Everyone wants travel to be easy and the best it can be for a good price.
After a bewildering summer of travel and with news that demand for travel will be high in 2023, here’s how you can really make your travel money stretch that little bit further:
- When logged into your browser, if you search for the same flights over and over, the cost of those flights will rise. Search for flights in incognito mode using a private navigation window and that will not happen.
- If you’re flexible in terms of specific dates and times, you’ll find cheaper flights. Generally, flights that leave mid week on a Wednesday are cheaper than those departing at other times—Expedia recently reported they were as much as 15% cheaper. For Thanksgiving, Expedia says that savings of 5% can be had if you travel on the Sunday, Monday or Tuesday before and not the Wednesday. For Christmas, traveling before the 23rd can save as much as 15%.
- If you set alerts for fares you’re looking for, you’ll be notified immediately when the prices drop and you’ll be able to book them fast—use sites such as Sitescanner or NextVacay.
- Hunt for fifth freedom flights, which can typically save you money and often take place on a better plane with better perks than your money would otherwise be able to afford. Fifth freedom flights are where an airline carries passengers to locations which are not in their base country. For example, Emirates runs from JFK New York to Milan and from Newark to Athens, before continuing onto Dubai in both cases, where the airline is based. As other airlines run these first two routes, the Emirates flight segment from the U.S. to Europe is very competitive, plus Emirates is ranked highly as one of the world’s best airlines meaning that the service, the food and the plane might be better too.
- Search for fares individually even if you are traveling as a couple or a group. If you search for four tickets, the algorithms will overlook one or two cheaper tickets and just find four at the same price. Just make sure to link up separate bookings with the airline so they know you are traveling together, via an airline phone agent or your own travel agent.
- Check for one-way Hidden City flights, where your destination might be just part of a longer plane journey and therefore cheaper. For example, if heading to Paris, you could buy a ticket for a journey from Amsterdam to Milan, via Paris and get out at Paris—Skiplagged is renowned for finding these sorts of flights. Beware though, you cannot check luggage and most airlines frown on this behavior.
- Be flexible with destinations. For trips to Paris, think about looking for airfares to another EU capital and taking an onward plane or train.
- Always opt for early morning flights if there is a choice—these are always subject to the least amount of delays as they are least likely to be derailed by other flights traveling earlier or staff/airport issues.
- If possible, it’s always best to take carry on and not check luggage into the hold. This will be cheaper, won’t get lost and gives you less waiting time at the airport to travel onwards. If you need to, use a service that transports your luggage to your destination independently of the airline—there are several.
- Book with a company that has a 24-hour cancellation policy to allow for a change in plans. Expedia is one such company (and even better, anything booked on Friday, will be able to be cancelled until Monday). Qatar Airways holds flights for 72 hours on its booking system too, allowing some time to put other plans in place.
- Use a travel credit card that helps with the cost of tickets. Some have a really great welcome bonus and you can build up points before you book using miles.
- When spending money on holiday, it’s usually very expensive to buy currency at the airport and never take out cash on a credit card while overseas. It’s easier and more cost effective to use your credit card for direct purchases and use the minimum amount of cash. This will also mean that you won’t be left with lots of currency at the end of trips that you cannot use for a long time (or ever again, in the case of closed currencies such Sri Lanka, Cuba, Morocco and India, unless you return).
- When paying with your credit card, always choose the local currency and never the conversion back to your home currency, which is sometimes done for you—the pre-converted rate almost always costs more.