I am ITCHING to get booking my first wild escapade but you know what they say, “don’t run a marathon before you do a few lunges”.
Okay FINE. No one says that.
But basically, I’m just trying to point out that there’s a few little ‘warm up’ tricks one can do before going batshit cray-cray on the credit card.
1. Sign up to holiday deal websites and newsletters
To get the best deals, you need to know what’s out there and a good way to stay in the know is to sign up to some travel newsletters.
A few personal faves are:
Now, I know what you’re about to say.
NO ONE NEEDS MORE EMAILS IN THEIR ALREADY CLUTTERED INBOX, CHELSEA.
And I’m with you. So I use Unroll.Me which not only unsubscribes you from pesky emails (found out I was signed up to 133 of those bad boys t’other day – bleak) but also allows you to add newsletters into one daily ‘rollup’.
2. Set travel alerts
We all have a dream location in mind. Like, imagine being able to say “here’s me in St. Barts with my friend Edna”.
If you’ve also got an idea of when you’d like to go, travel alerts let you know when the flight’s price changes – be that up or down.
I use Skyscanner for this (like I said, obsessed) but you could also use other flight comparison sites, such as Kayak.
3. Be ready
You’re sat in work one day and an email pops into your inbox. You rub your eyes. You can’t quite believe it. GOOD GOD they’re offering direct flights to BOGNOR REGIS for only £2500! It’s the bargain of the century!
Between sharp breaths, your shaking hand clicks on the link and just as you’re about to checkout you remember – you don’t have the money, you don’t have your details and you don’t know who you’re going with.
Incredible deals, including online glitches, go quick or get fixed so don’t hang about. Whilst money is a no-brainer, it can be easy to forget that you need personal details when you’re booking.
Quite often airlines don’t require a passport number at checkout, but they do need to know everyone’s date of birth and name as it appears on their official documentation.
4. Sign up for cashback
Who the hell doesn’t like free money?
Whilst cashback sites are no new trick, I often speed through an online checkout and only remember later than I could have claimed money back on it.
Quidco and Top Cashback both offer a downloadable extension that notifies you when you’re on a site with cashback. I personally found this a little too invasive so I just try my best to remember.
If you join Quidco via this link, we’ll both get a tenner (WHEYYY) but I’ve actually just swapped to Top Cashback as Quidco’s success rate on paying out was about 40%, so I’m giving something new a go.
In fact, that’s important to remember. Don’t book something because of a promise of cashback – you may never get it. Just think of it as a bonus if it does come.
5. Get a railcard
A 13 hours and 23 minute train from Aberdeen to Penzance not your idea of a holiday? (Yes, that’s a real train route). No worries. Railcards can still come in use.
10 airports in the UK have their own railway station so you can cut down on a third of your travel costs before you even fly.
Woah – what’s that? Not 16-25? (I feel your pain, bro).
There are a few more options but my favourite is the Two Together railcard. You don’t need to be romantically involved (can you IMAGINE having to send in EVIDENCE to PROVE IT – HA) and so you can get one with your best mate, your colleague or even your Nan.
All railcards are £30 but there’s ALWAYS a 10% discount if you search the web.
Is it worth it? Well, it depends on how much you travel. If you’re having to take the train to a different city to fly, it usually pays for itself but even if you just need a return ticket between London Victoria and Gatwick, a railcard makes the journey £10.65 cheaper each.
Two holidays a year and you’ve saved yourself £15.60. That’s enough for a pint each and a sudoku book at the airport.
ALSO – if you do have a 16-25 railcard, did you know that you can add it to your Oyster card?
IKR. GAME CHANGER.
(Mine expires in Feb. I am so sad).
So there you have it – 5 quick tips to help you cement your way to a top holiday deal.
Now, it’s about time I start my own booking otherwise I’m gonna have to take up that Bognor Regis deal…