Dreaming of a holiday? Here are the experts’ tips on nabbing bargain flights and hotels.
1. Be flexible
Cheapest airfares are usually found on flights departing Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, so try and be flexible on when you fly.
2. Compare all airlines
Most airfare comparison sites do not include airfares from small airlines especially in Europe and the US. Go to Google Maps and look at your destination – you’ll see all nearby airports. Then just go to that airport website and you’ll find all the airlines that serve that airport. You may find serious bargains. For example a recent search for flights to Florence did not yield any bargains, but nearby Pisa airport had more budget options and it’s only 1 hour away.
3. Get on the list
Sign up with every airline you’re considering flying to be on their mailing list. You’ll be the first to hear about any sales and exclusive offers. A recent sales alert from Virgin Atlantic had fares to New York at half the price of regular fares, a price that travel booking sites weren’t privy too.
4. Save on accommodation
New sites like AirBnB.com and VRBO.com have sprung up and become extremely popular alternatives for accommodation. You can chose to stay in someone’s room or their whole apartment/house, for a fraction of the price of hotels. Apart from feeling like a local, you’re not paying hotel taxes, and can often negotiate an even better rate for stays of a week or more.
5. Do your research
For years travel booking sites like Expedia always had the cheapest packages, but now hotels and airlines are raising their game and sometimes offering even better prices. For example, a recent holiday to Hawaii came in at $300 cheaper by booking the same package directly with the airline. Make sure you get at least three quotes: one from the airline, one from the hotel and one from a travel booking site like Expedia.
What’s your best tip for nabbing a travel bargain?