London to Paris for two for £20… £300 to get home

When I felt richer

When I felt richer

Last weekend, I learnt a very important financial lesson: time really is money.

Let me start from the beginning, when times were much happier (and I was richer), with the main pic (right) to prove it.

Being the romantic MoneySaver I am, when Megabus announced it was offering journeys to Paris from £1, I jumped at the chance and booked a cheap weekend in The City of Love for me and the boyfriend. Our first little break away together – ahhhhh.

Although the weekend’s weather forecast was somewhat soggy, nothing could dampen my spirits – not even a 10-hour coach journey (though the BF, who has longer legs and suffers from travel sickness, was less enthusiastic).

I’ve done the Megabus a couple of times before, travelling overnight from Edinburgh to London. Granted, a little uncomfortable and a lot slower than the train or plane, but for the price you’re paying, bearable.

For £22.50 return, for both of us, it really couldn’t be beaten. That’s what we should have paid, including all fees. I’ll get onto why I paid much more in a bit.

Friday 27 April, 8.30pm

I arrived at Victoria coach station in London armed with my iPad full of games, films and music to keep us amused, as well as sweets and drinks.

For the first couple of hours of our epic journey, we sat happily chatting, playing chess and eating Skittles.

Crossing the Channel, people were sleeping on the floor for the lack of chairs.

Two hours and one manky ham and mayo sandwich later, we were back on the bus. Another 30 mins and I was asleep on the BF’s lap. Cue an irritable, tired BF on Saturday morning…

Saturday 28 April, 11am

PS. The smiles are fake. We were both tired and grumpy at this stage.

Sunday 29 April, 8.30am (or so we thought)

Time to travel home. Our watches showed 8.30am, so we had plenty of time to check out of our hotel and make our way to the Porte Maillot coach park.

Our coach was departing at 10.45am, but we decided we wanted to be first in line at 10am. We were eyeing up the front two seats directly behind the driver, as these had a lot more legroom than any of the others.

The conversation with the Megabus man that ensued when we reached the coach park was as follows:

Megabus man: Can I help you?
Me: We’re looking for the Megabus to London…
Megabus man: …you’ve missed it, love.
Me: What, the 10.45?
Megabus man: Yeah, it’s just left.
Me: WHAT? Why?
Megabus man: Because it’s 11 o’clock.
BF: …Local time.
Me: Oh no, we didn’t change our clocks!
Megabus man: The next bus is at nine o’clock.

The moral of the story

Forgetting to change your clock when travelling abroad can be a costly mistake.

All the savings we’d made on our little trip by travelling on the mega-uncomfortable Megabus were all negated by having to pay €183 (£150) each to get home on the Eurostar. Yes, £300 all-in.

You live and learn, I guess.

Want to comment on my utter stupidity? Feel free to give me abuse in the comment section below or in the MSE Forum.