No one gets a good deal during Christmas or school holidays. Why? Because busy hotels and airlines have no need to discount. Travel when it’s quieter to ensure you get the best value. Here are a few tips: long-haul flights are cheapest for October and November. Tasmania has great offers in winter and weekends in Perth are always less expensive than weekdays.
Be flexible with your dates
Travel a couple of days earlier or later and you’d be surprised how much you can save. Depart on a Tuesday or Wednesday instead of a Friday after work. Not only are these usually the cheapest days of the week to fly, you are also more likely to get more space to stretch out in an empty seat.
Book flights early
If you can’t be flexible with your dates, the best way to get a good price is to book as early as possible, especially if flying at peak times. We seldom see flights decrease in price the closer they get to departure so a bit of advanced planning can save you lots.
Organise hotels later
Unless you are staying during peak season or need to be in a specific hotel or resort, wait a while before booking your accommodation. While some hotels do offer discounted advanced purchase rates, our deal experts found that you are more likely to snag a last minute bargain a couple of weeks out as hotels scramble to fill empty rooms.
Leave day tours and activities until you get there
This applies particularly if you are going to a country with a weaker currency than Australia. Think $37 is a reasonable price for Elephant Trekking in Thailand? We found the same tour (booked locally) costs just THB790 (AU$26), saving you 30%.
Book flights and accommodation together for better discounts
Sites like Expedia, Travelonline, My Fiji and My Hawaii often have great deals when you book your holiday as a package, regularly discounting by up to 50% off what you would pay to book separately. Often they will also throw in bonus extras like free breakfast, welcome drinks or complimentary Wi-Fi as well.
Think hotels and airlines are bound to have the cheapest prices direct? Think again. We often find special offers exclusive to online travel agents like Hotels.com, Zuji or Booking.com. Be sure to use our SuperSearch function to get at least three quotes for your hotel or flight.
If you use social media often, like or follow the travel agent/airline/hotel to be one of the first to know when they have launched a sale. It also wouldn’t hurt to leave them a message telling them when you’re staying or flying. You never know, they may offer you an upgrade as this improves their public image.
Use existing assets to your advantage
Do you have frequent flyer points you never use? Redeem them for a reward seat and save your cash for your holiday. Have a friend who lives abroad? See if you can stay with them or if they have any local tips for good deals; perhaps a friend is going away and needs a house-sitter. Vouchers in things like the Entertainment Book or airline magazines are also a useful commodity for future trips.
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