13 November 2017

How I got a Return Trip to France for 50p

I know the title of this post seems a little clickbait-y but I swear it’s 100% true, I still can't really believe it myself!

I have a bit of a reputation these days for sniffing out bargain travel deals, it’s served me well as despite not being on a good wage for London (I am currently earning 2k under what is largely agreed is the the minimal amount you needed to live in London and I’m surviving just fine) I have still managed to rack up 12 flights this year to places all over Europe.  That isn’t including all the places in the UK I’ve driven to or my crazy train deals to Edinburgh and Glasgow.  All budget travel bloggers will tell you the number one tip is let the deal dictate where you go, not the other way around.  Krakow was the only place I’ve had my heart set on visiting this year, everything else was a result of finding deals (with the exception of Hamburg and Amsterdam when I worked with PR companies).  This is how I found myself traveling to Brugge via France for no other reason then it worked out at 25p each way, and it was worth every penny!
How did I get this crazy deal?  Well I saw online that DFDS were having a £1 sale the next day. They had a few routes from various parts in the country, the nearest one to me in the south was Dover to Dunkirk, I set my heart on hunting it down the next day.  £1 into France, who wouldn’t go for it!

Logging on the next day to the very busy website I found what I was looking for.  I had assumed it would be £1 each each way, so a £4 return for me and Harry, a total bargain right?  Well it was so much better then that, going to book the tickets I found out that A) the price wasn’t £1 per person it was £1 per car and B) it was £1 for a return journey, not a single.  

It bares repeating.  £1 pound for return journey to France for a full car of people!  For myself and Harry this worked out at £0.25p each, each way.  Imagine if you had a family of 4, it would be less than £.0.13p each or a car of 6 for just £0.08p!

The booking wasn’t without it’s flaws, I think it was the first time they’d ran a sale like this and so the website quickly became overwhelmed and I found I couldn’t get through to the order booking page before the sale ended.  I dropped them a quick, polite email and they were nice enough to book it over the phone for the same sale price due to the web issues.  Just like that we were set!
There were no hidden extras and the only condition was that it had to be for one of their weekday trips, so we booked a Tuesday-Thursday trip at the start of October.  The journey itself was really pleasant and relaxing, the ships were pretty quiet when we traveled so we almost had the run of the place.  The staff were all really friendly, the drinks and snacks we bought on board were all a decent price and there were plenty of tables and seating areas to sit at during the short trip so I managed to get some writing done.  On board there’s a restaurant, cafe duty free shop, kids area and more to keep you entertained for the two hour journey.  I can honestly say it was smooth sailing each way (sorry not sorry).

I had originally planned on going to Dunkirk for the three days but after realising Brugge was so close we chose to go there instead, which I think was the right choice.  We called into Dunkirk on the way to Brugge (primarily so I could visit Sephora, not going to lie) and had an excellent French lunch there (I tried my first steak tartare and loved it!).  We visited the beach and war memorials before walking back to the bay but with that we really had seen all we needed to.  I really recommend driving the extra half hour to Brugge, it’s a stunning city.

Overall I found the journey really enjoyable and much more relaxing than flying. Not having to get there extra early to go through passport control, driving straight onto the boat from the comfort of my own car then having the freedom to stretch my legs walking around the boat on route just felt really freeing, it’s something I’d definitely do again.

Where as I can't guarantee they will this promotion again, comments they left on their Facebook page seemed to indicate it was something they’d run again and with a website better-able to deal with the influx of customers.  So for now I recommend signing up to their newsletter or following their Facebook page while you await the next deal.

What’s the best travel deal you’ve discovered?
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