We all want to save money. This is especially true when on holiday. The more money we can save on necessities, the longer we can stretch our funds, and the more experiences we can get out of our vacation.
For those who really want to plan a low cost holiday, the key word is flexibility. The more flexible you are with travel dates, and even travel destinations, the better of a deal you may secure.
There are many websites which will search for airfare prices for you, and you likely already have your preferred website. However, a useful feature in any flight search feature is the option to search over a longer time period. Sometimes websites will show you the fares across one or two weeks, but for those with a lot of time flexibility, try to find a website which will compare flight prices across the entire month. You can then use this feature to find the best time to travel. Make sure to also check when the off season of your preferred destination is, and check flight prices for that time.
Now a good flight compare website will offer you departure flexibility, but a great one will offer you destination flexibility. The only one that I know of at the moment is Air Fare Watchdog. At the moment their website will only support search to “anywhere” from North American departure cities – but for some reason their iphone app seems to work for any departure city.
When it comes to accommodation, the first question you need to ask yourself is what level of comfort and local interaction do you want from your holiday? Some who want to interact with locals may choose to first look at websites like courchsurfing or tripping to see if any locals will host them at their house. Often this service is free, although you may be expected to bring a small gift from home, or cook something for your guests in return.
Travellers only looking for a place to rest their head for the night may choose to search for hostel accommodation. There are several good hostel booking websites out there. One trick is to compare prices across several hostel booking agents, as well as the hostels own website if they have one – you might be surprised at how much prices can differ on different websites.
Travellers with children, or those who want a little bit more relaxation may opt for a hotel instead. Many flight booking websites will also search hotels for you in conjunction with flights. There are also many dedicated hotel booking websites available, and the same tips applies here as for hostels – check the prices across several websites to ensure the best deal.
Special Deals and Package Holidays
Another place where you can sometimes find great holiday deals are travel agents. This point is particularly true with the Pacific Islands. Often a packaged holiday through a website or travel agent which includes flights and accommodation in a decent resort or hotel will even be cheaper than flights alone if booked independently.
Timing is everything. And it’s true with travel as well. You may be surprised at how much prices drop when you travel in the off season. However, before you book make sure you check out the typical conditions during the off season. If you are itching for a beach holiday, then going during the rainy season may save you money, but you might not get the holiday experience you were hoping for. On the other hand, travel to some places, such as European cities, in the off season may lend a particular charm to the destination that you wouldn’t otherwise get during high season. Imagine ancient buildings covered in a dusting of snow or frost to see what I mean.
Another travel timing aspect which may save you money is checking out when school holidays occur. Avoid school holiday times if you can – as you will be competing not only with international travellers for good deals, but also domestic travellers as well. By avoiding school holidays, not only will prices be cheaper, but you will be less likely to find that your ideal accommodation is fully booked.
Also consider the day of the week. Flights that leave on weekends and afternoons tend to be pricier than ones that leave early in the morning or mid week. Booking when other people don’t want to fly may also give great discounts – consider taking a flight on Christmas day or New Years eve – prices often plummet on these dates as no one else wants to fly at these times.
Research and Flexibility
Have a great time on your holiday, and remember, the more research you do, and the more flexibility you have – the more likely you will be to saving the most amount of money on your holiday.
Do you have any tips of how to plan a low cost holiday? Let us know in the comments!