The internet may have made it faster and easier to book travel, but that doesn’t mean you should snap up the first offer you see. Prices can vary depending on when and how you book, and sometimes the cheapest option may not be the best for you. What do smart travellers do differently?
There’s nothing worse than the buyer’s remorse that comes from booking something only to discover that the price has dropped the next day. But what smart travellers know is that it doesn’t have to be the end of it - call the hotel or airline and they will sometimes offer to match the price or throw in a free meal. And if they won’t, check if there are any cancellation fees. If not, simply cancel then rebook at the lower price.
Travel sites certainly make life easier and very often save you money, but sometimes airlines and hotels save the best deals for themselves. If you have your eye on something on a third-party booking website, take a few seconds to check the price on the actual hotel or airline’s site. You never know, you just might stumble across a bargain.
This is especially important during busy periods like school holidays: hotels and airlines will raise prices to meet demand, so booking several months ahead is a good idea to avoid last minute surprises.
You can sometimes get great bargains a couple of days before you travel as retailers look to cut their losses on empty planes and rooms. In fact, last minute deals tend to be the most generous but before you rely on them, be warned: there’s no guarantee you’ll even be able to make a reservation, never mind save money. This option is better suited to travellers who can be flexible with their itinerary.
Cheap tickets are great but try to change them and you’ll realise they sometimes come with a price in the form of amendment/cancellation charges. Read the terms and conditions carefully before you book and weigh your options: if you’re likely to need to change the booking, then it may work out cheaper to get a more expensive ticket that gives you some flexibility.
Here’s something even some of the most seasoned frequent fliers may not be familiar with: the air pass. They’re often not well publicised and some airlines may not offer them online, but an air pass allows you to travel to multiple destinations in a region at a discounted rate, often (though not always) changing your itinerary and booking flights at short notice. An air pass is a great way to save money off flag carriers’ fares, but don’t forget to check prices against budget carriers which may still work out cheaper.
Smart travelers stay protected so that their travels remain cheap!