Saving for a holiday is one of the top three goals for the average Australian. Whether you’re planning a huge international adventure abroad, or simply a long weekend getaway, once you book flights, a hotel and factor in the cost of public transport, the cost quickly starts to add up.
But what if we told you there is a way to ensure you book the cheapest flights and squeeze in an extra destination at no extra cost? We spoke to Emily Cairns, a travel expert at Skyscanner Australia and she has some excellent advice on how you can book a holiday on a budget and get more bang for your buck.
1. Keep your options open
If you have a few airports near to you then you could be forgiven for thinking that flights in and out of all of them would be similar prices, however, Emily says that isn’t always the case. “Different airports have different overheads and you can save a packet by comparing flight prices. This works for your arrival airport too. For instance, when I checked I found that travellers heading to Tokyo can save up to $124 by flying into Haneda airport instead of Narita airport,” says Emily.
“However, if you’re not sure where the airports are and how to get to and from them, do some research before booking. Sometimes the cheaper airport can cost you more in transport costs, eliminating any savings you might have made on the fare.”
2. Mix it up
It used to be that booking your return flight with the same carrier would work out cheaper in the long run, but that isn’t so today.
“Doing a comparison of all the flight options on different websites can take hours,” says Emily. “On Skyscanner, every search scours all the airlines at once and brings you the best deal, whether it’s flying out and back with the same airline or mixing it up.”
3. Don’t play the waiting game
Emily says if you know when and where you want to travel but aren’t in any rush to book it’s worthwhile setting up price alerts. “Then you’ll be notified when the flight prices increase or decrease,” says Emily. “Waiting until the last minute isn’t a good idea either. Skyscanner data indicates that travelers often pay a premium by booking their flight at the last minute.”
4. Be flexible
The best way to save money on a holiday is by being flexible with your travel and destination.
“If you are planning for a last-minute getaway and you don’t want to pay over the odds, be flexible with your destination and airline choice by searching for the cheapest destinations during a period of a few weeks, and keep your eyes peeled for flight sales. Alternatively, travelers can make use of the ‘Explore Everywhere’ feature on the Skyscanner App which will show you a list of destinations sorted from cheapest flights to most expensive.
5. Consider a layover
Adding just one layover can result in huge savings for Aussie travelers, so it’s wise to consider travelling a little out of your way if you’re looking to save money.
“On top of cost savings, a layover is also a great way to explore more than one destination without much additional cost. Given that many airports now provide free city tours for travelers with long connecting flights, this is a great chance to sightsee another destination for free, or by simply extending your layover to an overnight stay (or longer!).”
Other budget-savvy tips
- Check to see if the city you are visiting offers a tourist card. Sometimes these can give you entry to multiple sights and attractions, as well as discounted ticket prices.
- Avoid spending money on taxis or airport transfers and check to see if the city you are visiting has a multi-day pass for public transport, then all your transports costs are covered (and capped!) for one low price regardless how much you travel.
- Utilise platforms such as Tripadvisor for hunting down the best hotel prices. This service can show you the properties with the best reviews at the best prices.
- If you’ve only got 24 hours try one of the many hop-on hop-off open-top bus tours that are in almost every big city in the world. That way you’ll get to see all the main attractions, and you can use the bus to get around because you can jump on and off the service as many times as you like in a 24 hour period.
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