When going abroad, you can save a lot of money with loyalty cards, last minute offers, exchange rates, etc. In the following article, we will present some tips that you should follow before booking your flight or hotel.
Look for destinations with favorable exchange rates
If you’re planning a trip abroad, the first step is to look for destinations with favorable exchange rates, meaning places where the local currencies are weak against your home currency. Look for countries that are experiencing temporary political or economic instability, this often puts pressure and depreciates currencies.
One caveat: don’t rush to take advantage of favorable exchange rates if it means putting yourself at risk. Most often, currency devaluation is a symptom of deeper problems. This is an example that mainly applies to American tourists, but it illustrates the problem perfectly. Since 2013, the Mexican peso has fallen more than 25% against the U.S. dollar, in part due to widespread cartel violence. It’s a tempting proposition for travelers looking for a bargain – as long as they avoid the hot spots well.
Set up price alerts
Set up price alert emails for every hotel or flight you search online. Do this initially every time you start planning a new trip using different sites.
To avoid overloading your inbox every time the price drops slightly, set your alert thresholds low – say 20% instead of 5%. And remember to remove them immediately after booking.
Negotiate room rates directly with the hotel or hostel
Most travelers don’t realize it, but hotels, airlines, and car rental companies pay dearly for the business they broker through online booking sites. Their commissions can be as high as 15%, which means they keep only 85% of the payment after tax. That’s why more and more hotels are asking customers to book directly – and why there’s room for hard-nosed negotiators who want to communicate their proposals to on-site management.
Instead of accepting online prices at face value, use them as a starting point when booking rooms at hotels and hostels. Once you get the prices, call the location directly and ask for a reduction. This tactic also works well for car rentals. Airlines tend to be more bureaucratic, so negotiating directly with agents may not work.
Use a site that offers refunds when you make your reservation
Booking commissions are important because they open the door to impressive savings at the point of sale or cash back on your reservation. The secret lies in cashback sites and browser plugins that work with booking sites. These tools take a portion of the booking commission and direct the rest back to users in the form of cash back or instant refunds
Just make sure that the solution you choose is compatible with your browser and does not negatively impact your browsing speed or performance. You’ll also need to make sure you’re using a regular browser (not incognito mode) to enable cookies for tracking purposes.
Join loyalty programs on the go
Even if you don’t have a proper credit card, joining travel loyalty programs from certain retailers never hurts. It’s almost always free, and the benefits are incredible: free or cheaper airfare, accommodations, car rentals, upgrades, extra perks, and more.
Look for last minute deals
Last-minutetravel planning is stressful and often more expensive than booking well in advance – but not always. If you need last-minute accommodations, check last-minute deal sites. Hotels use sites and apps like these to unload excess advertising inventory at greatly reduced rates, often as much as a week in advance. Savings generally increase as the day of your stay approaches, so this strategy is especially useful if you book the day before or even in the morning
You may also get lucky with last-minute reservations on blind booking sites. The same principle applies: savings generally increase as your travel dates get closer. But since blind booking sites usually start from a cheaper base, the savings can be even more impressive.