1/3rd of a year update & does the future of the challenge hang in the balance?


The end of April marked a third of the year gone, which meant I’m one third of the way through my challenge, having visited 9 towns/cities and over 4 countries I am slightly ahead of plan, however having spent £717 I’m slightly over budget too. Below you will find all the numbers if you are interested.

Unfortunately we’ve had some bad luck with some of our trips. My sister and I were due to go to Paris at the start of March to celebrate her 30th birthday, however both our UK train and Eurostar train were cancelled due to heavy snow. More recently, my trip to Rome with Matthew, which was due to happen on 1st June has had to be postponed due to a new work commitment that he can’t reschedule. So we currently have no other foreign holidays booked for this year, but there are lots of ideas flying around. We are hoping to visit Scandinavia in the winter & hopefully get Rome rescheduled whilst it’s still warm. Also my best friend is about to move to Spain and I will hopefully be able to visit her at least once this year. So lots of Maybes but nothing set in stone.

On a more positive note, I’ve been to lots of fantastic places. January saw a road trip to Telford, Llangollen, Chester & Liverpool to catch up with friends and attend a fabulous party. I also got to explore Liverpool for the first time, including Matthew street and the Baltic Market.

In February we headed over to Lille, we did lots of exploring, shopping, eating and drinking here, a brilliant trip and really quick on the Eurostar. Matthew also had a business trip in Sheffield in February, so that was a free hotel stay for me and a day to explore the city.

In March I headed to London with my sister to celebrate her 30th birthday. We spent our time wandering around markets and enjoying the very sunny weather.

April brought a trip to Brussels with my friend Kerry. We only had 26 hours in the city but we covered a lot of ground & enjoyed plenty of beer & chocolates. Also in April was my trip to Matlock Bath with Matthew, this was a really fun & relaxing trip close to home but really different from any other trips we’ve had.

As you can see, I still need to visit 4 other countries to meet my quota of 7 countries outside England this year, with 8 months left and a budget of £1283, is that possible? I’m not sure but I promise to give it my best shot!!

Recap of the challenge: At the start of 2018 I set myself the £2000 travel challenge, to visit 7 countries and 21 towns/cities in 2018 with a budget of no more than £2000. To be clear that budget covers transport from my front door & back again, accommodation & insurance. The budget is for me personally and not for the whole party I travel with. Also food and spending money is not included in the budget as I would be eating and doing things regardless of where I am in the world.

Towns/Cities visited excluding Leicester: 9
Countries visited excluding England: 3

Budget for 1/3 of the year:£666.66
Money spent: £677 + 1 years European travel insurance £40 Total: £717

Detailed below, not in date order, rounded to nearest pound.

1. Telford – £10 fuel, slept at friends house.  Total £10
2. Llangollen (Wales) £7 fuel (From Telford to Llangollen), day trip no hotel. Total £7
3. Chester £5 fuel (from Llangollen) £74 for Double Tree Hilton Chester, this is my half of the room as I shared a room. Total £79
4. Liverpool £10 fuel (From Chester) plus £25 fuel for the journey home, didn’t sleep here. Total £35
5. Brussels (Belgium) £34 return first class train to London, booked in advance. £104 + Eurostar points for return premier seating on Eurostar. £56 for my half of one night at NH Brussels Grand Place Arenberg hotel. Total £194
6. London £47 return first class train ticket, booked in advance, 2 nights in Kings Cross Premier Inn £83 for my half. Total £130
7. Matlock Bath £22 fuel, £27 my half of one night at Gulliver Kingdom hotel. Total £49
8. Sheffield – Free as business trip, however if paid would have cost £30 fuel £160 for 2 x night in Leopold hotel. Total £0
9. Lille (France) £47 return first class trip to London, £85 return Eurostar, £41 for my half of 2 nights in Hotel Lille Europe. Total £173


Whenever I book trips, activities or buy fuel, I am always collecting cash back, air miles, Eurostar points, free reward nights at hotels or Tesco Club card points. All of these I will use for future trips.
If anyone would be interested in hearing how I do this I’m happy to do a post on that, but I’m not sure if you’d find that boring.

Em x


  1. Ella
    May 20, 2018 / 2:59 pm

    Great blog 👍 love hearing about your travel adventures

    • Em x
      May 20, 2018 / 5:10 pm

      Thank you so much x

  2. Alice
    May 20, 2018 / 8:08 pm

    Really great blog! You’re doing well with the budget. I’d be interested in seeing how you get cashback, airmiles etc. I love your photos as well! X

    • Em x
      May 23, 2018 / 10:51 am

      Thank you, I will do a post on the cash back and so on in the future x

  3. Beccy - Raucous By Nature
    May 22, 2018 / 12:45 pm

    Book a cruise! You will easily cover your country quota then. Let me know if you need some ideas.

    • Em x
      May 23, 2018 / 10:52 am

      That’s an idea! Thank you x

  4. May 24, 2018 / 12:45 pm

    What a fantastic challenge! Your doing really well! Look forward to reading about the rest of your adventures!

    • Em x
      May 24, 2018 / 7:29 pm

      Thank you, hopefully we can get some more fun things booked in soon x

  5. June 24, 2018 / 12:25 pm

    I love this idea Em! You’ve done pretty well on the budget too! I’ve been thinking of doing something similar and you’ve given me some ideas! I’d also check out Gdansk as it was a fantastic city and so cheap to get to and stay at! There’s a review of the city on my blog x

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