Not too long ago, when booking a vacation, you would speak to a travel agent and they would give you a range of options to choose from. In a bigger city there might be a dozen or so travel agencies, and in smaller cities there might have only been one or two.
In some ways, this made traveling more difficult, because prices were less competitive. In other ways, it made life so much simpler, because now we are flooded with so many choices that we are often unable to make a decision.
Take booking a flight. On one day, you might find a trip to Europe priced at around $1,000 for a return ticket. Two days later that same ticket might cost $1,500 or even $800. Depending on the time of year or the location, prices can easily fluctuate by more than 100%.
To make things even more complicated, we might not be satisfied to simply find the cheapest flight. We need to take account of the length of time we’d like to spend in the country, how long we’d like the flight to last, and the food and service we’d like to receive.
When you’re booking a flight, it’s rarely a good choice to select the cheapest option, particularly for longer journeys. Often the cheapest flights might last twice as long, taking you on a wild detour to reach your destination. By spending only 10% more, you can often halve your flight time and make your experience a lot more enjoyable.
Of course, it comes down to how much you can afford, but often spending that extra 10% can really make a difference, particularly for longer trips.
Many people end up booking hotels through services like Expedia. What many people don’t know is that Expedia charges the hotel a commission on each sale that is processed through its site, which inevitably makes the hotel more expensive for you. Of course, you might not have discovered the hotel had it not been for Expedia, and that’s why the hotel is happy to pay the commission.
To save money, savvy travelers often call the hotel directly and ask for a discount if they book directly. Be sure to ask, or otherwise they’ll just quote their standard rates. Expect to save somewhere between 5% and 25% by using this method. It won’t always be effective, but it never hurts to try.
Another great way to save money is to consider a membership group, such as Royal Holiday travel services. These types of groups typically charge a one-time fee and a recurring yearly cost thereafter. In return, you will save a huge amount on each booking. These types of programs reward regular travelers. When you are deciding which club to join, it’s a good idea to make sure that they have a great selection of hotels and a strong balance sheet. You want to ensure the group will be around for a while, and you’ll have a great choice of places to visit.