Budget travel is becoming ever-easier than more apparent, but it is surprising how many people do not yet fully understand how to get cheap deals to go abroad.
There are, however, some things that can be done to make savings before any bookings are made, and here are five of them.
1. Be vigilant and research continuously
One way to know if you’re saving money is to do continuous research. Prices for flights and accommodation can vary dramatically from week-to-week, and it pays to know if you are actually making a saving, or not.
Really though, if you want to travel cheap then flights should be a priority. Certain routes are restricted to frequency, date and time, whereas there are usually plenty of options for accommodation all of the time.
Familiarise yourself with budget airlines’ route maps – especially the routes from your local airport(s) – and use fair finders on a regular basis so that a gauge on what’s cheap and what isn’t can be created.
It really does pay to do your research.
2. Be flexible
Going to my local airport, Manchester, to Barcelona on a Friday and returning on a Monday for a long weekend break will usually cost at least twice as much as it would if I went Sunday to Wednesday.
Being flexible and going at what would be considered an ‘off-peak’ time can often save money. So can staying an extra day longer than you intended. It may cost a similar amount when you add in spends, but you get compensated with an extra day away!
And if fitting it around work may prove to be a struggle, here’s how you can get a better work/travel balance.
3. Follow the right accounts on social media
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about Ryanair offering flights from £1 to destinations such as Dublin, Oslo and Stockholm – something I found out because of a tweet that the Irish airline posted on Twitter.
Then you have websites such as HolidayPirates, who find cheap holidays that can involve glitches and limited time offers for destinations all over the world. Sometimes there will be cheap flights and at other times there are package deals.
But following their accounts, and others like it, can help give you reminders and a constant feed of what offers there are to be had.
4. Sign up to accommodation websites
I’m not working on commission, I promise!
One thing you should do is sign up to accommodation websites, especially the big ones. Websites such as Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia and LateRooms often give signed-in customers ‘special’ prices that are slightly lower than the norm.
Plus they will use email to send out different deals such as discount codes and ‘special price events,’ and usually follow up your recent searches with suggestions for prospective destinations.
5. Do your own comparisons
Doing your own comparisons on both flights and accommodation can turn out to be a big money saver.
There are comparison tools out there than can do the job for you, such as Trivago and Skyscanner, but you can often find different prices by putting in some time and effort and looking at all the options.
By all means use these comparison websites, but don’t forget to check other places you can book things on and then see if they offer any lower prices – and that includes travel agents for flights and hotels’ own websites.