Travelling abroad once a year is achievable for most working families. Spending less money on travel to be able go away more than once, however, can be a bigger challenge. If this sounds familiar then you need to learn the best ways to save money on international travel by using this step by step guide to finding the cheapest travel deals online.
This process doesn’t require any special abilities. It's more to do with where to look and how to scan the vast number of travel offers in the most efficient manner which will help you uncover the biggest bargains thus giving you the best value for money.
Over the past five years, there's been a concentrated popularity among Australians to travel to either one of the following top five destinations. The list below is sorted in order of the most popular destinations travelled to during 2015, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics:
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
Step One - Defining
The first step to saving money on travel is planning where exactly it is that you wish to go and what you want to do. Failing to plan is the same as planning to fail. Thinking outside of the box can also save you large amounts of cash as well, e.g. don’t try and go where everyone else is going, you will only pay more for less.
Baring that in mind, it’s time to define the following details about your upcoming trip by answering these questions:
- Hot or cold destination?
- Amount of days spent away?
- Number of people travelling?
- Type of accommodation needed?
- What are you comfortable spending?
Once you have determined the above details about your trip it’s time to begin the fun part of planning your holiday.
Step Two – Planning
There are numerous websites out there in the expansive space of the Internet which are designed to save you money. The key areas that you want to focus on initially are the flights and hotel as these are usually the most costly. It always helps lower costs if you have friends or family to stay with abroad, but let’s assume you are choosing a destination where you don't know anyone.
Firstly you need to get yourself to your destination and with the price of airfares not dropping inline with decreasing oil prices, finding the cheapest flight possible can save a big chunk on the overall cost of your trip. In a previous blog article I discussed the top 5 websites to use for finding cheap flight bargains online. The list of the top online flight comparison websites were:
If you only want to browse for potential options right now as you're doing your research ahead of time, I would highly suggest setting up flight price alerts at the same time. This is a feature that most of the above websites have which basically notifies you of any price reductions on saved flight routes. So if your dream holiday destination suddenly drops to within budget, you would be one of the first to know.
Top Flight Bargain Tips
- Statistically, flight prices on average are always cheapest on a Tuesday.
- They're also usually cheapest 4-6 weeks prior to the travel date.
- Early morning flights generally cost less than afternoon or evening alternatives.
- Select the month view of flight prices to easily spot the most affordable days of each month to travel.
Similar to flights, there are numerous hotel comparison websites available online. However in my opinion the best site to use is Trivago, because it's a metasearch engine showing price comparisons for all the major hotel booking websites (e.g. Expedia, Hotels.com, Wotif, Lastminute.com.au, etc). This will save you tons of time in having to browse all those sites separately, and Trivago's interface allows you to very quickly see which booking website is offering the best price on a specific hotel.
Begin by choosing your destination and your preferred dates of travel. Once the options have loaded you may narrow down your search with a variety of filters e.g. customer ratings, price per night, amenities available and star rating.
Scroll through your results to see which online booking website offers the best hotel bargains in your chosen destination. I have selected a hotel in London called ‘SO Park’ to give you an example of how visually easy Trivago makes it to see the best price in the market.
Once you have compiled a list of suitable accommodation, you're ready to start finalising your travel deal hunt. It's up to you as to whether you'd prefer to perform the final step (step three below) at either the beginning or the end of the process. However, I have placed it at the end since I much prefer to search for destinations first without being governed entirely by which specific travel company is offering a discount. This way you broaden your search right from the outset and then narrow it down based on money saving opportunities afterwards.
Step Three – Maximising Your Savings
Now that you have of your holiday destination, airline and hotel aspects all figured out, it's time to take the saving process one-step further. So before you actually book and pay for anything, you should be checking to see whether either the airline or hotel chain you're looking at have any special offers on at the moment which weren't immediately visible from your research in step two above.
Doing so may expose combo deals (e.g. "Save 15% off hotel + flight bookings") or a coupon code discount. Whatever you do though, this final step is the key to turning a good overall price into a bargain.
A good place to start, is by visiting the Buckscoop website and searching on our coupons and vouchers page to see if your chosen travel companies are running any special coupon codes. If there aren't any active codes available currently, keep checking as most companies tend to release new codes on a bi-weekly basis. Here are just a few options to get you started:
- Webjet coupon codes
- Virgin Australia promo codes
- Hotels.com discount coupons
- Expedia coupons
- Helloworld promotion codes
- HotelClub discount codes
Alternatively, if you don’t find any coupon/discount/promo codes, head over to our deals page and search for travel deals, using the search bar to the right. These, combined with the money saving techniques above, should hopefully significantly increase your chances of finding some of the top Australian travel bargains hidden amongst the ocean of choices.