Alright, I know it’s barely 2017 but I’m already planning all the holidays hubby and I are going to be taking this year. Firstly, obviously, is the long overdue return to the motherland. I haven’t had a chance to visit Finland for two years now, and that is two years too many if you ask my momma or my friends. In my defence, I gone got married in that time and hubby and I have started our (married) lives together by putting an offer for our own place amongst all the other projects I volunteer us to – so it’s been rather hectic.
But now that things are calming down, hubby and I have booked our tickets to visit the deep dark North and on the way back pop to Berlin to see friends. I don’t like to brag (yes I do) but I consider myself something of an expert when it comes to finding great deals for flights and hotels without compromising on quality. Because the older I get the less I fancy hostels or budget airlines that drop you off 100 miles from where you were supposed to end up.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve travelled like a backpacking hobo but I’ve also been known to stay in 5 star hotels. What I’ve learned is that when you play your cards right there might not even be that much of a price difference between the two.
Here’s my top tips for budget luxury travel:
Time is Money – The earlier you start planning your holidays the more options you have. I know it sounds obvious but if you know you’re going on holiday in the summer the best time to start looking is right after New Year. The more months between your departure and booking dates, the more options you have for flights and rooms, for cheaper prices.
Compare prices – By all means, use a price comparison website – but for optimal price reduction purposes, check a few. I use TravelSuperMarket, SkyScanner and Expedia for flights and Booking, TriVaGo and Hotels.com for hotels. Different companies have different deals with the service providers so it definitely is worth spending some time comparing different options. It might sound a lot of work but it usually saves me anywhere between £100 and £200 per trip. Which I can then spend on things that really matter, like food and wine.
Clear your cache – Trust me on this. Evil cookies will reveal your deepest desires to the world wide web and the even more evil websites will hike up the prices when they realise you’re serious about booking some tickets. Try it out. Clear your cache and go back to the same site – the prices will be lower. And definitely do it before you go on to the next point….
Check Provider Sites – Here’s a trick: once you’ve checked the price comparison sites and know what airlines or hotels are giving the kind of deals you want, go to their sites directly and check whether they offer the same tickets or rooms for cheaper. In 4 out of 5 cases you’ll find that they do. This is because the service providers pay a premium for the price comparison sites and somehow this has be accounted for, and guess who usually pays the difference? Yup, that’s right, muggins here.
Do you really need checked baggage? – Finally, think carefully whether you really need to check in any bags. Maybe invest into a compact, lightweight cabin luggage instead. A solid one will set you back around £25 but will easily save you a fortune in just a few trips. If you’re going for a few weeks you may want to buy your toiletries at destination rather than carrying them with you, or invest in a set of little travel bottles in a clear bag (£1 from Poundland or Primark) and just take what you need. You can fit a surprisingly large amount of clothes, shoes and hair styling instruments into one of these bad boys and not only will you save your pennies, you’ll also save time as you don’t have to wait at the baggage reclaim and there’s zero change your luggage doesn’t arrive to the destination with you.
Have you any tips for budget luxury travel? Tell me post haste!