Tips For Researching A Holiday Online
For many people, booking and researching for that next holiday can be a real hassle. Especially if you’ve got a real mix of ages as part of your family group whose likes and dislikes you might need to accommodate. You might be forgiven for wanting to just throw in the towel and head to the high street, popping into your local friendly travel agency and just handing over your available dates and budget so that they can do all the leg work! Assuming your town has such a thing anymore! There certainly aren’t as many independent travel agencies around as there used to be, that’s for sure. In part, that’s because high street bricks and mortar space is so expensive but also because it’s so much easier and more fun, to get friends and family around and make a real evening out of researching and picking out that next holiday adventure. You are literally spoilt for choice these days with access to comparison style websites and countless travel blogs and review sites all designed to provide access to the most competitive rates and honest information.
You could even turn to research a holiday online into a whole themed evening! Assuming you’ve narrowed down your selection all ready to say Mexico, Spain or Greece, you could leave the final choice of selecting the actual hotel or villa down to a group decision over tacos, tapas or tahini! Or better still over a Margarita, Sangria or an Ouzo!
So today we’re taking a look at 10 helpful tips you can follow that will make the process less painful and less expensive when it comes to finalizing that next dream holiday destination. Hopefully, that way you will be able to indulge and enjoy spending more of that holiday money you’ve been saving up all year round on more fun activities, like day trips to the local historical sites or adventure parks.
It pays to plan ahead, and you can save yourself some cash by booking some of the important things up front, such as airport car parking and car hire at your destination. That way you don’t run the risk of getting stung at the other end either with some ridiculous local deposit scheme that the trip advisor site never mentioned or being landed with a car that’s really not suitable for your family of five.
Let’s take a look now at 10 helpful tips for researching a holiday online.
1. Private Browsing
If you’re not a frequent traveler and don’t collect points for a particular airline or chain of hotels, then you could save yourself more money than you bargained on by doing your holiday research in private browsing mode. It’s a little-known secret and also a fairly annoying one at that, but there’s a reason why every time you go back and look at that same holiday destination the price seems to be taking an upwards hike. Some sites cleverly detect and then are able to use your browsing history against you, recognizing that you keep eyeing up a Caribbean getaway and stealthily serving up offers to those destinations but with a premium price tag. Cheeky we know but the good news is that there is a way around it.
Depending upon your chosen browser, in Google Chrome you can up open your flight browsing tabs in the “incognito” mode, in Firefox you can opt for the “new provide window” option, users of Microsoft Edge can select “InPrivate window” whereas those of you who favor Safari can right click and open a “new private window”. This way your flight and holiday search history isn’t being recorded so, in theory, you will always be served the most competitive offers. Give it a go! You’ve certainly got nothing to lose!
2. Research The Local Area To Avoid Price Hikes And Surge Pricing
Just as holidays are generally more expensive during peak school holiday times due to supply and demand, the same might also be true of any local planned big sporting events, religious holidays, historical or centenary style celebrations, etc. Surge pricing is when companies, based on what might only be a relatively small increase in demand, increase theirs after sale pricing. This can affect everything from flights to accommodation to car hire and booking local taxis and restaurants. While you may not be able to avoid scheduling a family holiday outside of the main summer holiday period, you can check to ensure that doesn’t additionally clash with what might be a popular time for locals to take their main week of the year off work. It pays to do not just your holiday research but also your local research online.
3. Take A Flexible Approach
If you’re not at all fussed where you go on holiday and have a, “have travel backpack, will travel” kind of attitude, then the world is your oyster. Armed with little more than your travel wallet, credit card, and your passport holder, you should relish the prospect of researching that ultimate far-flung holiday destination and enjoy both the thrill of the adventure as well as potentially reap the rewards of big savings too.
You could just close your eyes and stick a pin in the world map, or you could take advantage of online tools to narrow down your options. Using something like Kayak’s “explore” tool you can find out all the airports that your nearest home airport flies to and take it from there. Google Flights also offers a similar kind of feature. The Momondo app has a fun “go anywhere” option if you’re feeling daring and want to throw caution to the wind whereas apps like Skyscanner allow you to view a whole month worth of flights by day so that you can save yourself potentially a heap of money by cherry picking your flight dates. If you can be flexible with dates and destinations, it really could end up saving you significant dough. Money that you might then choose to spend instead on a new swanky luggage set for your next big adventure!
4. Taking Full Advantage Of Comparison Engines
As with all things in life, it really does pay to shop around, and this is especially true when it comes to booking a holiday online and getting access to the most competitive pricing. From the travel to the accommodation to activities in your chosen resort, entering all your details into a comparison engine will give you a much better idea about the potential overall savings. You might be staggered to find out the difference. Definitely enough to pay for that new travel backpack you had your eye on or a set of fresh packing cubes so that you can really get your travel luggage organized this year.
5. Consider Booking With A Sister Airline
Don’t just go for the obvious choice when it comes to booking your flight. Many well-respected carriers operate along the same route, and if you don’t mind a small stop, rather than going direct, you could save yourself a heap of cash and end up at exactly the same destination, just a few hours behind. This might not be ideal if you’ve got lots of kids in tow and a heap of luggage, backpacks, and passports to contend with. However, if you’re traveling solo or in a couple and don’t mind a few hours in Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin or Madrid for example, you might be able to splash some of the cash you’ve saved to upgrade your room or pay for a few extra meals out and local bottles of wine.
6. Book At The Right Time
The minute Christmas is done and dusted, the holiday ads come rolling along thick and fast, offering the option to book now and pay later. Are you getting the best deals though? You only have to look at services like Skyscanner and Kayak to see that there are definitely cheaper and conversely more expensive times of the year to book flights to some of the worlds most popular destinations so again, it pays to do your online research.
Booking last minute can be a great way to bag a discount, and if you don’t really mind where you go, on what day you travel or indeed the accommodation in which you stay, you could end up with a real beauty of holiday at a surprisingly low price. Again, the more flexible you can be when booking that holiday online, the more likely you are to grab yourself a real bargain.
7. Consider Villas And House Swaps
If you are part of a bigger holiday party, the traditional hotel or package deal might not be your best bet. You could save yourself a heap of cash by opting for a villa, checking out the popular site Air B&B, or considering doing a home swap even. Villas provide far more flexibility overall and definitely work out to be more cost effective if you have a larger group, plus think about all the fun you can potentially have too. A villa is far less restrictive than a hotel plus you don’t have other guests to worry about either and if you don’t mind self-catering, can be a fantastic option.
8. Haggle And Get Yourself A Price Reduction
Even if you are booking online and especially if you are going for a package style holiday, there are generally always discount savings available if you are prepared to haggle or add on additional elements to your overall holiday in order to bring down that final price. Quite often it does work out cheaper to add on features such as car hire and travel insurance and even some trips and activities at the point of booking rather than leaving those to organize at a later date.
9. The DIY Holiday
If you don’t mind shopping around for both your flights and your accommodation, then you might end up saving yourself some money. Most people think that an all-inclusive package style holiday is the cheapest option but that’s not always the case and if you do implement some of our other helpful tips, utilizing comparison sites and being flexible with your dates and destination, you can become the nominated family travel agent!
10. Handy Apps
Take some time to do your research and especially to look at feedback left from other holidaymakers. Something like the app, TripAdvisor is definitely worth checking out both before you go on holiday and also while you are away as you can get the latest intel on local restaurants, bars, and attractions and not just on the quality, friendliness and cleanliness of hotels.
You might also want to consider downloading Google Translate too before you head off on your holiday. It has a super handy feature where you can hold up your smartphone’s camera to a body, and it will automatically translate it. Unbelievably convenient when you are trying to find something suitable for the kids to eat on a confusing menu.