Who doesn’t like a holiday? But the costs of a vacation, especially foreign ones, can make the whole process prohibitive. There are so many different factors to consider – the month of travel, the cities to visit, the hotels to stay in, any event you’re timing your vacation with – that can make it difficult for you to score good deals. But if you plan smart, and a little in advance, you can get plenty of bang for your buck.
Book in Advance, But Don’t Discount Last-Minute Deals
The ideal time to book a vacation is a few months in advance. This is also when you get the best airline and hotel price deals. However, this is not always possible. I’ve realised that if you can’t book in advance, you should book last minute to get the best deals. Very often, airlines offer massive discounts for travel within the next couple of days, as they’d rather have a full flight than seats going empty. This is when you must take advantage of falling prices.
Register on Ticket Booking Sites Like Skyscanner
Use a travel aggregator such as Skyscanner, which will not only give you a comparison of prices from popular travel and official airline sites across the internet, but will also tell you when fares are likely to drop and which places in the world are offering great deals at the current moment.
Look Out for Low-Cost Airlines and Other Travel Options
If you’re planning to travel further inland into islands, ports or smaller cities, low-cost airlines such as Air Asia, EasyJet and Ryan Air will offer much better deals than international carriers. And if you’re flexible with your travel options, then you can even find trains, boats or buses to get to these places from major cities, which will turn out to be much cheaper than international flights.
Google Flights is God
If there was ever a single website to visit to book your flights and plan your holiday, Google Flights would be it. Not only does it give you the best deal based on your search, but it will also show you a calendar with the different fares available through that month and the next, so you can actually choose your dates according to the cheapest fares. Want to wait a little to see if you can get a better fare? Sign up on their “Track Prices” option. Google Flights will also send you updates when prices are about to go up.
Look Out for Lean Periods
Luckily for us, our seasons (as well as preferences) are different from the West. So, while their peak travel months are July to August (when it’s summer in Europe and the US), it doesn’t matter as much to us. We prefer to travel when the weather isn’t too hot and when the prices are comparatively lower. In Europe and the US, autumn and spring tend to have lovely weather and are not too crowded or expensive.
Check Out the Promotions or Offers Sections on Hotel Websites
When I travel, I make it a point to check out the top 10 hotels available in the city. Once I’ve identified them, I go to each website and look under the Promotions or Offers tab for the deals they’re offering. If you look sufficiently in advance, you may even end up saving up to 60 percent of the nightly rate by booking beforehand or taking up a two- or three-night package.
Online Hotel Sites
With the vast competition, hotels are compelled to slash their rates as people are not ready to pay exorbitant prices for luxury hotels. This is why websites like booking.com and hotels.com come in handy. They often offer great deals, along with some extra freebies, if you book through them. Besides, you don’t always have to pay the money in advance; instead, you can choose the option of paying at the hotel – so even if your trip is cancelled you don’t lose out on any money.
Travel on New Year’s
If you’re not the type to give much importance to New Year’s, you can save heaps of money by travelling on 31st December. This is the time when flights run empty and so are available at much cheaper rates than otherwise. If you, like me, don’t mind celebrating the new year on a flight, this might be a good option for you.
With the advent of Airbnb, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on hotels to travel to a place. With people’s houses and holiday homes on offer, you can actually get better value by booking through this. Besides, if your host is a local (which is true in most cases), you can get a lot of insider tips in your city of visit.
Like this article? Also read: Enjoy the Springtime at These Destinations Across India
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