How To Book A Holiday: Coaster Enthusiast Style

Whenever people ask me about my travels the same questions pops up time and time again. How do you do it? People are always shocked at how often I go away, and how I can seemingly afford to do it so all the time, so I thought I would share a few of my holiday booking rituals with you all to spell out just how easy it is to be able to travel the world!

Let's start off with the basics. Where do you want to go? If you are a coaster enthusiast like me my first port of call for where I want to go is This is a website that has every rollercoaster in the world plotted on a map, and so is a great way to gauge out certain areas that have little 'pockets' of theme parks that would be visitable in one go. I use this as a base to find out which coasters are at substantial parks (ie, parks worth spending time in/money on) and which are just +1s that can possibly be picked up along the way.

All the rollercoasters in the UK!
Then I head to Google Maps and plot everything, and play about with my routes until I have the most desired one. Google Maps is a great tool because not only can you get a good idea of how far away all of your parks are from each other it also puts your trip into a wider geographical context, meaning you can now see if there are any non-park points of interest that you would like to incorporate. For example maybe there's a beautiful city nearby where you could have dinner after park operation hours. The way I do coaster trips is parks first, culture second, but I do always try and include a good mix of both to ensure I make the most of my trip.

Lastly, now that everything is plotted on a map and you know what attractions you'll be visiting, you can begin to arrange hotels by looking at larger towns/cities along the way and deciding which would be the most convenient to stay at. For longer drives like my trips to America I usually try to find a hotel half way along the route. For example if there is a 3 hour drive between parks I'll try and find somewhere to stay that is 1.5 hours away from both, making the drives more manageable.

Where possible, I like to stay in resort hotels. I usually find the best approach to getting a good deal on a resort hotel is to ring them directly and talking to an actual agent, as in my experience they are much more likely to work something fun out for you/let you know about any extras available. Also, I have found that when larger groups are involved bigger discounts can be had.

Hotel Colosseo at Europa Park is where I'll be staying on my next Europa Park trip!
But of course resort hotels aren't always available and so I turn to trusty old If the park is well known enough sometimes you can just put the park name straight in and Booking will give you a list of hotels nearby. If not, just type in the name of the town/city you want to stay in and choose which hotel meets your requirements. I usually make sure mine have the following: parking, breakfast, wifi and a rating of at least 7.0/10. And ALWAYS READ THE REVIEWS. I've had some very near misses with almost booking terrible hotels because I almost forgot to read the reviews. They can tell you more about the hotel in one sentence than any information Booking can give you!

How are you getting to your destination and what is the best mode of transport? Obviously places like France and Belgium and to a further extent Holland and Germany are really easily reachable by simply driving over. Yes this may involve some undesirable ferry crossing times but in my experience it's never as bad as you think it's going to be, and with a ferry crossing from Dover-Calais being a standard £60 return that can be as cheap as £15 per person, which is stupidly good value.

Alternatively, and usually more often, I'll fly. The good thing about having plotted your route on a map already is that the lesser known airports near to your destinations suddenly make themselves known, and I have found that these places are usually the ones Ryanair and EasyJet sell off for peanuts. I recently got return flights to Copenhagen for £1 each way by keeping an eye on the Ryanair sales. It's just a case of checking regularly and pouncing when something good is announced. Even when the sales aren't on, travelling in Spring (April/May time when the parks begin to open) and late August/September usually provides really cheap flight options. So not only will the parks be really quiet but you'll also have paid next to nothing to be there, winner!

Ryanair's Fare Finder is a great way of seeing when the cheapest flights are available
Getting around during my trip I will always opt for a car. Not only is it the most faff-free and direct option it also provides a place for bags to be dumped during the day. I usually use AutoEurope or HolidayAutos to get the best deal on a car (for some reason these two are always substantially cheaper than other car hire sites).

Annual Passes are your friend. Whether you're doing a big US trip or a mini-trip in Europe, the power of the Annual Pass is one that resonates. In my big trips to the US I've benefitted from both Six Flags and Cedar Fair passes, but it is always a good idea to look into other parks that may be affiliated with each other to (eg Dollywood and Silver Dollar City) as often these parks bundle in with other attractions, such as local shows, in order to provide some kind of deal that may be worth your while.

In Europe lots of parks work with each other to provide amazing discounts. For example the Plopsa Pass that I recently purchased not only provides access to all Plopsa parks but also up to 40% off of big European parks like Phantasialand and Efteling, and was only about £50! Alternatively, the Europa Park pass also offers entry to Efteling, Phantasialand and Liseberg for free, a pass at Movie Park Germany would also allow you entry to Parque Warner Madrid, Tusenfryd and Bobbejaanland and a pass from Efteling gets you free access to Phantasialand, Europa Park, Port Aventura and Liseberg, among many more. It can be a bit of a headache trying to work out which pass is best for you for the year, especially if you don't know what trips you are doing yet but it's definitely worth trying to gauge some kind of plan considering the savings you can make! Also, always good to keep in mind that most annual passes will also give you some sort of discount on park food/merchandise!

I hope I made that clear and simple! So no, I'm not some sort of millionaire with endless amounts of cash available to jet off whenever I like, I simply keep an eye out for the best deal and arrange my trips to make the least amount of impact on my pocket. Please feel free to ask me any questions if you're planning a theme park based holiday, I'll be more than glad to help!

Thanks for reading,