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. My tips will cover how I can save that dollar even with the same flight or hotel.
I covered the basic hacks on how to save money when booking flight or hotel on my previous post. Most people would knew these basic tips but do check through my tips to ensure you have them all covered! If you are already a pro, let’s go through these advance hacks on how to save money when booking flight or hotel. I am sure you would not know some of my advance hacks. For enthusiastic noob travelers, please read my previous post first so as not to get confused.
1. Search engines for flight tickets (advance)
If you have read my basic hacks on how to save money when booking flight or hotel, just to recap, I mentioned that not all search engines offer the same price for air tickets! Search engine A may have AirAsia with price $120 but Search engine B may have the same flight with price $118! However, do not be so fast to click “buy” for the cheapest rate! Click the “select” or “view deal” button (every search engine will have different button) on the same flight/time for all the search engines that you have searched until the page where the confirmed price is shown in details. Then do another price comparison for the all the search engines again. Sometimes the third party booking company will tax you for the air tickets. The hack here is not all search engines will tax you, so by doing this additional step, you will save the tax charge! That is not all! If happened that all search engines that you searched does have the tax charge, do this additional step: For example the flight/time that you have decided is with Thai Airways, go directly to their website instead to check out their price for the same flight/time. Most of the time, the direct airline will not have a tax charge for their tickets.
2. Search engines for hotels (advance)
Just like the flight tickets hack above, not all search engines for hotels are offering the same price! What you want to look out for in hotel searches is not the tax hack. After you determined the hotel/duration, you will be viewing the price in your local currency rate. Do the same additional step of clicking the “select” button for all the search engines again until the page where the confirmed price is shown in details. There are two options here. Some search engines will charge you immediately in your local currency, while some will charge you in the foreign currency of that country to be paid when you reach the hotel. Compare the cheaper rate between paying in local or foreign currency (do not check online for currency conversion rate, call your local money exchange). That is not all! If happened that all search engines that you searched are charging in foreign currency, do this additional step: make sure that you are comparing the prices in foreign currency between the search engines and not your local currency! It is because the currency conversion rates for all search engines are different! Search engine A may charge $100 in your local currency and after converting to the foreign currency, the price is $2000. Search engine B may charge $105 in your local currency and after converting, the price is $1900. For the additional hack to check the price directly from the hotel website, I did it before but the prices are always higher on the direct hotel website as compared to search engines. (if you happened to search a lower price on the direct hotel website, do inform me so I can update this hack too)
3. 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 upgraded to Genius member, you can get special hotel prices and their currency exchange rate is one of the better ones.
4. Search air ticket prices as a single traveler
Common practice for finding air tickets on search website when travelling as a couple/family is to include the “number of travelers”. The airlines searched will show the highest ticket price in a group of tickets. For example on search for 2 travelers, the airline system will find two seats together and show the fare based on the highest ticket price. So if seat A is $200 and seat B is $250, the system will priced the tickets as $250 each instead of adding up the individual ticket prices. Therefore, always search for air tickets as a single traveler to compare the price difference. After that in the checkout process, pick the seats to sit together or request when at the airport departure counter.
5. Search online for promo codes
Ever wonder why there is always a “promo codes” column whenever searching for air tickets or hotel? These codes can only be redeemed if book directly on the airlines/hotels’ website. After searching for the best price ticket/hotel, try doing a browser search for “airline name + promo code” or “hotel name + promo code” and sometimes these promo codes will appear. Then fly to the airline/hotel website to check out their price with the promo code.
6. Look for air tickets in different currency
This hack does not always work, but it is worth a try when searching. If your country’s currency is doing well as compared to the country that you are travelling to, search air tickets on that country where the currency is weaker. For example, the SGD dollar is stronger as compared to THB dollar, try search the THB version of the airline, then convert to SGD to see which is cheaper. It’s the same airline, same flight, and same timing but just booked in a different currency. Another tip here is to always use a no-foreign-transaction-fee credit card to avoid paying a fee.
7. Buying late for cheap flights
If you have read my basic hacks on how to save money when booking flight or hotel, one of the hacks is buying early for cheap tickets. However, buying tickets late can also be quite useful. This only apply to very flexible traveler who can fly anytime. The fact is airlines will frequently offer last-minute seats at super discounted prices just to fill up the empty seats. You may even be able to receive email updates when such openings occur. That is why it is important to subscribe to the airlines mailing list so as to get notified for these offers.
8. Test the 24 hours rule
Remember to do this every time after booking your flight. Check the price on the next day (within 24 hours) to see if the flight rate dropped. Sometimes you might have just missed the promotion by one day! If it did, give the airline a call to cancel the flight if the promotion is for the same flight timing and often re-booking will not incur a penalty or just a small admin fee. If the timing is different, then try to inform the flight company that an error booking was made and you wish to change the timing. Weigh the difference between the small admin fee and the price difference of the promotion to decide whether to re-book.
These hacks are for the pro travelers to explore and it is definitely worth doing these as the amount saved might actually be able to go for another trip!