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The costs for a city break can add up very quickly, but if the welcome change in weather has inspired you to book a European city break, there are a few simple tips that will ensure you get the best possible value for money.

Timing

Try and avoid travelling on or around dates that are guaranteed to be busy - Easter week (and check the school holiday dates for the Easter holidays), May Half Term and so on. If you have a specific city in mind it is advisable to check whether there are any events such as festivals or exhibitions there which may cause prices to spike, and avoid at these times if possible. Generally speaking, travelling mid-week tends to be cheaper than at weekends. However, it isn't necessarily true that the further you travel the more you will pay. A flight to Rome, say, could work out quite a bit cheaper than one to Dublin, if you shop around carefully for your flights.

Accommodation

After flights, the most significant outlay will be your accommodation. As a general rule, prices in Italian cities tend to be more expensive than elsewhere on the continent, although this may balance out if you have found cheap flights. Hotels in Paris have a well-deserved reputation for being amongst the most expensive cities to stay in in the word, so proceed with caution if you are craving Paris in the Springtime.

Research

To ensure that you are getting the best possible price on your accommodation, put some time and effort into your research. Comparing prices online really can save you a significant amount of money. It's also worth pricing up a package with a travel agent, as these will sometimes come in cheaper than booking all the elements separately. The additional advantage of booking through an agent is that your holiday will then be protected financially, and you will have access to advice should you need it.

Shop Around

When you start to compare prices, remember to check whether breakfast is included in the price quoted as this can in some cases add an additional £20 per night per person to your bill. Also ask whether any local taxes or service charges have been factored in. Make sure to read the small print carefully, especially the section that explains the cancellation and refund policy.

Thrifty Travel

If you are travelling on a tight budget, consider booking accommodation that includes cooking facilities, to cut out expensive restaurant bills, which can add up even over a long weekend. Have a map of your chosen city at hand when researching your accommodation. Staying within easy walking distance of the sights that appeal to you will cut costs. In additional, research local travel options - often buying a travel card will work out far cheaper than paying for each separate journey, and also makes for a more relaxed holiday - knowing you can just hop on or off bus or metro when the fancy takes you. Most major cities offer discounted prices when booking visits to attractions online in advance, and this can also cut down on queuing time.

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