A couple of months ago we decided we really needed a holiday. We’d been thinking fo holding off in the hope we could afford a big American trip again in 2020. But as the months stretched on with nothing to look forward to, we knew we needed to get something booked.
Our budget had to be small for this one. A year of weddings, big birthdays and overseas stag and hen do’s had seriously tapped into our spare cash, and we only had a budget of around £1000 for both of us.
We looked at a few options – including Disneyland Paris and a week in the sun – but were struggling to find anything to fit our budget. That is until we started to DIY and came up with a trip we’re both over the moon to be taking. A European theme park trip that came in under budget at £914.50 for us both.
So without further ado, here’s how we booked a six-night European theme park trip for under £460 per person.
European theme park trip – the parks
When we started investigating a European theme park break, we knew it had to include Phantasialand. As the one park on our 2019 theme park bucket list we thought was unachievable, it was the best possible starting place for us.
With Germany chosen as one of our destinations, it was time to choose the other parks we wanted to visit. We entered Phantasialand in Coast2Coaster and wrote down a list of our other desired parks in the surrounding area.
Top Tip: Coast2Coaster is a simple online tool. All you need to do is input your postcode and it shows you where the nearest parks are, and how many coasters are in them.
However, as the dates we’d chosen were at the end of September, we were limited to the parks that are open during the week. I was really keen to do Movie Park Germany but alas, it wasn’t meant to be.
Top tip: the theme parks in Germany are often closed during the week at the end of September so keep this in mind if you want to book a trip at this time of year.
In the end we decided our final desired list was: Phantasialand, Toverland and Efteling.
Theme park ticket costs:
Phantasialand (2-day ticket) – £76.50 each (at current exchange rate) booked through the Phantasialand website
Toverland (1-day ticket) – £28 each (at current exchange rate) booked through the Toverland website with a few Euro’s off for advanced booking
Efteling (1-day ticket) – £33 each (at current exchange rate) for a low season ticket booked through the Efteling website
Ticket total: £137.50 each
And yes, only one of them is in Germany, which takes us to the next part of planning our trip…
European theme park trip – the accommodation
With three theme parks in three different countries, we knew we needed to stay somewhere central.
We priced a lot of different options up, including hotels in each area. In the end we took some inspiration from Shawn Sanbrooke of YouTube channel Theme Park Worldwide by booking a caravan park near the Holland/Germany boarder.
The park is called Oostappen Vakantiepark De Berckt and has pretty much everything we need. It’s only about 20 minutes from Toverland and under two hours from everywhere else.
It comes with a working kitchen and bedding, as well as all the utensils you need to cook for the duration of your stay.
As I said before, we were really keen to do this on a budget so this felt like a decent compromise.
At first our plan was to stick strictly to this accommodation. However after reviewing the number of miles we’d need to drive to Phantasialand two days on the trot, we decided to add a night at one of their on-site hotels.
Depending on when you stay, the prices for both Hotel Matamba and Hotel Ling Bao are eye-watering. Just one night in Hotel Matamba was Over £200 for the date we were pricing up – much too expensive.
In the end we managed to get a night in a ‘comfort’ room at the Hotel Ling Bob for £140 for the two of us. Thank you to Phantasialand for having a 30% off sale or there’s no way we could have justified staying onsite.
The hotel looks absolutely gorgeous and as the price includes breakfast and parking, we didn’t think was too bad at all. It’ll be nice to be in the bubble of the full Phantasialand experience. We’re actually celebrating our anniversary during this trip so this will be the perfect way to toast two years of marriage.
Top tip: On selected days during the year (including our dates) you get extra evening ride time on Taron and Raik if you stay in a Phantasialand hotel – which makes the price tag feel a little bit better value!
4 nights at Oostappen Vakantiepark De Berckt – £74 each
1-night at Hotel Ling Bao, Phantasialand – £70 each
Total accommodation costs: £144 each
European theme park trip – the transport
The last piece of the puzzle was how we were going to get there. We priced up a couple of options; flying and hiring a car, and taking our own car and going on the ferry.
As we live in Yorkshire, getting a P&O ferry from Hull to Zebrugge wasn’t out of the question. Carl has been to Bruges via ferry before and thought it would be an interesting experience for us both. You also travel overnight which would add a couple of days onto our trip and give us the opportunity to spend a day in Bruges.
In the end our decision was really made based on flights. We really struggled to find times to suit our schedule. Most didn’t arrive until the evening and left early in the morning – not great when you want to maximise your days.
The ferry arrives before 9am and doesn’t leave until 8pm which gives us two full days either end of our trip.
In terms of price, the ferry + taking our own car was also cheaper than flying and hiring one – especially with breakdown cover and decent insurance.
So our minds were made up, we were getting on a ferry!
Top tip: the ferry is much cheaper if you book a 4-night break. We were keen to extend ours to five but it added over £100 extra onto the ferry cost.
Return ferry from Hull to Zebrugge including European breakdown cover – £172.25 each
So that’s it. How we booked a 6-night European theme park trip for exactly £453.75 each.
We’re super excited to get on the road and can’t wait to share all of it here on the blog.
Have you ever been to any of these parks? What did you think?