Find cheaper flights and holidays – Seven Top Tips
January. It’s the month that no-one really likes: Christmas is over, you’re broke, you’ve eaten too much and you’re back at work, depressed – searching for something to look forward to.
What adverts do we see in the middle of every TV show?
Tanned people, skipping in slow-motion across an idyllic beach; Arnold Schwarzenegger “vel-coming” everybody to California from a table on a rock-pool; or the latest “viral” idea from a package holiday company with an annoying kid dressed as a shark dancing to a cool song that won’t stay cool for much longer.
They all make you want to throw your remote at the TV!
It’s time to go hard, or…go on holiday!
Booking a whole year ahead is the best time to get a good deal but it’s pretty hard to afford, and plan, another holiday while you’re still kicking sand out of your shoes from the last one.
In January, the travel industry applies pressure everywhere you look to “help you” beat the January blues, but I think it’s a pretty good month to book your tickets – especially with everyone in ‘sales’ mode.
You see, the big airlines (British Airways, Virgin Atlantic etc) usually have their sales on in January – it’s nearly impossible to find seats cheaper after this. The smaller airlines try to compete and the package holidays are still well-priced for the summer and will only get more expensive (unless you’re going to go for a late 1990s ‘Teletext Last Minute deal’ where you turn up at the airport with just a passport and a suitcase).
As I’ve said before, I always look around for the best deal on everything because I like using the money that I’ve saved to help pay for the next big purchase.
I’ve booked at least one long and short haul trip every year since I met Mrs R on a revolving dancefloor in Mexico in 2004 (that story will need its own blog post) and I’ve never paid the full price.
If you’d rather not have the hassle of spending a couple of hours on your computer to save a few hundred quid, go and book your holiday now (or skip to Tip 6) but to be fair, if you’re that kind of person you’re probably not still reading this article, anyway!
For everyone else, here are the Life of Reilly tips to help you save some hard-earned cash:
Top Tips to save money on any trip
1. Grab a beer or glass of wine
Good tip, huh?! You’re going to be on your computer for a little while, so get relaxed and settle down for some super-searching.
If you’re looking at a long haul trip, I think it’s best to book your Flight and Hotel separately (there are exceptions) but if you’re going for a two-week, all-inclusive trip in Europe, then stick with the package holiday theme.
2. Go to a big-name travel company/airline’s site
If you’re flying long-haul find a guide price at the airline that you’ve got most Air Miles with, whether that’s British Airways, Virgin Atlantic or Delta.
If you’re looking for a package holiday, go to a major holiday company website, like Thomas Cook or Thomson. They usually have a really nice, user-friendly layout with great photos, videos and easy to understand pricing so you can pick a resort that you want to search on some no-so pretty sites.
Note down the prices of the dates that you want to travel. Make sure you check a midweek flight, as these are normally cheaper.
3. Check the comparison sites – and ours!
You may have found a good price for your British Airways flight in their sale but you can usually buy it cheaper through a smaller travel company. The quickest and easiest way to do this is to put the flight you found – and dates – into a Comparison site, such as Skyscanner (flights only), Travel Supermarket (flights and packages) and LastMinute.com (flights and packages).
This should have knocked a couple of hundred off the total flight price, and maybe more than a grand from a package. They will tell you the company that the cheapest offer is with: note that down.
Our website also gets sent loads of great offers every month. So make sure you check our Voucher Codes page to see if you can save some money with our help!
4. Go to that cheapest site
Now you know where the cheapest flight is from, head on over and see if it’s even cheaper via their own website. Sometimes they give the best deal to the comparison site, but quite often they don’t. You may not have heard of this company you’re looking up but the comparison sites should only send you to legitimate companies. If you’re worried, keep an eye out for the ABTA and ATOL logos.
You should now know where your best deal is. Don’t get the credit card out yet, we can still save more!
5. Check the online big-boys (flights only)
Quite often, the internet travel giants, Expedia, Opodo, eBookers, Booking.com etc, will have special exclusive deals with an airline, so just check one of these to make sure you’re not missing a bargain.
6. Get some cashback
Did you know you can get cashback on most major purchases? We’ve got more than a grand back via Top Cashback in the last few years. There are others out there too, Quidco is the other big one.
Choose one of these providers – unless you’re more thrifty than even I am and you want to check both – and search the name of the company that offered you cheapest deal, whether it’s Virgin Atlantic, Thomson, lowcostholidays, they’re usually all on there!
You could get anything between 1% and 15% cashback, just for clicking through this site and then booking in the normal way! We got £65 ($95) off our flights to California last summer – and money off hotels, car hire, airport parking etc.
7. Seal the deal
Now it’s time to book your dream holiday! Congratulations – think of us when you’re spending that extra money at your swim-up bar!
You can go through the same process again to add a hotel, car hire, airport parking and Travel Insurance and more.
Let us know how you get on and how much you save on our next trip!
**CLICK HERE TO GO TO OUR HOLIDAY/FLIGHT DEALS AND VOUCHER CODES PAGE**