Cheap Travel Tips
Have A Travel Plan
Planning is the key to success when it comes to getting a budget holiday. There are many things that you can influence such as when you book, how you travel, whether you go package or build your own agenda. All of these things can have a significant impact on the price you pay. Above all, each of these things are within your control.
Knowing When To Book Can Get You A Cheap Deal
Most people know exactly when they are intending to take a vacation. This can be used to your advantage when it comes to planning.
Deciding on when to book is a bit of a gamble. While many tour operators will offer cheaper prices and early booking discounts, you may find that last minute deals are also available which will prove better financially.
There are many factors that you should take into account when deciding on when to book for maximum financial gain:
- Are you flexible in terms of dates that you are prepared to travel?
- Are you flexible in terms of destinations that you are prepared to travel to?
- Will you be buying a package deal or will you be building your own package?
- Are you considering a popular destination where many tour operators or flight companies travel?
Flexibility Is A Plus
Firstly, if you are flexible in terms of location and dates then you will almost certainly benefit from waiting until the last minute to book your holiday. Last minute deals are, of course, something that you cannot rely upon and if you are set on going to a certain destination at a certain date then last minute is far too risky. If you are planning on creating your own package then you need to be aware that you are taking multiple gambles. For example, you need to consider your airfare, hotels and transport. Whilst you may get an excellent last minute flight, you may not be so lucky when it comes to the hotel or car hire. In fact, you may find that paying a premium for other parts of your holiday will end up out-weighing any last minute savings you have made.
Cheap London Travels
Europe In Springtime
If you are looking to travel to Europe, this is the time to do it! Flights are a lot cheaper during the spring months when temperatures are still relatively low.
Mexican beaches and the Caribbean islands start to see their prices drop from mid April as the weather becomes hotter. However, during the spring months, the water and air temperatures are still pleasant and the resorts less crowded
Seasonal Travel Plans
During later spring, for example May, the traditionally hot and dry countries are not in their peak seasons but have not yet become intolerably hot. So if you want to visit Morocco, Jordan or Egypt, plan a spring vacation.
Finding a bargain in summer is tricky. Americans, Japanese and Europeans are all on the move and this is also the time of year that most weddings take place, so honeymoon destinations are in a great deal of demand.
During the early part of summer, through June and July, Caribbean destinations are still good to get a deal, provided you try to book before the Europeans start to flood in during their school holidays at the end of July.
Safari holidays are a good option between June and September. High season ends in May, but the weather is still relatively dry.
Flights and hotels are still quite reasonable in Southeast Asia during the summer months, but temperatures can be quite hot, so if you can't stand the heat, avoid this destination during the summer months.
HOTELS AT LAST MINUTE
For the brave, it is always worth calling the hotel that you want to stay at on the day that you intend to arrive, or possibly the day before. Hotels will often be prepared to offer substantial discounts on the day, as from their point of view an empty room is a complete waste of money. If you are feeling particularly bold it is even worth telling the hotel what you are prepared to pay and asking them if they have any rooms available.
This is a particularly effective way of going about getting a really good deal if you are traveling to a city that has several hotels, it is out of peak season and you are flexible in terms of facilities.
If you are not feeling quite so bold in terms of leaving it until the last minute, you can phone the hotel a few days in advance. Whilst you may not get the total bargains, you are still in a good position to negotiate, particularly if you are traveling out of season. If you are targeting a specific hotel, check out their cancellation policy. For example, if a specific hotel requires at least 3 days notice to not charge for a cancellation, then this is the point where they are most likely to receive the most cancellations. Hotels will then be eager to fill these spaces.
Travel Around The World
The Best For Less
Hotel Award Programs
Hotel chains are keen to ensure that they have loyal customers and as such the larger chains will almost always offer some incentive for repeat bookings. Always ask what incentives are available, particularly if you can't choose between two different hotels. If one offers a good ongoing program, this may sway your decision. Some of the more popular offerings include a free upgrade if you stay for 10 days over the course of a year, free nights, free wine in your room. Holiday Inn was the first hotel chain to begin to offer incentives and in the early days it was an impressive offer! After 75 days stay a traveller would get 2 airline tickets to Europe! Needless to say, this program was popular but soon had to be discontinued due to the amount it was costing the company. They do now have a very good awards program, just not quite as generous!
Luxury + Savings
Cheap Booking Deals
Money Saving Booking Tips
When you are booking with children it is really important to get to know what deals are available. Some companies offer children's prices right up to 16 years old, others start to charge full price at age 3. Depending on the age of your children, one company may prove substantially cheaper for the same holiday.
Consider your sleeping arrangements carefully. Some hotels will offer adjoining rooms, others will have family rooms that sleep children as well as adults. Most hotels will not allow young children in their own room, so bear this in mind when booking.
If you have more than two children you may find that an apartment offers better value for money and more usable space. A two or three bedroom cottage will often be a lot cheaper than two or three rooms in a hotel.
Use the children as a means of negotiation. For example, ask for a discount on their air fare or accommodation or ask for free entrance to an activity while you are booking
As well as the usual ways to get a bargain flight or holiday, it is also important to consider other money saving tips for when you are actually traveling. Money saving tips whilst you are away should not be overlooked, as they can save you a substantial amount of money in the long run.
Another issue that you should consider before booking is what potential specialist discounts you may be entitled to; for example, many agents offer discounts to students, seniors or individuals that are members of certain organizations may also be able to get better deals.
When it comes to student travel you may find that the discounts are available for anyone aged 26 or under, regardless of whether they are actually students. If you are a student or under 26 then contact the specialist student agents such as Student Universe, STA and Council Travel to find out what deals they have available.
Similarly there are specialist deals for seniors find out which of the airlines you are considering offer discounts for AARP members. If you are getting a senior rate you may find that your companion can also benefit from the same rate. Be sure to ask about these rates and any coupons or vouchers that are offered to senior travelers.
Have The Mindset of A Local Not A Tourist
SAVING MONEY WHEN YOU ARE AT YOUR DESTINATION
When traveling independently you will almost always do better in terms of price and quality if you veer away from the traditional places to eat and shops that the guide books mention. Going off the beaten track can mean you pick up a real bargain.
Follow the locals; if you head for a tourist orientated restaurant or shop you will find that the prices are substantially higher and often the food is not of the same quality.
Another good tip is to visit the local market where the locals shop. Not only will you get fresh products at good prices but you will also enjoy the experience of mixing with the locals. Ask those around you where to go, after all, it is the locals that are best placed to tell you where to go for a good deal!
A good way of working out whether a restaurant is geared towards tourists or locals is to see when it is at its busiest. Tourists tend to eat a lot earlier than the locals in most foreign countries. Any restaurant that is empty until around 9pm and then fills up is probably frequented by locals.
Car Rental Travel Tip 2
Tip 3 - Hidden Fees
Get The Best Deal
When it comes to rental cars the costs can vary widely and it really pays to shop around. Sometimes you will be offered good deals as part of your hotel stay or airfare, consider these as combination deals will also be a lot cheaper than you could get on your own. Booking car rental when you have reached your destination is normally cheaper than reserving in advance if you have not got a good combination deal. Make sure that you have suitable insurance, as any accident could make a huge dent in your holiday budget! There are good ways to save money, but insurance is not an area that you should scrimp on.
Always select the smallest car that is suitable for your needs, this will be cheaper and will cost less in gas. There is also a reasonable chance that you will be upgraded for free. If you are feeling bold, it is worth asking at the counter if there is any chance of a free upgrade, you never know your luck! If you are booking car hire from a distance, look at the costs of car hire from the airport as well as from the city that you are staying in.
Always fill up the gas before you get back to the car rental office. Car rental companies will charge well over the odds for any extra gas that they need to replace on your behalf so take the time to tank up before you get back if you do not want a large bill at the end.
When It Comes To Cheap Flights
Buying a last minute flight is actually quite tricky. Many charter airlines will deal primarily with packages and as such the flight-only option can actually end up costing more than a simple package.
All is not lost though! There are still plenty of ways to pick up a flight bargain. Bear in mind that if you are going for a do it yourself option on your holiday, it is wise to book the flight first, as this is likely to be the largest expenditure and there is generally less of a variety of carriers meaning less room for negotiation. Almost without exception finding a cheap hotel will be easier than finding a cheap flight.
Trawl the websites of those flight operators that cover the location which you wish to travel to. Join their mailing list. OK, so you may end up with endless junk mail, but you will also get to hear about all of the deals that they are currently offering.
As a general rule, the best deals are available for flights leaving Monday to Thursday and on domestic flights many bargains can be found on a Saturday. Travelers will almost invariably pay more for a Friday or Sunday flight. Most holiday operators will offer the best deals for those who purchase a set time in advance, normally at least 14 days. If it is possible to stay a Saturday night, this will also normally result in a lower fare.
When searching, if possible, entertain the possibility of a flight that involves a connection. Airlines often place a large premium on non-stop flights and if this is not vital for you, you are likely to be able to save many dollars.
A further premium is normally placed on ‘nice' flight times, i.e. ones that will not involve a particularly early start or involve traveling over night. Again if you are prepared to compromise slightly on your flight times, you may find that you can make huge savings.
Try not to stick rigidly to your destination. It may be possible to fly into a nearby airport and drive the last hour or so; this may offer you a better price overall.
Whenever you are considering buying a flight, it is always worth going to a consolidator such as Orbitz or Expedia. This will give you some excellent background information, such as the operators that offer the destination you are after and the typical prices. By doing your homework you will be able to act quickly when you see a bargain in the future. Very good deals often only appear for a very short period of time so it is important that you learn to recognize a good deal so that you can pounce on one-off deals before they disappear. When you are doing your homework, try a search with ‘flexible dates'. This will allow you to get a good feel for the price differences that are in operation during your ideal travel period.
A few other hints that can help you to bag a flight bargain is to consider air courier travel. To be able to become a courier you will have to be very flexible, prepared to travel alone with very little luggage, but on the plus side you will get to travel to new places very cheaply.
Some countries offer air passes to tourists that allow discounts if you are planning on spending a lot of time traveling around a particular region such as Australia or Europe.
If you book an airline ticket and then find that the price has gone down, contact the airline and ask for a refund. Many of the large airlines offer to pay back the difference if the prices go down. Read the small print and ask for the refund if it applies. Even if your chosen airline does not offer this sort of refund policy it is still worth asking as with increased competition airlines are very keen to keep customers happy.
Shop And Compare
- Orbitz Travel: Airline Tickets, Cheap Hotels, Car Rentals, Vacations & Cruises
Book cheap airline tickets, hotel reservations, car rentals, vacations and travel deals on Orbitz. Get our cheapest airfare and hotel deals or a cash refund with Orbitz Price Assurance.
- Cheap Flights, Hotels, and Rental Cars -- Discount Airfare | Priceline.com
Get deep discounts on flights, hotels, rental cars, vacations and cruises. Exclusive travel discounts you won't find anywhere else. Priceline.
More by this Author
I thought I would do another recipe hub, but do a receipe for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I have found that going meatless is not as hard as I thought it would be. Some substitions are good, but other taste pretty...
Do you really know the difference between a plasma, smart, and LED TV, if not this article will clear up your confusion.
© Adrienne Manson All rights reserved permission must be granted by the author before any part of this article can be reproduced. Links may be used to link back to the article. We’ve all had run-ins with...