In this technology era, there are so many gadgets/apps/websites to help us save money when we want to travel! For me, I will try to save the last dollar if I can before booking a flight or hotel. These are the 2 main concern that will burn a hole in my pocket. When I said “saving to the last dollar”, it does not mean that I am comparing between a budget airline with an international airline for example. As the picture on the left shows, everyone has a different budget to travel, some people will prefer an international airline due to its comfort, safety, etc even though they have to pay more. My hacks covered how I managed to save that dollar even with same flight or hotel.
I will cover the basic hacks here on how to save money when you book your flight or hotel. Most people would know these basic tips and if you are already a pro, just skim through the headings to see whether you have missed out any and go to my advance hacks on how to save money when booking flight or hotel. I am sure you would not know some of my advance tips. For enthusiastic noob travelers, read on..
1. Be flexible with your travel dates and time
Air ticket or hotel prices vary depending on the day of the week and time of the year. Though it is true that tuesday/wednesday are marked as cheaper travel dates, remember to check through the week on which day of the week is the cheapest to fly. After checking the flight, many people would forget to check the hotel prices against the flight dates. Taking a 4D3N vacation for example, the total amount for flight+hotel from Tuesday to friday might not be cheaper than the total amount for flight+hotel from Sunday to Wednesday. This also apply to the timing of the flight as flight rates are cheaper on certain time of the day.
2. Travel in low season
Fly when no one is flying! I know.. its simple yet difficult due to commitment like children, work, etc! However it is still the fact that low season flight ticket and hotel rate are much cheaper as compared to peak season like school or major holidays! One great hack here is, every country have different major holidays. In your country, if the major holidays falls within the period of travel, be sure to check whether the country travelling to has the same holiday! As the flight ticket and hotel may not be season-priced if the country travelling to is on low season. In contrary, if there are no major holidays in your country within the period of travel, be sure to check on the country travelling to! Not only the rate are more expensive, there might be a chance to travel to a ghost town where all the shops are closed due to their major holidays!
3. Budget vs International airlines
Throw away the thinking that budget will always be cheaper than International flights! Always add up all the additional, like luggages, food, drinks, choosing seats, etc! All of these cost money in Budget flights! Sometimes the International flights might be cheaper during promotion so be sure to compare them! Which bring to my next point.
4. Join your Airline mailing list
Sign up for your airline mailing list and get updates on special or last minute deals! If you hate spam, just choose 2 local airlines from your country, one International and one Budget airline. If you do not mind spam, sign up as many as you can so that you can received up-to-date super cheap deals to travel.
5. Search as many flight/hotel search websites
Do not believe the TV advertisement on them searching for all the best websites! Not all search engines are offering the same price! Search engine A may have AirAsia with price $120 but Search engine B may have the same flight with price $118! But wait! Do not be so fast to jump the gun and click “buy”! Read my advance hacks on how to save money when booking flight or hotel where there are additional steps to save that dollar! Not all search engines will have every airlines listed too! This is true as Search engine A may have only 10 airlines listed for your search, but Search engine B may have 12 airlines listed for the same search! This works the same for both flight and hotel search engines.
6. Search engine – booking.com
Another way to save money is by clicking on my link to booking.com and instantly receive a 10% cash reward when you book with them. This search engine provide one of the better hotel rates and if you are their Genius member, you can get special hotel prices and their currency exchange rate is one of the better ones.
7. Direct vs Non-direct flights
Time is money! I agreed but if time is available, then try clicking the “1-stop” or “2-stop” tick box in the search engines to compare price against direct flights. There are chances to save more by choosing a 1-stop or 2-stop flight. This bring to my next point.
8. Land at different airport
In the country travelling to, for example Bangkok has more than one airport, compare the price difference between arriving at the 2 different airports. More often than not, quite a fair sum of money can be saved for the price difference.
9. Book early, but not too early
Always book early? This might or might not be true. As a reference, for low season booking 6-8 weeks before is the best bet. As for peak season, booking 3-4 months before will be ideal. Do read my advance hacks on how to save money when booking flight or hotel to save that dollar for not booking early too.
10. Weigh your luggage before you reach the airport
This is a step in which many forget, additional luggage weight cost money! Though departure to destination is pretty safe, always weigh the luggage before it is too late. The return trip is always the killer! Some hotel do provide weighing services so be sure to ask. If the luggage is overweight, share the load with your travel mates. If travelling alone, always bring a foldable carry bag for emergency usage to dump some of the heavier items into it and bring on board the plane. However do remember to avoid the no-liquid / forbidden stuff restriction.
11. Private Apartment vs hotel
If you are still living in the era of “hotel are always the higher end accomodation”, then welcome to the New travelling world! Search engines for example AirBnB have penetrated and transformed the experience of accommodation! Cheaper and yet affordable rooms are available and the apartment can be as rewarding as staying in a hotel. From warm house atmosphere to attractive special themed house, many options can be found as compared to a hotel room. Do check out this option before you decide on that hotel.
12. Get a travel insurance
This cost money but basic travel insurance are not really that expensive. Imagine if something happen (touch wood), for example long delay flights or missing luggage, it will be compensated from the travel company. For frequent travelers, it will be cheaper to buy an annual program.
13. Get a reward program
Last but not least is getting rewarded for travelling. Many programs like the Kris flyer points will let you fly for free. Also check out local banks on the credit card that will gain points when you travel. Many hotel chains now also gives out loyalty points for each stay. Some hotel chain membership card can also collect points for shopping in the mall chains listed in their program. In turn, these loyalty points can be used to offset your next stay! So be sure to check with the hotel on their loyalty program.
Its a long list! These hacks are definitely worth exploring as the amount saved might actually be able for you to go for another trip!