A cheap holiday is just what a lot of people need to feel refreshed and de-stressed. But, some Brits are using budget flights as a catapult for some incredible days out – whether that's spending £25 to rave in Ibiza for 24 hours or heading on a girls day out before getting home for the school run.
Rather than heading abroad for a weekend, Laura Oduntan, 37, and her pals – Jade Bassett, 33, Remi Pedro, 37, and Agnes Adekunle, 38 – decided to upgrade their regular Nando's meet-up and treat themselves to a spa day. They ended up spending just £102 on an 18-hour spa trip to Milan before going home to their families.
Laura, a mum-of-two little ones – aged three and six – had spotted the QC Terme spa in Milan, Italy, on TikTok and was sorely tempted by the unusual attraction which is surrounded by ancient walls and filled with unusual rooms like a storm room, salt rooms and other fun additions. So she suggested it to her pals.
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After getting the thumbs up from their partners, the mums flew via easyJet from Gatwick Airport, in Crawley, West Sussex, at 6.20am on £62 return flights and landed at Milan Malpensa Airport by 9am. The four women hopped on the train into Milan for lunch, before relaxing in the spa for three hours.
They then got to enjoy a delicious dinner and Aperol cocktails at a rooftop restaurant – something you simply have to do when in Italy before taking their time to get back to the airport for 10pm. Laura arrived home at midnight and got a full night's sleep before waking up to take her daughter to school.
Laura, a social media manager and owner of the 5am mama, from Bromley, Greater London, said: "I thought let's upgrade our Nando's trip. It was a long tiring day but there was so much laughter and fun. The spa was just lovely. I still had to get up for the school run the next day."
The mums met at work seven years ago and ever since have been going for a Nandos each week ever since – they also had their children at the same time and so were on maternity leave together. However, Laura decided they should mix it up by heading a little bit further.
Laura saw a video of a spa in Milan on her TikTok and suggested the idea to Jade, who has a three-year-old, Remi, who is mum to two-year-old girl, and Agnes, who has three children – two, six and eight.
It seemed like the perfect getaway for the busy mums and was cheap compared to the £200 cost of a fancy spa in the UK. The Terme spa in Milan cost just £40 each which is pretty unheard of for a spa in Britain with indoor and outdoor pools, salt rooms, a cinema room and treatments.
Laura said: "When you’re a mum you don’t like the sound of leaving your baby overnight but it’s nice to do something as a group of friends. We booked the flights in May. We made sure our partners were on hand."
The friends arrived at Gatwick Airport for 3am and flew out at 6.20am. They then took a train into Milan city centre for €13 (£11.27) and found a café close to the spa for lunch – spending around €15 (£13) each on food. Laura said: "We found a nice little café and had salads."
The friends headed over to the spa at 12.30pm and stayed until 3pm relaxing in the different rooms and pools. Laura said: "There was a lot to do. There were different immersive rooms. You laid on a bed and it rained on you. There were nice smelling sauna rooms."
The mums walked to the Duomo di Milano before going for an early dinner at 4.30pm. They had pizzas and an Aperol spritz for €20 (£17.34) each at a rooftop restaurant. Laura said: "When in Italy."
They got back home late at night – at around 12am – and went to bed. Laura said: "I snuck in. I didn’t feel different to normal the next day. I’m up all night normally. I’m a tired mum."
The friends enjoyed their day trip so much they hope to make it a yearly celebration and go to a new country each year for a short trip. Laura said: "We said we would make it on an annual thing and try and go to different cities. See different cities but go for a day. Agnes had the revelation that she’d never been to Paris."
Laura hopes it inspires other mums to take a day for themselves. She said: "When a lot of mums meet up you have the kids with you. We should take that moment for ourselves. You’re not just a mum. You’re a person. Look after yourself as well as the kids."
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The mum's spa day trip
- 3am – arrive at the airport
- 6.20am – flight to Milan, Italy
- 9am – arrive in Milan and get the train to the city centre
- 11.30am – lunch at a local café
- 12.30pm – arrive at the QC Terme spa
- 3pm – leave the spa and walk to Duomo di Milano
- 4.30pm – early dinner at a rooftop restaurant
- 8pm – arrive back at the airport
- 10pm – flight back to Gatwick, London
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