click on the logo & visit our website for exciting holiday packages

Monday, April 23, 2012

Be Smart and Save Money When You're on Vacation This Summer

This summer if you are keen on saving your money while on holiday, it’s high time you started planning for it. The biggest reason to make haste is to not only make sure you get a room at the popular hotels, especially in the affordable category, but to also bag the early booking discount that hotels, airlines and cruises round the world are happy to roll out. However, this is just the beginning of your savings potential. If you do your research right, you can save anywhere from 20% to 40% on your total trip. Time your travel YOU CAN SAVE 10-30% since the room rates are this much higher in peak season than in the months immediately preceding it.

The surest way to big savings is to time your travel in such a way that you reach your holiday destination either just before its peak season or after it is over. This way you won’t have to worry about bagging discounts at the risk of the weather playing party pooper nor will you have to deal with crowds. So let the hordes descend on the hill stations of India or foreign hotspots like Singapore, Switzerland and Spain, there are better rates and less hurried service to be had in places that are just a little warmer or wetter. Like Kerala, Cambodia, or if you can handle it, Egypt. 

According to industry insiders, shoulder season rates on hotels, tour packages as well as cruises are typically 10% to 30% lower than the peak season rates. The key to bagging a cheaper deal is to book early. You will save at least 10-15% if you book as early as two months in advance. 

Save on stays YOU CAN SAVE 5-10% on room rent. For instance, Alleppey is pretty similar to Kumarakom, yet average room rates are lower by almost 5%

Let’s start with the obvious: B&Bs, serviced apartments and homestays will always score over hotels when it comes to the more-for-less stakes. That is, more amenities that you actually need, like a kitchenette and free laundry facilities, for fewer bucks. 

A good way to maximise your savings without entirely giving up on some luxurious pampering is by choosing self-catering options in the big cities and go for fancier hotels in smaller towns and offbeat destinations. For instance, three star hotels in Kumarakom start at Rs.2,600 (approx) per night, the same category hotels in Alleppey (or Alappuzha) can be booked for just Rs.1,000 a night. The famed houseboat cruises from Alleppey are comparatively cheaper as well. Similarly, your money will fetch a far better room in Vincennes than in Paris, yet it is just a short metro ride away from all the must-see attractions.

So you know where to go, what you want to do, and have drawn up your budget accordingly. The next big question is, how to book your holiday. Is it cheaper to book online or is it better to take the traditional tour operator route? There is a catch with pure OTAs (Online Travel Agents). You may get a cheap fare for a particular sector for one or two tickets, but that fare may not be there for a group of 6-8 people. Similarly complicated itineraries require face-to-face interaction. You can’t buy foreign exchange online you have to physically go to a money changer. Furthermore not many Indians have the credit limit or even the faith to make huge travel purchases with credit card and most payments are still made at retail outlets of travel service providers.

Another big problem with OTAs is with reference to cancellation of your trip and getting the refund for the same. Many of the OTAs in India typically have one toll free no. After cancellation online (which is very easy) every time you try to know the status of your refund, you will be connected to a new customer care (?) executive, to whom you have to explain everything right from the beginning. This process will continue till you get the refund. 

Invest time and do your research right, and big savings are sure to follow. Fly smart YOU CAN SAVE 14-18% if you use the multi-city flight tool while booking tickets online for city-hopping tours
Apart from when you book your flight, the day and the time of your flight also has a bearing on the fares. According to, the slowest days of the week, Tuesdays, Wednes days and Saturdays, always offer the cheapest airfare. For instance, the Jet Airways web site shows a Delhi-Mumbai flight costing Rs.4,911 on Monday, 4 June, but the fare for the next two days is Rs.4,774. This price differential is usually more pronounced on international flights. Similarly, a late morning or an afternoon flight can sometimes be found margin ally cheaper than an early morning or a late night one, which is when corporate slaves pre dominantly hog the flights.

If you are planning a multiple city itiner ary, make sure you avail of the multi-city flight booking option now offered by all the leading travel portals. This not only makes planning easier, but also saves money. Suppose, this June you are flying to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, from Delhi and book individual flights, your total cost works out to 58,477 per head if you add the cheapest air fares for each leg of the journey. However, the lowest fare yielded by the multi-city tool is 49,762 a person. A random check of 10 other multi-city itineraries yielded discounts of 14-18% over separate bookings.

Airlines typically start actively ‘managing’ prices three or four months before any departure date, and booking a flight any earlier may mean that you end up paying more. Booking your tickets too close to the travel date will definitely increase the fare both on domestic and international sectors.
If you are headed for foreign shores, the best way to explore a destination is to go beyond the tourist hotspots and visit the countryside. Suppose you choose to book a self-catering cottage in a small town for a week—this is when you get the best rates—and make short day trips all around. Relying on public transport will mean more walking and longer waiting time. Having a car at your disposal will allow you to get more out of each day of sightseeing. It works out even cheap er if you are travelling in a group. However car rentals in a big city can be a waste of money and finding parking is a nightmare.

If you pick up the vehicle at non-airport locations, you can save up to 15%. You’ll save more if you book a car online and do it well before you take off for your destination.

While everyone tries hard to get great deals on accommodation and travel, very few pay attention to the exchange rate. But this can nullify whatever savings you notch up through your careful research. Avoid the exchange bureaus at tourist hotspots, airports and hotels like the plague. For instance, be prepared for a 10% mark-up on exchange rates at airports no matter where you go.

A good option would be to carry a prepaid travel card, which fixes the exchange rate as prevalent on the day of loading the card and can be easily reloaded as and when required. More importantly, they are usu ally cheaper than swiping your debit or credit card overseas. Unfortunately, these cards can be loaded with limited curren cies, so you have to rely on good old traveller’s cheques. Remember, the more currency you exchange, the better rate you can swing.

We are here to hep in making your vacation memorable and within your budget. Contact us today!