From saving cash to not getting locked out, we’ve listed a few of our travel experiences in the hope it will make your holiday easier and more efficient
- Cancellations: Opt for hotel reservations that have a cancelation option. With these, you can usually cancel your stay up to 24 hours upon arrival and still get a full refund. Others might take a 10% charge.
- 24 hours: Choose hotels with a 24-hour reception desk. There’s nothing worse than doing a long-haul flight or coming off a delayed flight and you can’t get into your hotel. If you haven’t booked a 24-hour service, organise with the hotel key arrangements if you will be arriving late after operating hours.
- Hotel shuttle service: If you’re landing in the am in a remote place where there will be no taxi or bus services, ask if your hotel has a shuttle service. These can be more expensive, but they are great if you have safety concerns from getting to the airport to your hotel.
- Holiday off-peak: If you’re looking for a budget holiday, look into going away during the off-peak seasons, such as in the winter. Prices are greatly reduced and the number of tourists are way less. Equally, if using search engine sites, pick the ‘anytime’ option, which enables you to see the varying prices for the month.
- Save holiday days: If you want to save your holiday days, think about flying from work on a Friday and returning late on a Sunday evening. Not only do outbound flights tend to be cheaper on a Friday evening than on a Saturday morning, but you wake up refreshed in your hotel, ready to kick start the weekend in a new place.
- Go incognito: There is a theory that searching for flights repeatedly slowly notches the price up on that ticket as airlines and flight aggregators track behaviour. As such, many suggest using the incognito button to hide while you search.
To go incognito, open Chrome and at the top right, click More > New Incognito Window. A new window will appear. In the top corner, check for the Incognito icon. Using this mode to score cheaper flights has never worked for us, but that doesn’t mean to say it won’t work for you.
- Try ‘open jaw’ flights: This is when you fly from one city to another but return to the original departure city from a different place. For example, flying from London to Skopje – Tirana to London. Open jaw flights can be cheaper and you can compare prices on both legs of an open jaw flight for each airline.
Some search engines or airlines do not offer these flights, but if they do, it is commonly under the ‘multi-city’option.
- Take only hand luggage: No one likes to wait at an airport carousel for their luggage to arrive, so to save time, why not take only a medium backpack as hand luggage. Either put this is the luggage space overhead or put under your seat on the plane. By not having to wait at the carousel, it means you can get to the taxi queue quicker and then to your hotel faster.
- Shop around: Airline search engines don’t always show the cheapest flights. We have found that by searching the flight on the actual airline carrier’s website can sometimes save money. By booking directly with the airline instead of using a flight comparison sight has saved us £10 each is some instances and £25 each in others. Plus, look out for promo codes too that can reduce the price. This can be from 10% off sometimes.
- Be organised: Ultimately, the best way to save money on holidays is to book in advance. Set out a ‘holiday planner’ for the year ahead and budget accordingly. We’ve found that by booking hotels as soon as possible on sites such as booking.com keeps the cost down, as the earlier you book the cheaper it is. Also, by opting to pay at the hotel upon arrival, you can concentrate on saving up to pay for the flight, which has to be paid in one go and can create a dent in your bank balance!
- Always take screen shots: Wi-Fi can be shady in some places and if you need to tell a taxi driver your hotel details but can’t get your emails up, this can be a disaster. Therefore, remember to take screen shots of your hotel address to tell your driver and snap pictures of your hotel booking reference code. This makes it much easier for hotel reception to find your booking once you arrive.
This is the same for airline tickets. If you download your ticket but then can’t access it because the airport doesn’t have free Wi-Fi, then you could have issues. By taking a screen shot of your ticket after it’s downloaded (particularly the bar code), you should be able to get though the security barriers.
- Use a budget airline: Don’t be deterred by budget airlines’ reputation. They’re just as safe as other carriers and they still have to follow the same regulations. Ok, so the seats might be smaller and you probably won’t get a free drink, but if you think of a budget airline as a bus – getting you from point A to point B – then they’re will not be any nasty surprises. Budget airlines can offer cheaper flights as they include luxuries, such as TV screens or reclining chairs.
Some budget airlines, like Ryanair, offer cheaper flights due to landing is different airports and not the main airport, so consider this if you want to keep the price down. Be warned though: budget airlines can be super strict about luggage allowances and if you’ve opted to take on hand luggage so you don’t have to pay – make sure you stick to the size and weight requirements. Always check the baggage allowance.