When it comes to booking travel, the best deals can be found online. However, taking advantage of this can sometimes require quite a bit of work on your part and often it doesn’t feel worth the hassle just to save a few dollars.
Savvy travellers, however, have come to realise that nabbing these deals can be easier than you think, as long as you know how and where to look. Getting the best travel deals online doesn’t have to mean hours of trawling the internet or setting your alarm for 2 o’clock in the morning for some crazy sale. These five tips for getting the best online travel deals are the easiest and most practical way to score the cheapest offers on the market.
Search & compare
Unless you have your heart set on one particular hotel or resort, start by comparing your options not only by price but also by location and facilities. You might be surprised to find that a cheaper 4 star property offers a better range of facilities than the more expensive 5 star resort next door.
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, search for them individually online to see who is advertising the cheapest price. While many people think booking directly with the hotel will mean getting the best deal, this is typically not the case. The resort may be advertising the cheapest price but often these rates are notoriously hard to get and don’t include any extra value such as airport transfers, meals or activities.
Get more for less
Despite what many people think, getting the best online travel deal isn’t always about paying the least amount of money. Sure, you definitely want to get your holiday at the cheapest price possible, but you also need to consider value for money.
Holiday packages are a great way to enjoy significant savings on more than just your accommodation. Offering special discounts for ‘buying in bulk’ these packages let you combine everything from your hotel and flights to your airport transfers, meals, tours and activities, car hire, travel insurance and more. Unless you plan on walking from the airport to your resort, you’re going to need most of these things anyway so you might as well save on them too and enjoy the added ease of booking everything at the same time.
Subscribe and save
Sick of doing all the work? Let the best deals come to you! Sign up to receive newsletters from all the top travel providers then sit back, relax and wait for the best deals to be delivered to your inbox.
Another great way to let deals land in your lap is to ‘like’ all these travel providers on Facebook. Often deals are offered exclusively to their email or social audience so you’ll be the first to hear about great deals (and avoid the disappointment of them selling out). Not to mention, once you start interacting with these companies in the online and social sphere, you’ll start to notice ads targeted to your interests popping up out of nowhere. This is good news for you because it makes your research that much easier.
One of the best ways to get a great deal is to try to be as flexible as possible. Not only on what dates you travel, but also potentially where you travel to. Sure, if you’ve been dreaming of a magical overwater bungalow escape to Bora Bora for as long as you can remember, then don’t compromise on that. But if you’re just looking for a family holiday or a relaxing escape, consider similar destinations and see which is cheaper.
For example Vanuatu, Fiji and the Cook Islands are all fairly similar destinations. They all have beautiful beaches, wonderful weather, unique culture and friendly locals so price up a trip for each and see which one comes out on top price-wise. Of course being flexible on which dates you travel will also help you to score the best deals.
Once you’ve found the cheapest price – get it even cheaper! Whether they advertise it proudly as part of their service or are a little more hush hush about it, most travel providers are willing to offer a price match, meaning that if you find a better travel deal they’ll at least match if not beat that price.
This can be a particularly powerful resource for travellers who find a cheaper deal on a less trustworthy website. A price match guarantee allows you to benefit from a cheaper price, while still enjoying the peace of mind that comes with dealing with a reputable company. Just be sure you’re comparing apples with apples, in order to take advantage of a price match the deal on offer has to be exactly the same as what’s being offered by the competitor.
About the author
Glenn Checkley is the Managing Director of TravelOnline.com. Having worked in the travel industry for close to 15 years, Glenn is an expert on the Australian travel industry and online travel markets.