Whether you’re pulling together a last-minute getaway or planning the trip of a lifetime well in advance, doing your research can save you a pretty penny or two in the long-run. Enter the slew of travel comparison websites with catchy names and ads that refuse to leave your Facebook feed and stalk you forever more. But don’t stress out, as we’ve put together five handy fail-safe tips to help you separate the best from the rest and save some serious bucks.
1. Be Flexible with Your Dates
No, we’re not talking about old-fashioned visits to the ticketing office, but keeping in mind which day of the week you are making a booking could come in handy. Offers like Cathay Pacific’s fanfares (which are released every Tuesday) can provide great savings on plane fares within specific time frames, which is great if you are flexible with your travel dates. These special deals are often released with limited quotas and get snapped up fast, so you’ll need to act quickly to take advantage of them, but if you manage to bag a ticket, you can save yourself some serious dollars.
2. Compare Your Fare
Whether you’re booking flights, hotels, or car rentals, you’re bound to land upon a few of the staple travel comparison sites along the way. Agoda, Booking.com, and the tried-and-tested Trip Advisor (a source of travel information and written review hilarity, in equal measure) are among the more popular ones with seasoned travelers. With so many sites vying for your attention, each with their own hubs of information, adding more into the mix might not sound too appealing, but luckily you can leave it in the hands of the original search engine to narrow down your options. Google Flights isn’t widely used in Hong Kong as it doesn’t yet offer Hong Kong as a home destination, but it does let you change your currency to HKD, base yourself anywhere else in the world, and add Hong Kong as your point of departure or arrival which is hugely helpful when booking your fares.
3. Be a High Flier, Not a Big Spender
When it comes to travelling, you don’t always have to spend big to win big. Websites like I Only Fly First Class offer a range of offers for luxury travel, and sometimes at a fraction of the price you thought you would pay. The self-proclaimed ‘travel concierge in the skies’ searches for business and first class tickets, providing you with your offers within 24 hours of your initial enquiry. With savings between 30 and 60 percent, it’s proof that fancy flights don’t always have to melt your credit card.
4. Take a Seat
Being a savvy traveler isn’t always about saving money, but also getting value for money. When you’re shelling out for a long-haul flight, you’ll want to make sure you get some serious bang for your buck, and that’s where seat selection apps come in handy. SeatGuru and Seat Alerts both provide seat configurations for numerous airlines and aircraft, including ratings and things to look out for such as missing windows, lost leg room, and closeness to the pantry and toilets. Well worth checking out if you have a long flight ahead of you.
5. Make Your Miles Stretch for Miles
This one’s not exactly a well-kept secret, but a focus on money saving travel hacks wouldn’t be complete without a mention of The Points Guy. Originally set up as a solo start-up project eight years ago, the site now boasts up to 20 new helpful tips every day, but if you’re looking for advice, then look no further than the Holy Grail of guides: The Beginner’s Guide to Points and Miles: Essential Travel Tips. This lists everything you need to know about becoming a card-carrying member of an airline loyalty programme, and how to make the most of your miles. If you’re looking for a quick and easy guide on how to go for gold, we’ve also put together our own overview of frequent flyer programmes.