Regular travellers know that getting from one place to the next can be rather expensive. Still, it doesn’t have to be that way. Whether you travel for business or your experiences tend to be more along the lines of annual holidays, you do not have to spend a small fortune just because you decide to leave home.
There are hacks for just about every area of life – including travel. If you know how the system works, there are lots of little things you can do to save quite a bit of money. Below are the top 10 travel hacks that experienced travellers put to use all the time.
1. Look for Alternative Airports
When you go scouring the internet looking for the best prices on flights, you are likely to only see major airports that have agreements with website operators, travel agents, and the like. But the major airports are not the only players in the game. Smaller, regional airports that do not participate in code-sharing programmes tend to have less traffic and are less expensive to fly in and out of.
2. Consider the Least Popular Days
As long as we are talking about flights and airports, consider the least popular flying days when purchasing your tickets. Believe it or not, Tuesday and Wednesday usually offer the best rates to the most popular destinations. Monday is a bad day due to business travellers heading out for the week; weekends are bad because business travellers are heading home and weekend holiday-makers are heading out. Your best flight rates are going to be on Tuesday and Wednesday; either early in the morning or late at night.
3. Clear Your Cache Before Searching
Many travel websites will place cookies in your browser. These cookies can inadvertently affect prices as millions of people shop online for flights, hotels, and so on. It’s all about demand. As the industry perceives demand is going up, prices go up as well. Business Insider says you will do better if you clear your web browsing cache before searching, or else use an incognito window. Being untraceable keeps you out of the demand loop.
4. Look for Secret Hotel Rooms
Did you know that hotels would rather offer rooms at a discounted rate than let them go empty at the end of the day? These rooms, known as ‘secret rooms’, are blocks of rooms that a hotel is willing to let go at a lower price after the dinner hour. There are two ways to find them, the first being speciality websites that focus on them. The second option is to simply wait until you arrive and then try a hotel at six or seven in the evening. If they have rooms left, you’re likely to get a better deal. Just be willing to negotiate.
5. Look for cashbacks
Buying your travel insurance, flights and transport through a cashback partner will all add up. Go through a comparison site to see what different companies have to offer.
6. Stay Outside of Town
Regardless of whether you travel for business or pleasure, you will pay more for everything the closer you are to the centre of town. If you’re willing to stay on the outskirts and commute, you can save considerably. In some destinations, the commute is part of the experience you will want to take in any way. So think outside the city.
7. Purchase a Transportation Card
Transportation cards are great money-saving tools when you are planning to stay in a single destination for more than just a few days. Cards give you access to all sorts of public transportation at less than you would pay on a case-by-case basis. Some cities might be limited to buses and metropolitan rail; other cities might also include metros and trams. London’s Oyster card for example can save you up to 30%.
8. Take a Look at Stopovers
Some airlines, offer free stop-overs if you are willing to ask for them. What is a free stop-over? Rather than enduring a two or three-hour layover while waiting for a connecting flight, you can actually leave the airport and visit the city for a number of days before returning to get your connecting flight. You still pay for accommodation and food, but you do not have to purchase an entirely separate airline ticket because you’ve left the airport. You are simply delaying the connecting flight for a few days. This is an excellent way to save money if you are a business traveller.
9. Take a Season-Ending Cruise
Cruise lines move ships from port to port along with the change of seasons. A great way to enjoy a cruise at a much lower price is to book one of the season-ending excursions, known in the industry as ‘repositioning’ cruises. You will have to fly to either end of the cruise, but you will still be likely to get away cheaper by repositioning with the ship and crew.
10. Choose Hotels with Freebies
Hotels routinely compete with one another to offer free amenities guests find useful. You absolutely should look for as many freebies as possible. For example, a free continental breakfast in the morning and a manager’s buffet in the evening could provide the bulk of your food during your stay.
In addition, why not use the toiletries provided by your hotel rather than bringing your own? If you are a business traveller, using the free toiletries can save a lot of money over a year of travelling.
There are other ways to save money on travel if you know how the system works. The best bit of advice we could give is this: do not simply settle for the first advertised price you find. Dig around, ask questions and get beyond the first page of adverts. That’s where the real deals are.