Tuesday, January 12, 2016

5 Simple Steps to Bag a Travel Bargain

Go on admit it, how many times over the last fortnight has your finger hovered over the 'Book Now' button for a holiday?! At this time of the year everyone and their mother is trying to sell you a holiday and to be fair some of them are fantastic bargains, others, not so much. There’s an art to hunting down that bargain holiday; the holiday that you want that is, not just going anywhere because it’s cheap but to be honest that’s perfectly fine too, I’ve done it and had great experiences. But if there is a particular destination you’re after read on as I’ve a few tips that might help you save yourself some cash that would be better spent enjoying your holiday than on an overpriced flight, ridiculous flight times or a so so hotel stay. My top 5 tips for bagging a travel bargain:

1. Book it Yourself

That’s my motto and it hasn’t let me down yet. By booking it yourself you are effectively cutting out the middle man who would otherwise be taking a cut of your holiday price. Sometimes however it can work out slightly cheaper to go on a package holiday as they might put on a bus from the airport to hotel or they can get a cheaper rate as they are booking hotel rooms in bulk, I’ve found this mainly applies to sunshine holidays. So my advice would be that before you book anything get a quote with a travel agency and then price it yourself. 9 times out of 10 you can find it cheaper yourself.

2. Sign up to Airlines Newsletters

Seems straight forward really but with the current price war between Ryanair and Aer Lingus now is the time that you want to have your finger on the pulse. It’ll give you a better chance of bagging that flight in a flash sale before they’re gone. I know you tend to see it all over social media when there is a sale but even an hour can make all the difference so it’s wise and be the first in the know.

3. Fly Midweek

If you’re off for a week or two try to fly midweek not only will the airport and flight be less crowded especially if you’re travelling with children but you’ll also save yourself some serious money. Last December we went to Disneyland Paris and flew out on a Tuesday morning and home late on a Friday night. I halved the price of the flights by opting to go Tuesday rather than Saturday morning. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to check in and navigate our way through the airport and security in December with 5 little ones under 9, no rushing, no queuing, no panic.

4. Open Skyscanner Searches

You’ve more than likely heard of Skyscanner before now but did you know that you can select “anywhere” as a destination? It might inspire you to go to somewhere you hadn’t even thought of. If you already have your destination in mind but just don’t know when is the cheapest time to go you can select “whole month” or “cheapest month”, clever eh!

That’s not all, you can sign up with your flight requirements and they’ll send you free daily price alerts. This option will pop up as you are searching for flights. Test out Skyscanner searches HERE.

5. Mix it up

Don’t be afraid to book separate flights with two different airlines for your outward and return journeys. I used to think, it was a bit weird to book different airlines. Would I be drawing attention to myself? Did I look like I was up to something untoward? The simple answer is no, not at all, many savvy travellers do this as not only are you saving a packet you’ll also have a greater range of flight times to choose from. 

A couple of years ago I called my sister Susan on a Wednesday to ask could she get the following Friday off work, luckily she could. I booked us return flights to London for under €10 each including taxes and charges. We even flew into and out of different airports. Granted we left with the lark on Friday morning and returned on a lunchtime flight Sunday but we still had enough time in London to let our hair down. Not bad for less than half the price it costs me for a return train to Dublin. 

Don’t forget the ferry! Sometimes it’s cheaper to go by ferry as a foot passenger, so it’s worth checking out if it’s an option for your chosen destination. As an aside, with the ferry there doesn't even have to be another destination, it can be a trip in itself; see how we got on on a one day jaunt HERE. Travelling without the little ones? There's nothing quite as footloose and fancy free as an impromptu booze cruise to catch up with friends (once the weather forecast is in your favour).  

Tell us, what's your best tip for bagging a travel bargain? 

Have you booked a trip for 2016 yet? 


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