Most of us have to make booking related travel at some point or another, whether it’s for work, to visit family and friends or just to get away from it all on vacation. 😀
We often get this question asked from our followers: How are you able to spend so much on traveling? Are you getting sponsored? Are you getting paid to travel?
We always reply that the reason to make all the vacations happen is our efficient planning. Generally, every budget traveler starts planning a trip with a cheap plane ticket. We add another factor to plan and that is the weather conditions. Suppose it’s rainy during your entire trip; you will not be able to explore freely! Also, many times the travel excursions get cancelled due to bad weather by the tour provider. Then we move to plan everything else gradually like getting best deals on hotels, best prices for excursions, car rents and so on.
How to start planning your trip?
The very first thing you need to do is to decide on one of the things, either have a fixed location and flexible dates or have a flexible location on fixed travel dates. Planning can be as simple or as involved as you want it to be. Some people love to do minimal planning, while others like to have an itinerary with every minute planned well in advance.
If you are planning to travel off season, check the weather condition of each location in accuweather and be prepared with a Plan B for unfavorable conditions. Carry a warm jacket and rain covers with you just in case.
THE PURPOSE OF LIVE IS TO LIVE IT, TO TASTE IT, TO EXPERIENCE TO THE UTMOST, TO REACH OUT EAGERLY AND WITHOUT FEAR FOR NEWER AND RICHER EXPERIENCES.
– ELEANOR ROOSEVELT
How to start searching for flights and hotels?
Use an “Incognito Window” when searching for flights and hotels. Many times we have observed flights prices boosting up while we have been searching the web for prices. Searching for airline tickets in private browsing mode or incognito doesn’t send an alert to the airline and hotel companies tracking it. Since cookies are used when you’re searching regularly in your browser, airline sites can see you repeatedly searched routes and increase the price.
Use Skyscanner’s search everywhere feature
Skyscanner is a flight comparison website that aggregates the prices of flights around the world for you to easily compare and choose. If you’re not sure on your destination and want to explore some options, you can simply check the places that you can fly to at the lowest rate in this app. Simply tap or type EVERYWHERE in the Destination field and it will fetch all the options for your to compare and pick the most suitable one!
Check for the discount coupons online
Whenever you’re searching for flights and hotels online, google the words “promo,” “discount,” “coupon,” or “corporate code” with the destination’s name. Sometimes you’ll find the FREE coupons online that actually work!
Join travel groups on Facebook
There are many good travel groups on Facebook with travelers connected from all around the world. It is a great group to get answers to your specific travel questions by the natives and/ or by the previous travelers.
Consider getting a travel rewards credit card
When you book using cards affiliated with airlines or hotel chains, you will quickly collect points towards free flights or hotels. But these types of credit cards often have annual fees and higher interest rates than non-rewards cards, hence the travel rewards cards are beneficial only if you pay off your balances each month. The key to picking the right rewards card is to compare the value of points you’ll earn each year against any annual fee.
How to book your flight?
Book mid week to get the best deal
If you’re looking to book a flight ticket, the best time to make the booking is on a Wednesday/ Thursday. The most expensive day to book is Sunday.
Use flight comparison sites
Before you book, always compare the flight prices on flight comparison sights like skyscanner. It will save you a great deal of time and money!
Set price alert on your phones
At many flight booking websites, you can set up phone and/ or email alerts for specific prices for saved searches that meet your parameters. It will spare you from having to check constantly whether the flight prices went down or not.
The trick is figuring out what price to use to trigger an alert. When searching fares on websites Kayak, the websites will display a prediction trend on where it stands according to price; whether it’s low/ average/ high fare. On this basis, you can decide if you want to buy or wait. Sites like FareDetective.com provide pricing history to help you estimate the best deals.
Cheapest flight isn’t always the right choice
Nobody will tell you this. But cheapest flights aren’t always the right choice. Check for four things before you decide to book: Weather, duration, layovers and landing time. If you find a really cheap flight deal, but it makes you travel for long hours unnecessarily, it’s not a good option. If you book a flight that flies at noon and lands at close to midnight, you’ll still have to spend on hotel booking, take a work-off and will miss out an entire day on traveling.
Watch out for too short layovers.
Airlines and travel booking sites sometimes display itineraries with too-brief connection times. If you’re checking bags, make sure there’s enough time for the airline to transfer your luggage. My rule of thumb is one hour minimum for domestic connections, 90 minutes or more for international (you’ll need even more time to connect at huge hubs like Heathrow or in countries that make you pass through immigration checkpoints and security screening).
How to book your hotels?
Use hotel comparison sites
There are many comparison sites available to help you compare hotel prices like Skyscanner, Trivago etc. Our favorite site to book hotels is booking.com. Always, keep filters according to your needs and then sort by price and recommendation.
Use maps to find hotels close to attractions
If you are not sure where to book your hotels, use map feature of website; it’s available on almost every website. After you select map, select the desired area and click on search this area. This feature works in google maps too!
Search for the nearby towns to save money
Sometimes, you make a sudden travel plan and all you can find in the area is the most expensive hotels. Best thig to do is to put that location on map and look for the nearby town. Try searching hotels using the nearest town names and you’ll start finding a lot of options.
Always check the reviews when booking hotels.
Always, always! Read out reviews really carefully; many times we decided to book on the basis of pictures and when we checked reviews, they were horrible! Spot fake reviews by watching the dates carefully. If too many 5 star reviews are published in really short duration, that’s a red flag!
Ignore warnings about limited hotel room availability.
This is a very old trick used by hotels to lure customers. It’s a general human tendency to get attracted to the most popular thing or the last left deals and hotels use this trick to make you feel that you are getting a very amazing deals at the lowest price. You feel a sense of achievement by grabbing the last deal while they grab your money. Haha.
Ask hotels to waive early and late check- in fees
You can often avoid extra hotel fees simply by asking politely to the customer service person. Unless the hotels are fully booked, they will usually accommodate. If the hotel can’t make space for you, most of them will happily store your bags (tip the helper) for the day before check-in or after checkout.
One more tip: Although they don’t advertise it, many hotels allow guests to pay for a half-night’s stay, allowing you to use your room until evening.
How to book rental car?
There are many trustable online car booking providers like Turo, Expedia, Kayak, Enterprise. The best way is to compare prices according to your required dates and number of passengers. Also, look out for deposits, deposit return policy, car return requirements (like full tank) etc. Also, check out prices from car rentals providers websites directly for cheaper deals.
The minimum legal age to rent a car depends on the country where you’re renting. New driver policies vary for each car rental agency. While some require renters to hold a driver’s license for a minimum of 1 year, others only ask for a valid driver’s license for the duration of the rental period.
How to book parking?
If you are planning to stay in a very fancy hotel, the parking might not be free. Especially, if you are planning to stay in downtown area (most popular and mostly filled with bars and pubs), there will be only valet parking options charging you outrageous parking prices like $60 per night. This happened with us in San Francisco hotel. The best way is to use websites and apps like Bestparking.com and SpotHero.com to find a nearby spot for low prices and book them in advance as they mostly gets booked a week before!
When to buy travel insurance?
Generally, you can buy travel insurance policy any time before the date of your trip. But it’s always best to buy coverage as soon as you make your travel reservations. The sooner you buy travel insurance, the sooner you’ll be protected and it may provide extra benefits. Compare thoroughly before booking. Never buy from airlines directly, they charge one of the highest prices!
Every traveler must know about these travel tricks to save a lot of money! Hope you loved these tips by Bruised Baggages!!
Leave a comment below or add anything you think we have missed! 🙂