With so many booking websites, airliners and travel agents available, it can be extremely confusing and overwhelming organising a vacation. These tips will help you break through the confusion and help you save money when booking your holiday.
I absolutely love helping people with their dream holidays. There is a misconception that travel, especially abroad is very expensive. Living in Australia has made flights naturally more expensive than living in the US or Europe. However there is still plenty in your control that can significantly decrease the price of the trip. Here are 5 key tips that I use on all my trips that will help you save money when booking your holiday.
Also read: Are Travel Agents a Waste of Money?
I am a meticulous planner. Researching every travel website and airline to find the best deals. Taking the time to plan and research will save you hundreds of dollars over the course of your holiday. But you have to put in the work. If you do the hard yards you will reap the benefits.
Spreadsheets are your friend. Google offers a free spreadsheet program called Sheets which is fantastic for tracking costs and deals in your research. Files are saved on your Google Drive which allows access from any device.
When researching it is important to track every price from all the available booking websites. Don’t forget to check airlines and hotel websites directly, as sometimes the prices aren’t accurately reflected on the booking sites. Often I have found a cheaper price directly. A lot of the time hotels will prefer bookings direct so it is also worth contacting them directly as they will often beat the online prices.
Carefully look at hotel locations when booking. The cheapest hotels don’t necessarily save you money. Hotels may be located in poor locations, which results in higher transportation costs. Utilise Google Maps to check hotel locations compared to sights, attractions and transportation.
Consider this, if you save $10 a day on a hotel but have to spend an extra $20 in public transport to get to where you want to go you haven’t saved any money. Location is very important and this comes back to research and planning.
When do you want to travel? If you are flexible, travelling during off peak season will save you a lot of money on your trip. Look for sales fares with airlines and organise your travel around those dates. Most of the time, the off peak seasons are going to be in the winter time. Being from Australia where it is hot everyday of the year, I really enjoy the cold so it is a win win for me!
This comes back to the research point, by using your spreadsheet and looking at flights at different times, you will be able to save a lot of money. Plan your holiday several months in advance, which will give you the ability to scope different travel times and adjust your plans accordingly.
4. Package Deals
Consider looking at package deals to save money. Websites like Expedia are great to bundle your holiday and receive a discount. Utilising this method also allows you to track and book your travel on one website and pull up itineraries easily.
I have made a video on booking package deals and how much it can save you, view it here:
5. Minimise Hidden Costs
The travel business can be very cut throat. Everyone is out to get your dollar and will do anything to get it. A lot of times there are hidden costs, disguised in a low price designed to get your attention.
Be wary of hidden fees and taxes added to your travel, and ensure you are checking total prices before booking. Baggage, Wifi and seat bookings are common fees airlines like to slug on their customers. Once you get to your destination, be on the lookout for room upgrade costs, resort fees and airport transfer costs. Being planned and well versed on your holiday is the best way to minimise these costs. Not being organised can cost you a small fortune very quickly.
Got a great tip for saving money on travel? Let us know in the comments below!