top tips for booking a cheap holiday

So, I think you all know how much I like booking cheap holidays by now and after completing 10 trips away in 2017, what would I say were my top tips for getting away for a good price?

Use search engines to find the cheapest dates to fly

Forget hitting search and hoping for the best prices on the dates you’ve searched for, websites like Skyscanner, Kayak, Momondo and Google Flights allow you to see when it’s cheapest to fly to your desired destination.

I particularly like Skyscanner’s ‘cheapest month’ option.Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 17.30.47.png

Be flexible with your location

If you’re not too sure where to go, Skyscanner and Kayak also allow you to see what locations are the cheapest for your timeframe.

Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 17.31.20

You can do this by typing in ‘Everywhere’ for the destination on Skyscanner, or by clicking the ‘explore’ function on Kayak.

Always check comparison sites before booking your hotel

Trivago is a great option for checking you’ve got the best price for your hotel. My extra tip here is to always click on ‘More Deals’ and don’t just settle for the collection of prices they offer you. Whilst you’ll find prices from a variety of lesser known hotels, I recently saved an extra £20 by booking through them!

Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 17.36.27Ask for an upgrade!

You know what they say – if you don’t ask, you don’t get. I ALWAYS email the hotel once when booking and again a few days before arriving to tell them how excited I am to stay and to let them know it’s a special occasion. Don’t feel comfortable with lying? You’re not. A holiday IS a special occasion and don’t you ever forget that! In the last year this trick has worked 3 times, the best being upgraded on a work trip from the smallest room in the hotel to a suite!

Don’t stay in a hotel

Airbnb has been around long enough that most of us know the huge savings that can be made from staying in someone’s home when abroad, however there are plenty of other option to check out as well. My favourites are windmu, ownersdirect, holidaylettings and homestay.

Sign up for cashback

I always say to not book just because of a good cashback deal (sometimes they don’t come through and you’re left feeling cheated) but you should definitely buy through cashback sites to earn a little bonus on all of your holiday booking. And don’t just stop at hotels and flights – you can save on travel insurance, car hire and a whole host of different areas as well. I use TopCashback and in the last year, I’ve earned more than £100 by doing absolutely nothing extra. Winner.

Check for codes before booking

Always check to see if there are any voucher codes floating around the internet. For example, if you were booking through hotels.com I’d search ‘hotels.com voucher codes’ and ‘hotels.com promo code’ on both Google and Twitter. It doesn’t always pay off but when it does, it sure feels sweet! Also, if you’ve never used Airbnb before you can usually get around £30 off your first stay if a friend refers you.

Get yourself free accommodation

What better way than to keep costs down than by getting your accommodation for free! Yes, free. Home and pet sitting means that owners have someone looking after their house and animals whilst they’re away and you get totally free accommodation (albeit with a sprinkle of responsibility thrown in there). I used a site called nomador to stay in a beautiful house in Paris for 14 days this summer, looking after a sweet cat called Biscotte. I loved it!

Hit the road

What happens when holidaymakers do a road trip from one place to another? A lonely campervan is left miles away from its home with no way of getting back. And that’s where you come in! Wickedcampers and Spaceship Rentals are amongst the companies that offer relocation deals where you could bag a vehicle from just £1 a day as long as you return it back to where it belongs. Heading to the US or Australia? Try imoova or jucy.

Sign up for error flight updates

An error flight is when some wally who works for head office/computer cocks up and posts a flight for a whole lot cheaper than it’s supposed to be. Airlines can refuse the flight and refund you your money but now and again they will honour them. Now, just happening on one of these bad boys is a bit like finding a needble in a haystack so instead websites such as Secret Flying, Jack’s Flight Club and Holiday Pirates are all on it – I’d recommend signing up to their facebook pages for updates and other holiday bargains in your social feeds.

Plan to be spontaneous

I know it sounds a tad hypocritical but if you see a great deal, you often don’t have much time to leap on it. Therefore, it definitely won’t hurt you to know who you’d like to go away with, know when they’re able to get time off, have their passport details to hand and know how you’re going to pay so that you can jump on a deal when it comes your way.

So there’s my top tips – I hope they bring you as much holiday booking luck as they have for me!

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