advantage when doing these day/weekend trips because I can save my annual leave for longer breaks."
While admitting that the day trips 'definitely feel long' and are 'very tiring', Lauren highlighted: "There's no way I'd be able to afford to travel as much as I do if I had to factor in hotels and three meals a day so it's definitely worth it."
For any other curious extreme day trippers out there, Lauren advised: "Do your research!
"Make sure it makes sense for you finance-wise and plan what you want to do and when to make sure you're making the most out of your day."
She continued: "There are so many resources online that you can use to find out how to get around different cities and how far away attractions are from each other that there's no excuse for wasting time deciding what to do when you're there.
"Also get a good pair of walking shoes."
And as for any other budget travel hacks?
Well, Lauren recommends you opt for a small cabin bag 'to save a few pounds' instead of paying for excess baggage or a seat reservation.
"Aside from that, Skyscanner is a great way to see when the cheapest dates are to fly and Google has a tool that'll tell you whether your flight is cheaper or more expensive than it usually is to make sure you're getting the best deal," she added.
Lauren has already got two upcoming day trips booked to Eindhoven in the Netherlands in March to visit the De Efteling theme park then another one in April to visit Tirana in Albania to go on the cable car and visit the Bunk art museum.