Money Saving Travel Tips
In these economic times, everyone wants to save as much money as they can and keep things cheap, however it seems that most people do not want to sacrifice taking a holiday, or there are business trips that still need to be taken. Either way, there are a number of things you can bear in mind to keep those costs down, and below we have listed some great money saving travel tips to keep you flying, but with less expense.
The first 'no-no' when it comes to getting foreign currency is to avoid the airport cashiers. They typically offer uncompetitive exchange rates, and will often charge a higher commission than other suppliers.
Some of the best deals can often be found with your own bank, or the Post Office. It might also pay to order currency in advance to take advantage of fluctuations in the exchange rate.
An increasingly popular solution is that of Foreign Currency Pre-Pay Credit Cards. The cards effectively work like a credit card, only you have to top them up with credit first. You can only spend up to the amount you have 'loaded' on to the card. Apart from the added security of not having to carry cash around, and instead using a card with a PIN, these cards will often offer very competitive exchange rates. They also work to the exchange rate at the time you put credit onto the card, opposed to using the exchange rate at the time of purchase. Bearing this in mind it can pay to load the card up when you know the exchange rate is in your favour.We have listed a number of providers of Foreign Currency Cards below:
If you fly relatively regularly, it can be worth signing up to any number of the frequent flyer programs that the airlines operate. They all work to the same theory of each time you fly, you earn a number of 'miles' that you can eventually redeem for a full flight, or can spend with partnering firms (car hire, hotels etc).
Whilst you will need to fly a lot to collect enough miles to be able to book a 'free' flight, it is worth doing. The programs list below are the most relevant for flying from Birmingham.
And it's not just flights you can save money on. A number of larger hotel chains also offer their own loyalty programs such as the A|Club from Accor. These work on the same principal where you will collect points for each time you stay at a hotel, which will eventually build up allowing you to book a hotel stay using just your points.
In terms of booking your travel, there are a vast number of different places you can go to, not least the internet, and it is here that you will most likely find the best bargains. One of the decisions you will need to make is whether you wish to buy a package holiday from an agent or tour operator, or would you prefer to buy the separate components yourself, something known as dynamic packaging.
With dynamic packaging you can hunt the internet for the best priced flights, which are most likely going to be the no-frills airlines (easyJet, Ryanair, bmibaby, flybe etc). You will also get the benefit of picking when you want to fly, which is great if you don't fancy arriving at your location at 10:00pm! You can then book a hotel separately through sites like expedia, hotels.com and booking.com. The advantage of this is that you can be far more selective with dates, and perhaps spend a bigger portion of your budget on the aspect that suits you. Don't forget to also check the price comparison sites such as skyscanner for flights and travelsupermarket.com. That said, you may also find going directly to the hotel itself offers a cheaper alternative as they sometimes have promotional offers not provided elsewhere.
However, the large tour operators can still offer excellent prices, and you also get the advantage of not having to do a lot of research yourself. Check out First Choice, Thomson, Thomas Cook etc.
Book Very Early, Or Very Late
You will often find the best prices can found if you book your trip a long way in advance, or at last minute. Although this does depend on the type of supplier you are booking with. For example, a scheduled airline (KLM, Lufthansa etc) will offer cheaper prices far in advance, where the opposite is true for the no frills flights, where you can leave it very late and find the lowest prices for a flight only one week away.
Share Your Tips
If you've got some great money saving tips that you think would help fellow BHX travelers, why not add it to our Travel Tips page.