*This is a collaborative post with Nectar.
Despite being a bit of a planner when it comes to our family time, I do absolutely love booking a last minute trip away, or a fun day out together to get away from it all for a little bit.
So when Nectar asked me if I would book a last minute trip for my family as part of a ‘Blue Monday Busting Day Out’ challenge, I jumped at the chance. Blue Monday is supposedly the most depressing day of the year, and often inspires people to book a break away to cheer themselves up a bit. I always feel a bit rubbish and low at this time of year – the short, dark days and the excitement of Christmas being over mean that lots of us feel the same way, and I find it really helps to have something to look forward to.
Nectar’s unique insights have shown that as well as January being one of the biggest booking months for travel, that after a turbulent 2016, the nation feels in need of an affordable escape to treat themselves in 2017. Therefore, Nectar’s points boosting deals for January are travel and days out themed, aimed at helping cardholders collect extra rewards when getting out and about this month, or for planning ahead for the rest of the year.
So, on Friday afternoon, after a slight rearranging of schedules we hotfooted it to London ahead of Blue Monday (16th)…
I absolutely love London, but because of the price of trains when you book them late, it isn’t always possible for us to go last minute. But by using my Nectar points with Virgin East Coast trains we got our entire journey to London and back completely free, despite only booking them a couple of days before our trip! I love that I can easily use my Nectar card or app on everyday spends and save up points so that a last minute trip is much more accessible to us. As well as paying using my points, I also collected a bonus 500 points on our trip with Nectar’s brilliant January offers that are running at the moment. There’s all sorts of great point boosting travel offers in January if you go through the Nectar app or site to make a purchase, with lots of Nectar’s partners.
Some of these are listed below:
- get 4 x points with Expedia
- 500 bonus points with Virgin West Coast and Virgin East Coast trains
- 500 bonus points and up to 25% off with Hertz car rental
- 5 x points with TransPennine Express
- 5 x points with Great Western Railway
- Double points at Madame Tussauds London
- 3000 bonus Nectar points with Air Canada when booked via Expedia
I found a gorgeous hotel last minute using the HotelTonight app (post coming soon!) and with booking our trains (at £93) completely free with the Nectar points I had, we enjoyed such a lovely couple of days in London at a great saving, which we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. By booking it through Nectar I got even more points so that I can get money off future purchases like a coffee at Caffe Nero or a meal at Pizza Express. Those little discounts really help with those little treats we all need, like a family meal out or a day trip somewhere, and that needn’t cost the earth.
From tomorrow (16th) Nectar are currently running a brilliant competition on their Twitter here for you to win a load of Nectar points – so make sure you enter, and if you don’t have a Nectar card already then definitely set one up – it’s great to have and build up your points making the purchases you usually do. The Nectar app is really useful too – it’s great being able to see my points balance and how much they are worth, so I can quickly see if I have enough for a particular something whilst I’m out, as well as see my recent activity. To get a few extra points I have also linked up my Nectar card with my ebay account for the 100 bonus points that is available at the moment.
We had a lovely relaxed time in London, wandering around wrapped up against the freezing cold weather. Our hotel was right by the Tower of London, so we strolled around there and then got warm again with Hot Chocolates and cake.
The boy also wanted to make a quick(ish) visit to a couple of breweries on the ‘Bermondsey Beer Mile’ to sample a couple of the beers, and take a few home with him, so we did that and grabbed some lunch. I really love that in London you can be surrounded by history and architecture one minute, and then be amongst the industry and in railway arches sipping on an ale brewed on site. I adore staying in different areas of London and getting to experience the different local areas each time we visit.
We don’t have loads of spare cash right now, as I’m sure most of us don’t, so it was so nice being able to explore London, and have a night there, knowing that our Nectar points had covered a large chunk of it, and collecting more points as we went.
We had a really lovely last-minute break that was much needed, and really cheered up the rather miserable month of January for me.