I spent 2 years booking people’s trips while working as a travel agent in Australia.
Which means that I know all the ins-and-outs of getting good deals on travel. Here are 5 tips on how to bag the best deal for your trip!
1. Choose your destination and do your research
Make a shortlist of destinations. There are a number of points you should consider when making your choice, such as the approximate costs to get there, the weather in the time of year you plan to visit, and the travel time it will take.
Look up tourism websites and forums to find out how much there is to do and how long to spend in your destination of choice. There’s no point booking two weeks somewhere only to find out that 5 days is plenty, your time would be better spent exploring a different island or sightseeing in another area.
2. Subscribe to email newsletters
Find out which airlines fly to your destination (a simple web search on kayak.com will do) and subscribe to the airlines’ email newsletters. There is no way to know when specials will become available, so this way you’ll be notified as soon as they come up. This step is also applicable to tour and cruise companies. The earlier you do this the better, as early bird fares and discounts are often the cheapest you will get.
3. Be flexible and ready to book at any time
Those specials might come up for slightly different dates than you were hoping, so keep your travel dates flexible if you can. Avoid school holiday breaks (for both your current location and your destination) as prices will be higher. Specials are often released for a limited amount of time, so if something that suits you comes up, jump on it!
4. Use travel agents or search engines, but always check the supplier’s website
Travel agents or search engine websites are the best way to find out what flights are available and what hotels are in your price range. But be careful – travel agents may not always have the best deal, and some websites add extra booking fees and credit card fees on to your purchase.
Once you find a flight or hotel, ALWAYS check the airline or hotel’s website to compare the price. You’ll often find booking through the supplier is the cheapest option. If you do find it cheaper, book it direct or advise your travel agent of the price, as they are often willing to match it.
5. Triple check your booking before you purchase!
I cannot stress this point enough! I’ve heard so many stories from customers who accidentally selected July instead of June, or the name on the booking was different to the name on their passport (it may still be in your maiden name, which means you have to book it in that name). Once you click book on a non-refundable flight or hotel, you will have to pay change fees or forfeit the booking. Avoid these costs before they happen.
By the way – Get travel insurance
Yes, you do need travel insurance. Why? Because there’s the odd occasion when something happens and you will be out-of-pocket (family emergency, medical emergency, flight cancellations, etc). Believe me, you don’t want to be in one of those situations without insurance.
So there you have it, I will hear no excuses as to why you haven’t started using this process to plan you next trip. Get booking!