Travelling around the world may well be one of life’s finest pleasures. Exploring new places, seeing different things, eating local food and experiencing diverse cultures. There’s just one catch. Travelling requires money and can cost a lot. We at Flynous are dedicated to finding the best flight deals to help reduce that cost for you. We wanted to put together some of our top cost cutting holiday tips to help save you money for your next trip!
Booking your tickets
It wasn’t long ago when a holiday overseas would require a travel agent to arrange almost everything for you with hotels, flights and transfers in one package. Nowadays people can try to organise a holiday themselves thanks to the Internet. But a ‘DIY holiday’ can result in unexpected costs if you’re not careful. Even a savvy traveller using Flynous to find bargain prices for cheap flights may find other expenses associated with travelling will add up.
Book flights with an OTA rather than the airline.
An OTA is simply an initialism for Online Travel Agent. They are just like travel agencies in city centres, but they operate online. With lower running costs but the same airline discounts available as a traditional travel agency, they can offer incredible value.
They sell the exact same seats as an airline but usually for a lower price. Despite this, a whopping 40% of travellers book directly with an airline. Just like shopping around for a smartphone or television, rather than going directly to Apple, Sony or Samsung where prices are higher, you should do the same with plane tickets.
Thankfully, instead of having to check prices on dozens of OTA’s, comparison websites do this for you. You can check out our Ultimate Skyscanner Guide to see how best to use Skyscanner and find bargains. Kayak and Momondo are also available, but we almost always find that Skyscanner has the lowest prices.
Book in a different currency
When you know the flights that you want to book, and you’ve shopped around for the best price, there is one extra trick to do. Nearly all OTA’s and every airline will sell tickets in various currencies. You can check to see if the best price is available if you were to book in euros, dollars, pounds or something else. Factor in any foreign transaction fees your credit card provider may charge as the savings could be quickly wiped out.
Comparison sites show different travel agencies also when you change your location. A top cost cutting tip can be to book your holiday through a foreign OTA for savings not available in your location.
Triple check the booking details
Whether you book with the airline direct, or via an OTA, the ticket that is issued must be correct. It’s easy to accidentally typo when filling out a form. While an Amazon delivery to ‘Goereg Clonoey’ will still get delivered, George Clooney would be unable to board a plane. Changing names and dates can incur expensive fines. Check, re-check, and re-check the details on the overview page before clicking the ‘pay’ button. It’s even better if you can get someone else to check for you.
Both airlines and online travel agencies will try to upsell you during the booking process. They can sneakily make unnecessary extras seem required. Before you know it, you could have an additional luggage allowance you don’t need. If the initial headline price for your ticket is €100 and the ‘Pay now’ page is showing anything else, something unnecessary has been added in. Budget airlines are particularly notorious for this.
It may be convenient to book insurance, car hire, or priority boarding while you are also purchasing flights. However, the price you pay to package them together is often more than when buying individually. The reason these extras are shown here is so the booking site will get a commission for any service you purchase. The site will only show you prices from their partners and not the whole market too. A tip for cost cutting before your holiday even starts? Keep the savings for yourself and check for the following independently.
Many third-party companies have set up parking sites near airports. They offer lower prices than ‘on-site’ parking with the airport direct. The downside is that you may need to get a free transfer bus to/from the terminal. A small inconvenience for a considerable price reduction.
The booking site will say you’ll get the best rates with their car hire partner when you go through them. Sometimes that’s actually true. But that doesn’t mean their partner has the best prices of all the hire companies. Do a quick heck for yourself on RentalCars or Kayak before adding a car to your flight booking.
It doesn’t instil confidence, but airlines will often suggest you add insurance in case something goes wrong with the scheduling of your flight. Though we do recommend travel insurance, you will find much better deals when shopping around than with the booking site. If you’re going to go abroad more than once over 12 months, buying an annual policy will provide better value.
Flight ‘extras’ that should really be included in the base cost will differ by airline. In the worst cases, budget carriers try to charge you for any meals, luggage, and seats you add. When they want to convince you to pay more money, many will merge these services into a ‘value pack’ or ‘combo deal’. Though they are correct that you will save 20% by booking a 20kg bag, a seat, and food, together than individually, you may only need one item.
Ryanair aside, passengers who book together will often sit together if checking in early. You can take your own food onboard, or have a better quality meal before you depart. And you may only need 15kg of checked luggage. Consider if these value packs will actually result in you spending more than you need before purchasing them. Read our Save money on flight extras article for cost cutting tips on how to save even more on your holiday!
Planes, trains, and automobiles
Though they will cover the farthest distance, an aeroplane is only one transport mode you’ll use when flying abroad. You also need to get to and from airports and travel around at your destination.
Book early and book online
Be it the train to the airport, a weekly transport pass, or airport parking, the lowest prices are available when booking in advance and booking online. The airport may offer all of these on arrival, but you will pay over the odds if you just turn up on the day. Some services can provide a reduction when booking online. Even if this is only 5%, the savings can be put towards something a little more exciting when you’re on your holiday.
Even when booking early, depending on the length of your trip, the cost of airport parking can be astronomical. Particularly when travelling alone and not splitting costs. It may be more economical to take public transport if the airport is well connected. If airport parking is €75, consider asking friends or family if they’d drive you to and from the airport for €50. Both of you can win! Even two single-day, one-way car hire charges could be cheaper than paying for parking.
Park off-site on a public road
This tip is for those departing from a city that isn’t close to your home. If driving yourself is the only way you can get to your departure airport for your holiday, a real cost cutting tip can be avoiding airport parking altogether. Depending on how comfortable you are with the surrounding towns, there is nothing wrong with parking at a nearby housing estate on a public road… for free! Use Google Maps to scout possible locations. You can then call a taxi or Uber from there at a much lower cost than from your hometown. Just remember where you parked so you know where to head to on your return.
Beware the Budget Airline
The likes of Easyjet, Ryanair and Wizz Air are a modern gift to travellers. The prices they offer has made continental travel across Europe accessible to nearly anybody. But behind the attention-grabbing prices are some caveats you need to be mindful of when booking.
Both Wizz Air and Ryanair only allow a single item of hand luggage to be brought on board for free. That item must be placed under the seat in front of you. In short, it works for a day-tripping business traveller or an overnight stay. If you are planning a holiday, then you will require overhead storage at the very least. As these are additional paid extras, the comparative price to other carriers may not be as significant as you first think.
If a flight from Paris to Rome is €60 return with Ryanair, but €100 with Air France, it may still be cheaper to fly with Air France. If you need baggage to go overhead, you will have this as standard with the French flag-carrier. With Ryanair, you will have to pay a fee for this which can increase the cost to above the Air France ticket! Additionally, Air France will serve snacks and provide free beverages on its short-haul services.
Barcelona? Not exactly…
Another thing to look out for with budget airlines is the airports they travel to and from. The reason they are often able to offer such discounted routes is that they fly to airports which have lower operating fees. The charges are lower due to the airport having less traffic, and that’s because of the inconvenient location it is in. A €20 bargain flight can soon end up being more expensive than a €50 return to a better-located airport when you factor in transfers.
The airline may name the destination the closest city when advertising on its website, but check before you book. Barcelona, for example, has the Barcelona International Airport just 13km from the city centre. Depending on traffic, this will be a 20-minute, €25 taxi journey. There are also Girona and Reus airports, ~100km north and south of Barcelona, respectively. All three of these are listed on the Ryanair website. However, the latter two will take over an hour in a taxi and cost you approximately €130-150. Even public transport ticket prices are over three times higher. Remember you will need to go back to the airport to fly home too.
Keep in touch
Hopefully, you found these cost cutting tips helpful and you will save money on your next holiday. We could go on all day on how else we’ve saved money travelling but perhaps you have some tips of your own? We’d love to hear from you if you do. Get in touch with us on Twitter or Facebook, or drop us an email at info(at)flynous.com and let us know.