How to get cheaper plane tickets to Phuket? (or anywhere in the world)
Here is the thing. There is an opinion, earlier you book, better prices you get. Let's discuss that in this blog post. Over the last few years of travelling and by no means we are saying we are full on travellers, however we do travel pretty much every two months and the only way we can afford this is by booking cheaper flights and accomodation. We have found our way of booking reasonable deals that we would like to share with you.
TIP 1: don't rush booking too early.
If you are a type of person whose google search bar has shortcuts to all budget airlines possible, you might have noticed that plane ticket prices don’t actually start going up until 6 weeks before travel date. If you haven’t, you will have to take our word for it. This excludes seasonal holidays. Our suggestion would be check months before travelling and then 6-4 weeks prior to travelling and compare. You should see that booking too early doesn't always mean savings. If you aren't worried about the size of your pocket then maybe none of this makes sense to you. However we would love to hear your practices, tips and learn from each other!
We understand that there are times when you want to be super organised which is absolutely understandable but from our experience booking 6 and more months in advance will not guarantee you a cheaper rate as quite possibly it’s just the strategy of the airlines to increase sales.
Why do the prices fluctuate? Well that’s a rocket science in itself but we THINK what happens is; airlines release tickets and at first no one is buying because it’s expensive, then they need to get people to book so they will drop the prices and people start booking thinking that otherwise they will miss the deal but businesses don’t want to sell out cheap so when there is a good pick up prices increase again.This is something we have noticed through our travels and we thought it’s worth sharing with you, saving savvy’s.
TIP 2: third party travel websites. More travel operator websites you check, the better.
When looking for tickets you can go directly to the airlines websites but you may want to check websites like skyscanner, kayak, ebookers, travelsupermarket; these are wholesalers and they give you multiple itineraries and most of the time cheaper deals.
If you have preferred airline that you use on a regular basis, I would also suggest getting annual club membership. i.e I have wizzair membership which costs me £30 a year (as off 2018) but when two of us travel together, it pays off already after the first flight. I use wizzair for flying to Lithuania and I have rarely ever paid more than £80 for return ticket (except Christmas and Easter).
TIP 3: travel during shoulder seasons.
You have probably heard it from every blogger but travelling around seasons and avoiding peak times especially to tropical and holiday destinations can save you a significant amount. If you are flexible with your travel plans, I highly recommend to check shoulder seasons in the destination you are going. You will still be able to enjoy the sun, the water, the weather and do most of the touristic stuff that’s available throughout the peak season however crowds will be gone by that time. Who doesn’t like some peace and quiet during vacation?
How to book hotels cheaper?
Tip 1: accommodation prices before booking a flight.
Over the past few years of regular travels we have found that booking a flight first and then looking for accommodation is not always a budget friendly idea. These days with so many budget airlines, flying has become cheaper than it used to be but accommodation is where most of your money will go if you are thinking about a hotel or a B&B and want something more than a hostel. So what I am trying to say here is, first we will pick a destination we are interested in, will then check hotel deals before we book a flight. If we see that we cannot find suitable accommodation for our set budget which is usually no more than £70 pn then we will look into changing location or even destination.This way we can control our expenses on accommodation and spend where we feel is more important, such as car rent (for total freedom of exploring the country in our own pace) entertainment, tours/ excursions, food (we will want to eat at least once in a good/fine dining restaurant to ensure we have tried the best local cuisine of that country and this is important to us, as food is such a huge part of any culture after all).
Tip 2: Hospitality rates ( staff, friends&family discounts)
When looking for accommodation I always look up Hilton hotels first. No, I am not looking for luxe. The main reason being, I want to save money. I used to work for Hilton and one of their biggest perk for employees is up to 80% off a room night, which is really awesome! I no longer work for Hilton so I don’t get as much discount now however it’s still possible to get up to 50% off one night stay if you have a friend or colleague who works for Hilton. All they need to do is to add you on to their GO Hilton friend list (don’t worry if you have no clue what I am talking about, they will!)
It's not an easy one ask (maybe you will find it weird ) but if you haven't already, make friends with people who work for big hospitality brands such as Hilton, Marriott, Accor hotels and ask them about their employee discount scheme. In Hilton as an example, each employee gets an allocation for friends and family members that can benefit from discount, so speak to your friends, buddies, counterparts! Worth looking at, don't you think?
TIP 3: Book hotels as early as you know your travel plans.
Unlike plane ticket prices which I discussed just above, hotel room prices can be a very different story. I have worked in hotels a little bit in my life and I know that very rarely do prices actually go down (unless hotel is in a real struggle to fill) and if you are going to a popular destination then booking hotel once you found the one, should be your priority asap. These days, there are flexible rates which means you can cancel even a day before arrival so our advice is just book it in, lock the rate in and then you have time to make your decisions, cancelation is free, makes life easier. You know all this anyways.