Cherry Healey and Ade Adepitan take on the challenge of booking getaways for two sets of holidaymakers, revealing ingenious ways to get more from their budget.
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A holiday is the single most expensive thing
the majority of us will buy each year,
so there's a heck of a lot of pressure to get it right.
Finding the perfect getaway should now be easier than it's ever been,
because we've never had so many choices
and so many deals to consider.
So, why do so many of us still wind up disappointed?
Two-thirds of Brits spend more than they planned
when they go away, whilst more than half settle for a destination
they've already been to.
So, we'll be giving you all the tricks, insights and advice
you need to up the ambition of your holidays without breaking the bank.
Tonight, we're going to meet two sets of holiday-makers
fed up with their normal trips away.
You've saved all year for it. Just nothing like what you had imagined.
Using their own cash, we're going to prove that, with a little legwork,
it's easier to secure better breaks than they ever thought possible.
It's lacking the confidence and the skills
to book all these different bits and pieces.
Also on the show, Steph McGovern is on the hunt
for the very best up-and-coming destinations.
Could this Middle Eastern country
have everything your family's looking for?
Oh, I could get used to this.
And Richard Madeley offers his personal guide
to one of his favourite cities.
We were told, back home in the UK, that it was impossible
to find a hotel with a view into St Mark's Square.
In Venice, anything's possible.
-I'm Ade Adepitan.
-And I'm Cherry Healey
and, together, we're going to show you...
-How to holiday better.
If you want help getting the most from your trips abroad,
then this is the show for you.
With the travel industry's leading experts,
we've sourced all the tips, tools and advice you need
to organise your perfect getaway.
To show you what to do, we're heading to Greece.
It's one of the UK's most popular destinations.
It's blessed with over 250 days of sunshine
and, if you play your cards right,
it's one of the cheapest countries to visit in all of Europe.
So, Greece is the perfect place to demonstrate
how many exciting and affordable options there are out there,
if only you knew where to look.
And that's where we come in.
We're going to take two sets of holiday-makers
who routinely book the same type of breaks
and help them to think outside the box.
MUSIC: Sur Une Nappe De Restaurant by Jacques Dutronc
First up, Jenny and Andy Berry.
When they go away, they always choose hassle-free, pre-paid,
But, with 12-year-old Matthew to keep entertained,
plus new arrival, baby Libby, to look after,
they feel the time is right to try something new.
# Evidemment ca va de soi
# Ca va de soi evidemment... #
So, I've come to the Berrys' hometown of Bolton
to see if I can help and, with weather like this,
it's no wonder they want to get away.
-Why have you always done all-inclusive?
-Ease, if I'm honest.
You set your budget and then you go online
and you've got your flight, your hotel, your room.
Everything's already done for you.
And how has that worked out for you?
Sometimes great, sometimes not so great.
-How small does Matthew look?
-You couldn't swim there, could you?
This is where you'd just started to learn to swim.
A trip abroad means a rare chance
for the Berrys to spend quality time together...
-It's nice to, kind of...
-Have the full week and enjoy yourselves...
-..and all be together as a family.
-Do what WE want to do.
..but their hassle-free all-inclusives
aren't always that hassle-free...
I think we have been a bit let down in the past
-by trusting photos and reviews and what websites say.
On some of the holidays, we've ended up upgrading our hotel room
because the room they've shown us weren't up to scratch.
Or some of the excursions are so expensive
that we can't go on them, sometimes.
..and now baby Libby has joined the family,
the benefits seem even less obvious.
We're paying for this holiday that's all-inclusive -
but do we need all the alcohol?
It's just changing the holiday up a little bit,
so it's a bit more compatible for us as a four,
rather than just as a two or a three.
Matthew, what do you love about holidays?
I like the food, the swimming pool and the landmarks.
So, the culture?
God, you've got the best 12-year-old ever!
He does. He really enjoys it.
-So, do you know what your budget is for this holiday?
So, will you trust me to spend your money
-to get you an incredible holiday?
So, with the Berrys on board and things looking brighter,
it's time for Ade to meet
the other brave holiday-makers willing to hand over their cash.
# C'est le temps de l'amour
# Le temps des copains... #
Best friends Stella and Lyn have ambitions
to see all the wonders of the world...
# On ne pense a rien malgre ses blessures.... #
..but they aren't making things easy for themselves
because they're trying to do it all via package tours.
I travel independently all the time,
so I want to show them there's no reason to be afraid of going solo.
# On se dit qu'a vingt ans
# On est le roi du monde... #
Hello, hello, hello!
-Nice to meet you.
Lyn and Stella met each other at their local knitting club,
less than two years ago, and instantly became inseparable...
You don't necessarily go looking for people like this,
but when they come into your life, it's a bonus.
..bonding over a mutual passion for travelling.
If funds were unlimited, we'd be on holiday
as much as we could, all the time.
They've already clocked up five trips together...
That's the one.
..and enjoy nothing more than taking in
historical monuments and landmarks.
We've actually been known to cry in front of a pile of bricks.
However, their cash is limited...
I've got five children, 29 grandchildren,
about six great-grandchildren, so I have to budget really, really well.
..but prearranged tours can set you back a fair bit
and don't leave you much room for manoeuvre.
It would be nice to be more independent,
so that it's more tailored to exactly what WE want,
I would say, rather than a coach full of people.
-What do you expect when you go on holiday?
I'm one of these ladies - I've got champagne tastes
-but lemonade pockets.
-What about you, Stella?
Just to make sure you don't miss something that's fantastic
and you regret it when you get back.
So, what's your budget?
Well, at this moment in time, we're looking about £900 each.
OK, I really think
that I can match what you get on your package holiday,
but up the ante -
give you your dream holiday...
but there's one catch,
and that is you're going to have to entrust me with your money.
-Are you up for that?
MUSIC: Pictures Of Matchstick Men by Status Quo
Instead of their usual all-inclusive,
we've sent the Berrys on their first ever self-catering holiday.
Hey-hey, I'm excited!
We've flown them to a lesser-known Greek island called Lefkada.
There are great deals to be had by going off the beaten track
and avoiding major resorts.
Lefkada has sun, sea and sand galore -
plus plenty of places to eat and drink
and some fascinating Greek culture to experience...
..and, by booking it at the end of the school holidays,
when the season was winding down,
it allowed us to achieve wonders with the Berrys' budget.
MUSIC: Melo Dos Dois Bicudos by Azymuth
They're going to be staying at this luxury private villa.
-Just leave the suitcases there, Matthew.
-Look at our new digs, Libby.
-This is well good!
We found it using comparison websites. It's worth knowing
that they charge commission, so you can get cheaper prices
by going direct to the owners.
Whoa, look at the view outside! Look at the mountains over there.
-I was just looking at the clouds.
-Amazing, aren't they?
You have real bargaining power when demand is low,
so we managed to negotiate a 22% discount
from the best advertised price online.
It's better than our kitchen at home, this.
The villa's got everything the Berrys want -
and the best thing about this place, it's got its very own private pool,
which already seems a big hit with Matthew.
What's Matthew doing?
I did it!
Although this is a self-catered villa,
there's a central reception, so the Berrys still get the same support
they're familiar with at an all-inclusive hotel.
One thing they aren't used to, though, is the amount of space.
The thought of being cooped up in a hotel room
feels a bit claustrophobic.
This is very different from our usual holidays.
I feel like it's our home away from home. It's got everything we need.
It's... It's beautiful.
Even though there's other villas dotted around,
you can't hear anybody.
To be honest, it's what we didn't like about going all-inclusive,
cos it's the fact you're in with the masses -
and it's really nice just to be on your own as a family
and chill out and relax.
In the north of the country,
it's time to start Lyn and Stella's Greek adventure.
We've ditched the package tours and, instead, organised a bespoke trip
that I hope will be a much better way for them to enjoy the country.
I've done my best to come up with an itinerary that I think will work,
but the ladies have never travelled on their own in this way before.
An awful lot could go wrong.
Starting in the second city of Thessaloniki,
they're going to head south,
travelling almost 400 miles through the mainland,
before reaching the capital, Athens.
They'll be travelling by road, rail and sea,
taking in some of the country's most stunning sights along the way.
-Take a pew.
-How are you both doing?
-Not bad, not bad.
Why are you looking so nervous?! Relax, chill.
We're going to show you some of the best things you can do over here
and you're going to do it all on your own -
but first things first.
I want you to catch a train
to a town called Kalabaka. Can you do that?
To your journey through Greece.
-Cheers, me dear.
They've entrusted me with their money,
and holidays are such personal things
and what I might think is amazing, they might look at
and think, "He's having a laugh. What is he doing?"
I'm sort of bubbling at the minute.
I don't know if it's the excitement being here or what.
The hairs on the back of my neck are all sort of, ba, ba, ba.
Getting a foreign train may seem daunting,
but there's no check-in to contend with, no baggage restrictions.
If you buy tickets far enough in advance,
it's great value for money.
Can I have two tickets to Kalabaka, please?
21 per person?
-Bags wrestled on board, our ladies are bound for Kalabaka.
-Oh, my God.
MUSIC: Postcards From Italy by Beirut
If you're planning a European train journey,
check out the Deutsche Bahn website.
It has full timetable info for the whole continent,
it's available in English and it's free.
This experience is the first time we've done anything like this
on a train or anything,
but this is not a bad way of seeing all what's going past.
It's great, the view and what you're seeing -
but I didn't think getting the bags on was very good.
Three hours and 180 miles later, the ladies arrive
and pick up a little message from yours truly.
-Oh, it's from Ade.
-Oh, go on, then. Quick, go on. What's next?
-Good afternoon, ladies.
I hope your train journey was comfortable,
you've behaved yourselves.
Now, I've booked a hotel nearby. Unpack, settle in.
Hotels are generally busier and more expensive at weekends
but, because the ladies were flexible enough to travel midweek,
they got a £24-a-night rate reduction.
That's gorgeous! Oh, look!
There is, however, one neat way to bag a bargain room
on a Friday and Saturday.
If you're staying in a city over a weekend,
you can save yourself a lot of money
by booking a hotel in the financial district.
Most of the business customers head home,
the demand for the rooms decreases, and so do the prices.
Where did HE go?
Whenever you're staying, always compare B&B rates
with the cost of a room on its own.
Breakfast is often much cheaper
if you just buy it at a cafe round the corner.
Signing up to hotels' online loyalty schemes is also a good idea.
They're free to join and you'll be sent offers
that aren't available to the general public.
It's the first time I've been in a vineyard.
They say there's a first time for everything, I suppose.
Bags unpacked, Stella and Lyn head straight out
for a tour of a local winery.
-Here, we have the Syrah. It's a red one.
-It's a red wine.
-It's a full-bodied wine?
-Are we allowed to go and taste some?
-I think it's time!
-I do, too!
-My shoes are getting dirty.
-And you know the way to taste the wine.
-So, what's "Cheers"?
Can we take a couple of crates with us?
-I'm sure we can fit them in our cases.
-Bottles or barrels?
I think we'd best leave them to it.
The most popular type of holiday for Brits is the city break,
with over half of us embarking on one every year -
but getting to grips with an unfamiliar metropolis
can be a daunting task.
Guide books and online review sites can all be very useful
but there's nothing like tapping into local knowledge
to help you get the best out of a place.
MUSIC: The Edge by David McCallum and David Axelrod
With its picturesque canals, elegant bridges
and breathtaking architecture, it's no wonder, every year,
25 million visitors are drawn to the stunning city of Venice.
However, it's also notorious for leaving people out of pocket,
so we've asked Richard Madeley,
a frequent visitor here for over 20 years, to share his survival tips.
Just as it can entrance, it can overwhelm, with its heaving crowds
and its bustling waterways and its hefty price tags.
So, here's my guide to getting the best out of this magical place.
When you're choosing a place to stay,
it can be seriously difficult to find an address here.
That's because almost none of the streets have names on them.
Even the postmen get confused.
So, it's a good idea to pick somewhere
that's close to a notable landmark, and that way,
you'll be reasonably sure of finding your way back home again.
I do vividly remember the time I was here with Judy
and I'd gone out by myself for a while
and we were due to meet in a restaurant for lunch.
Could I find it? Nope!
She was furious.
That's one of the many reasons why we always return
to this particular hotel - and, thanks to its deceptive location,
there is absolutely no chance you'll get lost if you stay here.
See what I mean? St Mark's Square. Perfect.
Any trip to Venice will inevitably involve a visit here,
as it's home to the city's three most iconic attractions -
the Doge's Palace...
the Basilica of St Mark's
and, of course, the bell tower, the San Marco Campanile.
Locals call this place
Triangolo delle Bermuda, the Bermuda Triangle,
and that's because tourists come here in their masses
but they never leave.
That means that this is, by far, the busiest part of the city,
so expect crowds.
Now, instead of queuing around the block to visit the Doge's Palace,
you can book what they call a "secret itinerary" tour
before you get here.
They'll take you anywhere you want to go inside -
but, crucially, the guides leave at allocated times at fixed points
and that means you just turn up and go. No waiting.
The sheer number of people it attracts
means that prices are sky-high.
A regular plate of pasta in one of the many cafes
that surround St Mark's Square is going to cost you,
if you're lucky, 15 euros,
if you're not lucky, 50 euros!
Even a cup of coffee could be as much as 25 euros.
So, instead, take a wander through the back streets.
That's where you'll find both the true character of the city
and the best prices.
I'd recommend eating at one of the many cicchetti bars.
Cicchetti's like Spanish tapas.
It's the best-value, most authentic Venetian cuisine you'll find -
and here's another tip. When it comes to coffee,
don't sit at a table. Instead, do what the locals do
and drink at the bar.
That way, an espresso costs just a euro.
And, speaking of tips, 5% here is considered more than enough.
It's perfectly ample -
or you just round things up to the nearest five or ten euros,
and if your bill - any bill - says "servizio incluso",
nothing to worry about. It's all taken care of. Grazie.
For dessert, gelato - artisan ice cream. But be careful.
Some shops charge top whack for gelato that is far from authentic.
So, how do you spot a fake?
Well, if the ice cream comes to you piled really, really high,
that is a dead giveaway. It means it's been whipped.
True Italian ice cream has to be churned
and that's what gives it its unique dense texture.
Ah, thank you.
Here, at La Boutique del Gelato, it's the real deal. It's delicious.
Getting around Venice's main canals is cheapest by vaporetto,
the water bus. A pass for two days costs 30 euros -
but, of course, no trip here is complete
without a ride on a gondola.
The trouble is, prices reflect their popularity.
The city of Venice sets the official hire rate for gondolas
at 80 euros for 30 minutes,
but not many people know that that same rate - 80 euros -
covers six people in the same boat.
So, if you don't mind sharing, you can spilt the cost six ways.
Ahead of us is one of the most photographed sites
in the whole of Venice - the Bridge of Sighs,
so-called because it was the walkway
that condemned men used to leave the city's courts.
Nowadays, the only thing to sigh about
is the amount of time it'll take you to queue up to get a look inside.
Honestly, this angle is the only one you need to experience.
Then, as evening draws in and you're looking for a nightcap,
there's nothing I'd recommend more highly
than a visit to my favourite watering hole - Harry's.
And it was in this bar, nearly 70 years ago,
that they actually invented the bellini.
It's made up of peach juice and prosecco.
-Thank you very much indeed, Marco.
-Thank you, sir.
And it's simple, it's elegant, it's understated,
but it's ineffably classy. Just like this place.
So, there you have it.
With a few of these tricks up your sleeve,
you'll be in a much better position
to tackle this most intriguing of cities.
And I promise you, if you come to Venice,
you will never, ever forget the experience
and, more than that, you'll want to come back.
Wherever you're going, you're likely to use the internet
to book your holiday - but the choice can be overwhelming.
So, we've come to meet Lonely Planet editor in chief Tom Hall
to help you work out which deals you can trust.
It's easy to be tempted by a low price on an unfamiliar site
but, actually, using British companies,
where you can see ATOL and ABTA certificates on their site,
that should give you a degree of confidence
that you'll be protected in what you're doing.
So, if a deal looks too good to be true
from a site you've never heard of, it might be.
Do approach them, do ask questions
before you hand over your credit card details.
-So, take your time and go to trusted sources.
How seriously do you take the star ratings on the reviews?
Reviews are a fantastic tool
that we just didn't have at our disposal 20 years ago -
but it's worth taking an average temperature of a particular place.
Can you give us some tips on how to budget a holiday?
It's tempting to look at a cheap flight and say,
"OK, that's the one we want.
"It's going to save us £50 or £100 per head",
but if you then have to spend a lot of money on a taxi
or to get your car into a long-stay car park,
then that has cancelled itself out,
so think about the total cost of your journey,
from the moment you close your front door to the moment you return,
and that's where your budgeting should be going.
And here are a few more top tips to keep the price of your flights down,
courtesy of our travel industry experts.
The best day to book a flight
is Tuesday because weekend sales are usually assessed on the Monday
and if a flight isn't selling,
then you're most likely to bag a bargain on a Tuesday.
Whenever you're booking a flight,
make sure you clear the cookies from your computer first.
Websites remember when you visit,
what you search for, which flights you look at,
and if you go repeatedly, they hoick the price up.
Don't presume that a return flight with one airline
is the cheapest option.
Sometimes two single flights on two different carriers
will work out more cost-effective.
This is the best trip I've ever had.
-Pretty cool, isn't it?
In the past,
the Berry family has always holidayed in all-inclusive hotels,
but we've used their money to book them
their first ever self-catering villa.
So, how are they finding it?
Want a bit more?
Bit different to if you went all-inclusive, isn't it?
At least you've got a nice choice to go to different beaches and things.
-We don't normally leave the resort beach, do we?
-We can go on our own adventure.
-OK, let's go. Come on, Jen.
MUSIC: Passin' Me By by The Pharcyde
# Who loves the sun...? #
Their villa is out of town, so we had to hire them a car.
It cost £139 for the week -
but the cheaper accommodation
meant that the cost was immediately offset.
It also means that they have the freedom to explore.
Always choose your rental company before you go.
It's worth selecting one with a full-to-full fuel policy.
-It is off the beaten track, isn't it? It's nice.
-Yeah, I like that.
That way the tank is full when you pick it up
and you return it full, so you only pay for the petrol you use.
It's weird how you get an island that's got such good weather
and so chilled out and it's not built up or anything.
-It's not too touristy, yeah.
And don't bother hiring a satnav with your vehicle.
Instead, there are loads of apps for your phone.
These apps have pre-downloaded maps that use the GPS on your handset,
so you can still use them
even when you've switched off your data roaming.
I should really start taking my own advice.
MUSIC: 96 Tears by The Mysterians
# Too many teardrops... #
Self-catering means buying your own food and drink but do it right,
and it makes real financial sense.
Can I get some hummus, please?
-Do we want some wine?
Are we better off getting a box and then it'll last?
By doing one big shop and making some meals at the villa,
there's much more to spend when you do eat out.
It's very different compared to an all-inclusive
cos we've never really had to do our own food shopping,
but I see the value in it, as well, because we're eating
what we want to eat, rather than what is being given to us.
An hour in a supermarket is worth it -
so bring on the rest of the holiday.
-Oh, the cat's drinking her milk!
-Oh, no! Tch, tch!
The view's so beautiful, isn't it?
Matthew, your challenge is you've got to swim over there and back.
-Ha, ha, you like it, don't you?
-Do you like that water?
-Look at her!
MUSIC: Tomorrow by William Onyeabor
If relaxing on a beach is your thing,
the Greek islands are pretty hard to beat.
Whether you prefer long stretches of sand,
impressive cliffs or secluded bays,
this part of the world has some of the best coastline in Europe.
Definitely had some R & R whilst we've been here this afternoon.
Then, tonight, for dinner, we're going to go into Lefkada Town
try and sample some of the local cuisine
and, yeah, hopefully, it'll be great.
But here's something you and they probably didn't realise
about eating out abroad.
On the Continent, some restaurants will charge you extra
for seating outside, so check before you take your seat.
And be careful, because some English menus can be more expensive.
So, order from the local menu using a translation dictionary,
so you're not charged over the odds.
MUSIC: For Your Love by The Yardbirds
Lyn and Stella's tour through Greece has brought them
to one of the country's treasures -
the spectacular mountain-top monasteries of Meteora.
Looks huge, doesn't it?
For them, this is what holidaying is all about - sightseeing.
# For your love. #
So tranquil, so beautiful.
-It's like being on top of the world, isn't it?
Think about the man hours.
People must have devoted their lives to building them.
In the past, Lyn and Stella would rely on organised tours
to get to places like this,
so they had little chance to plan trips on their own terms...
Makes you wonder how they built them.
..but here, with the money saved
by booking travel and accommodation independently,
we've been able to afford a driver and a private tour guide.
In the 15th century, the monastery was abandoned by the monks.
The monasteries stand 1,200 feet above the valley floor
and, amazingly, 70 monks and nuns still live and worship here.
Stunning, absolutely stunning.
If I ever thought of coming to Greece,
this is the number one spot that I would want to see. I've...
I'm lost for words, basically. It's just so brilliant to be here.
MUSIC: Bam Bam by Sister Nancy
But their cross-country journey moves on.
Travelling by minibus, Lyn and Stella head 200km south
to the port of Arkitsa,
where they catch a ferry to the island of Edipsos.
-Ladies, I thought you deserved a little R & R.
This is the Thermae Sylla Wellness Hotel.
It was built in 1897 on hot springs
and it's considered one of the best spa hotels in all of the world.
Enjoy the pampering. It's well-deserved.
MUSIC: Gangsta Gangsta by Ife Jie
I wonder how much it costs to stay here, then -
including, obviously, you get all this.
Pfft... Don't know.
-For me, probably more than I could afford.
-Well, we're affording it! We're doing it.
-I know, I know!
MUSIC: I Found A Reason by The Velvet Underground
Once again, because the hotel isn't full,
we were able to negotiate a deal.
The advertised price of a twin is £102.25,
but we got it for £86.60.
We pushed our luck even further and asked what else they could do
and the management threw in treatments worth £75 each for free.
-Look at this.
-Thank you for sending us here to this beautiful place.
As you can see, first treatment.
-Just about to get the rest. Bye!
Though Brits have been coming to popular countries like Greece
for decades, new destinations are opening up all the time.
On this show, we want to give you the inside track
on the up-and-coming options heading your way.
Thanks to a major tourism push,
the Middle Eastern country of Oman is quickly gaining popularity -
but will what it has to offer suit you and your family?
We sent Steph McGovern to find out.
For most Brits, a holiday in this part of the world
usually means a trip to the soaring skyscrapers of Dubai.
Yet the country right next door is on the up,
with BA and Oman Air now flying there direct 19 times a week -
but can it really compete and win over UK tourists?
Phew! Well, the first thing to tell you about Oman is it is hot.
It can get up to 49 degrees in the summer.
Now, the best months to come are between November and March.
# My tambourine is still shaking... #
This is the five-star Chedi Hotel in the capital Muscat.
Top-end places like this will set you back
an average of £240 a night -
more budget hotels cost in the region of £85 -
and with food and drink on the pricey side too,
this isn't really a place to holiday on a shoestring.
Oh, I could get used to this.
Now, you can't get alcohol in the supermarkets here,
but you can get it in pretty much all hotels
and some clubs and restaurants, so, don't worry if you like a drink.
I've never actually been to this part of the world before
but what I'm expecting is something like Dubai, you know,
swanky hotels like this, posh shops, skyscrapers.
It's time to explore.
MUSIC: Marcus Garvey by Burning Spear
If you've got sand and surf in mind,
Oman has over 3,000 kilometres of unspoilt beaches -
but you need to be appropriately dressed,
so, I'm afraid, no bikinis for the ladies or Speedos for the lads -
but if you're in one of the big hotels,
then often, they will have a private beach
and you can wear whatever you like on them.
And if shopping's your thing,
well, Muscat's malls offer some serious retail therapy.
Oman has lots of different places to offer you - like this centre,
which gives you that mix of the brands you've never heard of
with all the high-street favourites too.
So far, so Dubai -
but the longer I spend here, the more I realise
there's one very obvious difference.
There's some gorgeous architecture,
but the buildings are a lot smaller than I thought they'd be.
I assumed there'd be, like, huge skyscrapers.
By law, all Omani buildings must be Islamic in style
and, to protect views of the landscape,
be no more than nine storeys in height.
So, why the difference with the neighbours next door?
I'm hoping Omani blogger Ali Mohammadi can explain.
So, Ali, I was expecting Muscat to be more like Dubai,
-but it isn't really, is it?
-No, not at all.
I mean, we, as Omanis, are very proud of our history and our culture
and we don't want to lose this.
It's something that we are happy to show to tourists,
especially for someone visiting from Britain.
If it's the middle of December and it's cold and miserable,
come to Oman, you know? Very nice adventure destinations.
We have beautiful beaches.
This combination of our culture and history
and natural wonders, I would like to call them,
I think it's a very unique proposition for any visitor.
MUSIC: Nissim by The Gaslamp Killer
So, taking Ali's advice,
it's time to experience the traditional side of Oman.
First off, Muscat's most visited attraction - the Grand Mosque.
This place is absolutely spectacular.
The level of detail!
This carpet is the second largest in the world
and it took 600 women four years to make it.
In search of the authentic Arabian experience,
I'm heading 100 miles inland to the ancient city of Nizwa...
Ali, get the engine on.
MUSIC: Galvanize by The Chemical Brothers
..and what better way to see this beautiful country
than by hiring your own four-by-four?
This is Nizwa's famous cattle market.
Here, you can experience first-hand
the way locals have bought and sold livestock for centuries.
Look at this guy here trying to sell this little goat.
They're obviously taking them round this ring to show the goats off.
Everywhere you go, Omani heritage is really on show here -
like this 400-year-old house, now a living museum...
It's massive, this place.
..and here, nuts and seeds are being used
to make traditional remedies.
This lady here is pushing them together
to get the oil out and make a skin product.
Oh, can I try?
For my final stop, we climb high into the mountains
to visit Wadi Ghul, also known as Oman's Grand Canyon.
Wow! This view is incredible!
Just to give you a sense of how vast this area is,
I can see hikers down there, tiny little dots.
This is hikers' paradise.
I think it's fair to say, if you want to do Oman on a tight budget,
you might struggle, because the food's expensive,
as is the accommodation.
Now, there are good beaches and good shops,
but there are lots of alternative cheaper countries
where you can get that.
But in terms of history and culture, this place is hard to beat.
It's unlike anywhere I've ever been
and, as a woman traveller, I felt completely safe,
which is something I didn't necessarily expect.
The great thing about Oman is this, the natural beauty -
but the highlight for me, I think, has been the fact
that I felt really welcomed and I've really been able
to immerse myself in the tradition here and that is a real attraction.
If you're about to embark on a trip abroad,
here's some expert advice to bear in mind before you leave.
When you're packing, put a "Fragile" sticker on your hold luggage.
That way it goes to the top of the pile in the plane
and it's likely to come out first on the baggage carousel
when you reach your destination.
You generally get a better exchange rate online than you do in stores.
Order your currency, then have it delivered to your home
or pick up from an airport location.
If you've got a choice of queue at airport security,
you may find that going left is quicker,
because most people are right-handed and may naturally go to the right.
Liquids are banned through airport security, but food isn't.
So, if you're flying with a budget airline, take a picnic with you,
rather than paying for overpriced snacks on board.
MUSIC: Body And Soul by William Onyeabor
Lyn and Stella's tour across Greece has come to an end -
fittingly, in Athens.
What better place for our history-loving ladies
to complete their journey than the most famous landmark of them all?
I didn't realise it was as big as that!
The Acropolis is over 25 centuries old.
The knobbly ends remind me of Lego.
Oh, yeah, yeah.
That's brilliant! I'm impressed!
It has survived bombings, fire and earthquakes,
yet remains the most complete monumental complex
from ancient Greece...
Right, I've had the man, now let's find the horse.
I wonder why he's so intact.
..but look who's just round the corner.
This is the first time I've been here
since the Olympics in 2004 and I'm going to surprise Lyn and Stella.
They don't know I'm here. I'm looking forward to this!
Let's go that way.
-Fancy seeing you two here!
-Lyn and Stella!
-Fancy seeing you two!
What do you think we're doing here?
-Mwah! Have you missed me?
Trouble, isn't she? Cheeky!
-So, what's it been like?
I tell you what, let's talk about it a bit more over some coffee.
-This is amazing, isn't it?
-Ain't it just?!
-So, you've seen more than me.
Yeah, but you've missed so much!
You're going to tell me all about it, aren't you?
So, has this new style of holiday been value for money,
and is it enough to make independent travellers out of Lyn and Stella?
-You guys gave me a budget of £1,800.
Do you reckon I came in on budget?
-He better have!
-Just. I don't know.
After seven days away, and all that you've done -
travelling round the country, five-star hotels, tour guides -
you're both going to be going home with £62.17 each.
Round of applause for Ade.
You've put us in a better place for our budget.
And we've still got change.
You've still got change in your back pocket.
So, are you going to give us details of how you did it?
-No, absolutely not! It's my secret!
So, once you start saving money on different bits,
then you can afford to spend a bit more money on other bits.
-Like the spa.
-How much do you think the spa came in at?
-My guess was about £150 each.
No, no, for both of you. All the facilities, the room and everything.
We thought that was way beyond our budget, and it's really not.
Would this change how you approach holidays in the future?
-Yeah, it's given us, definitely, more options.
We're doing it. We're going to do it, definitely.
It gave us options, which we didn't have before.
And would you do this sort of holiday again then?
We were already thinking we'd give it a go, but now we know,
-actually you really DO get more for your money...
..it's the way to go.
Yeah - I think high fives are there.
-Come on, come on, give me some of that.
-Oh, definitely, darling.
Give me some of that!
For a final day treat, the Berrys are throwing caution to the wind
and splashing out...
# It's another year for me and you
# Another year with nothing to do... #
..by hiring a speedboat for the day...
MUSIC: Foxy Lady by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
..but, back on dry land, I'm waiting for them
and have a bit of a surprise in store.
-You gave me a budget of £2,500.
Compared to your normal holiday of all-inclusive,
do you think that you did more
-than you would normally do for that budget?
Yeah. We've done excursions. We've not had a day that's been the same.
Yeah, it's been really enjoyable, so yeah, I think it was worth it.
-You think that's what you spent, roughly?
We were just expecting you to spend
the whole lot and, you know, we were quite happy for you to do that.
You actually spent...
-Oh, my God!
So, I believe that belongs to you.
-Thank you very much!
Is it nice to be going home
with nearly £600 in your pocket?
Yes, that's just a massive added bonus.
-How do you feel?
Have you ever gone home with extra money in your pocket?
No, we normally go into the credit card.
-Never mind going home with money.
-No, we don't go home with money.
-So, what's that going to go on?
-Yeah, let's book another holiday.
-But Cherry's planning it.
-Cherry's planning it.
-I'll plan it, I'll plan it.
Thank you, Cherry. It's really amazing. It's really good.
No, pleasure. I'm so glad you had a lovely time.
# I wish that I knew what I know now... #
So, there you have it - happy holidays all round.
All that's left is to celebrate - Greek-style, of course!
I think we've learnt how to stop being lazy
and research our own holidays a bit.
-It's opened our eyes a lot, hasn't it?
-It's been lovely.
We've had a laugh and a great holiday.
And now we know how to do it, we can go away and do it for years to come.
BAND PLAYS TRADITIONAL GREEK MUSIC AND PEOPLE CLAP ALONG
# Ceux qui me cassent la figure
# Ceux qui me marchent sur les pieds
# Ceux qui me cognent en voiture
# Ceux qui me cognent sur le nez
# Papa, Maman, toute la famille
# L'Eglise, l'armee et la patrie
# Je les aime, je les aime Je les aime... #
Two sets of holidaymakers entrust Cherry Healey and Ade Adepitan to book a getaway on their behalf. Using cheats and tips from top travel experts, the team reveal easy ways to up the scale and ambition of the trip without having to pay more.
Meanwhile, Richard Madeley shows us how to beat the tourist traps and get the most out of Venice, one of his favourite cities, and Steph McGovern explores Oman to see what this up-and-coming destination can offer British tourists.