8 Insider Secrets Travel Agents Don’t Want You To Know
When people get fed up with the miserable weather in Britain, they will often check out the latest holiday deals at their local travel agents. Let’s face it: many people are beginning to forget what sunshine looks like, as grey clouds and rain are often a familiar sight in the UK!
If you’re wondering where to go for your next summer holiday adventure, don’t make a special trip to your local travel agent just yet. That’s because you must arm yourself with the industry secrets they would rather you didn’t know. If you want to book your ideal summer sun getaway, take a look at these holiday secrets that’ll help you save money and have an excellent time! Here’s what you need to know:
1. It’s easy to find out when flights become cheaper
There was once a time where it got instilled in you that booking your flights way in advance meant you saved a pile of cash. In reality, that doesn’t always happen. Did you know that, in some cases, it could be cheaper to book nearer the time of your holiday?
Travel agents won’t tell you when prices are likely to drop for obvious reasons. But, the good news is you can use Kayak to notify you when flights on specific routes and dates go down in price. Plus, their website even gives you a guide as to the likelihood of when prices will get cheaper.
2. It’s often cheaper to book your own excursions
One of the reasons travel agents are such a draw to travellers is because they offer package holiday deals. That means you pay one price for your holiday, and the flights, accommodation, meals, and excursions get included in each deal. The thing is, travel agents are seldom likely to tell you that you can often get excursions cheaper if you booked directly with the providers.
Often, excursion providers can offer extra discounts if you’re booking a large group of people. That’s brilliant news if there’s a bunch of folks travelling together, for instance.
3. There’s more than one way to pay
Usually, when you book a holiday through a travel agency, you have to pay for your trip upfront. Some of the larger travel agencies offer a scheme where you pay a deposit now and the rest of the balance 6-8 weeks before you travel. It’s worth knowing there are other ways you can pay for your holiday.
For instance, you could apply for a credit card that offers 0% interest over the first 12 months, and pay off the holiday over the year. Or you could approach providers like Buddy Loans and take out a short-term loan to cover the costs. And if you use the right payment methods and pay for your accommodation, flights, or excursions in a different currency to GBP, you could save extra cash as well.
4. Get flight prices in different currencies
Here’s a little-known secret about the airline industry: you don’t have to pay for your flights in GBP! For example, let’s say you were flying to Australia, and you got flight costs from the Qantas UK website. If you use the Australian site, you’re likely to find that you’ll pay less for your flights. It sounds crazy, but there’s plenty of documented evidence to show it works!
5. Remember to clear your cookies
Most people know that many websites store ‘cookies’ on their computers – small files that store data (information) about their visits. The websites of travel agencies, flight operators, and accommodation providers will always store some identifying data about your visits. That’s why when you go to such sites in the future, they tend to ‘remember’ your search details from your previous visit.
You may not realise it, but many travel-related sites use that information to their advantage by hiking up prices on previous searches. That’s why it makes sense to clear your web browser’s cookies before any new visit. Alternatively, use your browser’s ‘private browsing’ mode as it won’t allow sites to store cookies on your computer permanently.
6. Check out social media for the latest deals
Did you know that travel-related companies post up special social media offers that are unlikely to get seen elsewhere on the Internet? Whether you’re a Facebook or Twitter user, be sure to like or follow the profiles of travel companies relevant to your next holiday destination.
Doing so will give you the heads-up on things like offers, flash sales, and so on. Travel agents will never tell you about this money-saving method of paying less for your next holiday!
7. Consider splitting your flights for extra savings
Have you ever heard about ‘split ticketing’? If you haven’t, it’s a way of paying less for journeys on public transport. But, it’s also widely used by savvy travellers when they want to keep their flight costs down. It’s also a money-saving tip that you will rarely hear about from travel agents.
You might think that it’ll take you ages to work out which flight splits will save you money, but there’s an easy way to go about it. All you need to do is enter your flight details at Skiplagged, and it’ll do the hard work for you!
8. Don’t buy currency at the airport
The larger travel agencies offer in-store currency exchange services. They offer the service to make life easier for their customers, but that convenience comes at a cost. And, you will usually end up paying more than necessary for any currency exchanges – even if their services get advertised as ‘0% commission’.
Instead of buying currency at the airport, get your cash from a local bureau de change. Did you know that some supermarkets like Tesco even have in-store currency exchange services?
You should also get a free prepaid debit card from a provider like Revolut and ‘load it’ with money from your personal bank account. Once you’ve done that, you can withdraw cash when you’re abroad and not pay extortionate currency exchange fees!
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