Updated: May 16, 2018
Do you love to travel, but don’t want to go bankrupt? If the answer is yes, then this blog is meant for you!
I have been travelling rather actively in the last few years and have learnt a thing or two about travelling smartly. Let me share some secrets with you.
Flights are generally the most expensive piece to the travelling puzzle. There are many moving parts to it: using a travel agent / booking online on the airline’s website / booking on 3rd party companies like Expedia or Kayak etc / booking a multi-city trip is another nightmare in itself. Let’s break it down, shall we?
A. Travel Agents
Okay I hate to break it to you that these guys role is almost extinct in today’s world. Airline companies are now fully equipped to take orders directly through the customers and accept payments online, hence reducing the need for such 3rd parties. Also, think about it that in order to run such travel agencies, these guys have to incur high costs of hiring agents and paying for rent, electricity bills and other admin costs. These costs need to be added to either the customer’s ticket price (so customer loses by paying up more) or paid by the airline (so airline loses by giving portion of its’ profits). Technology has allowed customers and airlines to deal with each other directly now, allowing both the parties to save money.
B. Booking Online through the Airline Company's Website
It’s a hit or a miss. I mean some airlines have amazing easy-to-use websites like Emirates but some airlines’ website can be a pain in the ass. There have been numerous times when I have filled out all the required info on an airline company’s website, but the website malfunctions or is not able to process my credit card at the end.
However, you should always use the airline websites as a reference check to make sure you are not overpaying by buying tickets from somewhere else.
C. Booking Online on 3rd Party Websites
I'm a fan of Google Flights because it helps me pick cheap flights. Let me show you how:
Now this is a game changer ^
It tells me girl if you really wanna go to Athens, it may be worth your while to wait a few days as there is a cheaper flight coming up (look at the green prices above – easy $100 savings!!). It can help people plan their travel in advance instead of manually checking prices for each date. For this reason, Google Flights is the king!
Kayak is my 2nd favorite as it gives me tons of options to choose from and its user-friendly interface is key for me. Plus, it is super easy to plan Multi-City trips on it. See below:
I am trying to get my brothers to visit me in Abu Dhabi / Dubai on their way to Islamabad, and it’s super easy to do it on Kayak. Believe me, your travel agent will not be able to accommodate such crazy requests. And if you use just one airline’s website, you won’t be able to pick and choose from different airlines servicing the same route. See below:
This is a multi-city trip from Dubai to London to Toronto to New York City (try explaining this to you agent lol). Anyway, the point I am trying to make here is that above you can see how Kayak offered me the best combo of flights combining Saudia, British Airways, Delta and Iberia – hence saving me time to go to four individual airline websites.
D. Tips and Tricks
Airline ticket prices are always changing. You may see a different price on Monday versus Saturday for the exact same flight. Although, the airline companies keep their pricing formula pretty close to their chest, there are tools to help you predict the times when it is cheaper to book flights. Check out one here.
I generally follow one simple rule – do my research during the weekend and book the flight during the week – preferably on Mondays.
Some people suggest using fake locations to buy cheaper tickets – read here. I personally haven't tried this.
Clear you Cookies:
Some say clearing your cookies may get you cheaper rates – read here. I usually like to clear the cookies before I book.
That’s it for today, guys. Let me know what you think of these hacks. Share your experiences and safe travels!