7 Ways to Save on Your Next Trip
Here, expert tips on how to save time and money on your next vacation or business trip.
Besides surfing the web for the best deals, there are other ways to get more bang for your travel buck. Here are seven tried-and-true travel secrets that will save you both time and money.
You’ll have better luck getting a room if you call the hotel directly instead of dialing the 800-numbers which put you through to a centralized reservation centre. Workers in the call centre don’t have the authority to manipulate a hotel’s inventory the way an on-site manager does. Another idea is to check out a reseller’s website. Most hotels give some of their inventory to third-party travel sites such as Expedia, Hotels.com and Travelocity.
When it comes to upgrades, timing is everything. Naturally, you’ll have a better chance of success if the hotel is slow, but it’s also important to ask for the upgrade right away, before you’re locked into the room. If you want to score a more luxurious accommodation, don’t wait for the front-desk person to hand you a key.
Rule number 1: if you don’t find what you want online, talk to a live person. While you may need to pay a fee to speak with an airline reservation agent, you’ll have a greater chance of getting the flight you want. Reservation agents have access to inventory from partner inventory and can also suggest different routings using connecting flights or alternative airports.
A useful airline secret to know is that you can buy a first-class ticket for little more than the last minute coach fare. The trick is to search for a fare destination code called a “Yup” or a “Q-up”. Check out FareCompare.com which has an online tool designed to search for these special fares. While Y- and Q-ups are usually significantly more expensive than advance-purchase fares, they’re not much more than last minute coach. (For more information, see First-class seats for less.)
Rental car companies typically overbook — and economy cars are usually the first to go. If you’re renting a car online, reserve the cheapest car available and chances are you’ll get a better car without even asking for it.
It’s an increasingly common travel woe: getting bumped from your flight. But if your schedule is flexible, you can take advantage of the system and score free tickets and other perks in exchange for giving up your seat.
As soon as you arrive at the gate, ask if the flight is overbooked. If so, find out what the airport’s initial offer is and put your name on the volunteer list. (Being on the list doesn’t obligate you to accept the offer, but with many airlines, it does give you right of first refusal.)
If you decide not to take the compensation package, you can either decline it and remain on your scheduled flight or wait to see if the package increases when the airline makes an offer to fellow travellers. Gate agents typically sweeten the pot until they get enough volunteers.