Ask anyone about anything they wish to do more of; they would promptly reply, “I wish I could travel more, only if I had the money”. Doesn’t matter if you are a luxury traveller looking to unwind from the daily chores in an exotic resort or a nomadic backpacker out on the road less taken; money must have influenced your decision while choosing a destination at least once.
I know it did influence mine many a time.
By a little advance planning and homework, you can save almost 50% of your travel costs, if not more. The most expensive part of your journey is the transportation and accommodation part and ironically those are the ones where you can save the most.
Here are a few useful tips, which have always helped me in reducing my travel costs, thereby awarding an extra week or two of travel and adventure.
1. The Deal Sites
Starting from airfares, accommodations and vacation packages to car rentals, you can find them all here, but at discounted rates. Check for your planned destination and you might find a deal which can considerably reduce your costs.
For deals on International Airfares, check sites like myairdeals and airfarewatchdog to find any deal suitable to your destination.
Some of the local deal sites like groupon.co.in can offer amazing accommodation deals at almost 40 to 50% discount.
I checked for cheap accomodation in Delhi for my next trip to the Himalayas and got almost 40% straight discounts. As an added advantage, they also offer flight coupons like other coupon sites.
2. The Coupon Sites
The Coupon Sites can be very handy when you are booking your air tickets from a ticketing agent site. They provide Coupon Codes/Promo Codes, which can earn up to 10% – 15% flat discount on the base fares.
Try cuponation.in, they have quite a few working coupons for the India based ticketing agent sites
3. The Fare Aggregator Sites
The Fare Aggregators comb the internet to find the lowest airfares for you. They also open up multiple ticketing agent sites for a single search click.
4. The Local Low Cost Carriers
If you feel the aggregators will always give you the best deal, you must be expecting too much. There are hoards of low cost airlines, which are not often listed by these aggregators.
In India, for an instance, I haven’t seen aggregators listing Indigo, JetConnect and SpiceJet often, which are by far the best low cost carriers in the country.
I compared makemytrip.com (an Indian travel company) with kayak.com (fare aggregator) and found a whopping 23% discount for the same date and destination.
The parameters were Hyderabad-Colombo-Hyderabad, departing on 24th Jan, 2013 and returning on 3rd Feb, 2013.
So the bottom-line is, don’t miss any low cost carrier while planning your air travel.
You can refer to Wikipedia for finding the country specific list of low cost carriers.
5. Twitter Offers
This might not sound the best place to find a travel deal to you, but do you know almost 10% of travelers worldwide say that they have used twitter at least once in their travel planning.
Twitter, the free social media tool that allows you to follow messages from any organization or individual can actually be a goldmine of offers and freebies.
Follow the tourism boards, airlines, hotels and tour agencies that are related to your destination on twitter and you can never know when you land up being a contest winner, which provides free stays or a free return ticket.
6. Go Couchsurfing
Couchsurfing.com is an innovative concept where you can find a couch in someone’s house for free, considering they are ready to host you.
But mind you, Couchsurfing should not be considered solely for the purpose of a free bed. It promises incredible local experiences and local tips on the best places and activities around a destination.
See you there soon!
7. Vacation Rentals
What if you get a chance to stay in someone’s house, use his car, chauffeur and cook for half the price of staying in a hotel, while he is away on a vacation?
Yes, it’s possible using vacation rental websites that allows you to book a property for a couple of nights to a month.
You can choose a decent property located close to your interests and activities yet pay half the price of staying in a hotel.
I am sure these tips will help you in planning your trip better and after reading this if you really make some savings in your travel budget then you owe me a coffee!