Planning a vacation may not be a frequent holiday experience for most. When you have saved up enough to finally travel outside of your city, you can find some amazing travel deals out there. Why pay full price when you can still have an incredible getaway and at a fraction of the original cost? From accommodation to sightseeing tours, we look at the best travel deals your money can buy.[BUTTONS1]
If you are planning a flight abroad, why not save on a good airline deal? Many third party sites offer regular promotions on its return flights. You could travel to anywhere in the world for a week stay or more while saving on the costs with the purchase of a travel package. You can also save by looking at small airlines or looking at connecting flights.[BUTTONS2]
You can find many hotel deals depending on the season. Peak season will naturally charge higher rates per night. If you plan on staying for a couple of weeks, you may be able to negotiate your nightly rates.
Research the various vacation deals available through reputable travel websites. Many of these services are geared toward student, family or senior travel. Based on your requirements, you may be able to find more valuable prices from your flights to your tours.
Look for memberships. There are many hotels that will offer a reduction in rates when you are part of a particular membership or club. Sign up for flight points. You may be able to use these on your next travel arrangement.
Take advantage of one-way flights heading west
Avoid one-way flights when flying east from the UK but grab them when travelling west. The way the airline industry is developing means there are a lot of airlines – like Thomas Cook and Norwegian – offering budget long-haul flights. The routes these airlines have started flying are mainly between Europe and North America.
While most airlines put a heavy surcharge on one-way tickets (often charging 80% of or sometimes the same price as a return), airlines such as Norwegian offer one-way tickets for roughly half the price of a return. This affects other airline’s prices, such as TAP Portugal and KLM, too. This means for trips to the US, particularly those when you might not know the exact date, or airport of your return, it makes sense to book a one-way ticket there, and another one back.
Flying east, however, there are few routes that allow you to fly one-way at a decent fare. So you should book a return flight; and if it’s multi-city, book it all at once.
Don’t assume flight aggregators offer the best prices
Some think that aggregators such as Skyscanner or Kayak always lead to an online travel agent (OTA) with the cheapest flight price. But while they can help with some airlines, others are better booked directly. These include low-cost carriers such as Norwegian, and charter airlines such as Thomas Cook. Anything but a standard full-service international carrier will often have cheaper prices if you book through the airline itself.
Always check, and be discerning. Sometimes OTAs won’t include all of their fees upfront. Also, if you think you might need to change or cancel your flight, it’s better to book through the airline as aggregators add cancelation fees. Only book with an OTA if you are certain of your flight dates – and only if you’re getting a significantly lower fare. For example, on long-haul KLM flights there is only £15-£20 off if booked with an aggregator. With BA, aggregators could offer a discount of up to £60 on a long-haul economy ticket – a more significant saving. And most short-haul European flights are best booked directly with the airline as the price is often roughly the same.
Look out for flash sales
Getting a cheap flight is really about timing. Prices fluctuate heavily and often on all routes. Booking a flight today from London to Bali could cost £600, but tomorrow it could be £300 on the same airline. These unannounced sales – when an airline suddenly drops its prices – are triggered because airlines release tickets 11 months in advance and predict what percentage of tickets will be sold as time moves on. For example, after five months they may expect to have sold 30% of the tickets but if sales are not as high as anticipated, it will announce a flash sale. Prices will plummet (by up to 60% on occasions) for a few days until demand catches up.
This varies from airline to airline: during Christmas and January last year, Qatar Airlines were selling flights to Bali and Thailand for around £300; and a few months ago, Singapore Airlines launched routes from Manchester to Houston for as little as £200 return.
Don’t look blindly to spot these sales. Track fares to your destination(s) using tools such as Google Flights, then book the moment you see a significant price drop.
Planning a holiday can be an expensive venture but with the appropriate research and investigation into the necessary flight plans, you can save on transport and find the most affordable deals. Your holiday should be a spectacular one even on a budget.