Finally traveling again. After three years of COVID-19, it’s possible to go on vacation this season. Financial experts reveal their tricks to keep it affordable.
Here’s How to Save on Vacation in 2023
It’s spring 2023, and high time to plan – and finance – this year’s vacation. Unfortunately, though, now that the Covid 19 pandemic is under control, prices are rising faster than they have in a long time.
But even so, anyone who doesn’t want to spend their vacation just sitting on their balcony can save money when they travel. BudgetBakers asked five people who know about vacations for their best tips.
1. Bypass Booking Portals, Call Hotels Directly
For most people, booking portals are the real deal when it comes to booking a vacation. You can mark favorites, sort them by distance, look at pictures and read reviews.
But there’s one huge drawback: hotel owners have to pay a hefty commission for every booking. At Booking.com, for example, it’s 12% on the total revenue. In the case of travel portals that offer entire vacation packages, hoteliers incur an even higher commission.
We therefore encourage guests to book directly with the provider. That’s because many hotels guarantee guests who book directly through them up to 10% lower prices than through other portals. In addition, they often offer further discounts, such as reductions from the third night, and generous cancellation terms.
Hoteliers therefore recommend getting an overview via the major portals and then picking up the phone. Or you can write an e-mail and run it through translation software if you don’t speak the local language.
2. Be Flexible in Time and Location
If people like a specific vacation destination particularly well, they tend to travel there again and again. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you want to discover new places and stay relatively cheap, you can follow this tip. Use the “Flights” function on Google to search for cheap flights and enter only the period in which you want to fly. Leave the destination window blank and see what comes up.
For example, from Munich, Germany, you can reach Warsaw, Stockholm or Istanbul at an affordable price between the end of June and the beginning of July. If you want to go further, flights to Bangkok or Chicago are comparatively cheap. In this way, you can discover destinations that you might not have thought of.
If you don’t want to travel by plane, you can look for cheap “super saver” fares from the railroad companies. Again, you have an advantage if you are flexible. Be sure to compare the offers of foreign rail companies as well.
Travelers can also be inspired when it comes to accommodation: On Airbnb, it’s possible to click on the “I’m flexible” option for the desired destination and have rooms, vacation apartments and houses from all over the world displayed within a certain price range.
If you love the unexpected, you can book a so-called “blind booking” offer with an airline. Here, the ticket costs comparatively little, but you only find out the destination after booking.
3. Book on Sundays
Anyone walking through the supermarket at the moment might think that prices are only ever going up. But in other areas, they are quite flexible.
For example, at the gas station, the price of gasoline varies depending on the time of day and the day of the week. And they also vary when it comes to booking vacations. Economists conduct research on the question of how companies determine their prices. They say that it tends to be cheapest to book flights abroad on Sundays.
They also say that international flights cost the least about 150 days, or five months, before the trip begins. Two months before departure, on the other hand, prices often rise.
In principle, the same applies to hotels: If you book early, you tend to save money. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a bargain at short notice. Both flights and hotel accommodations are so-called “perishable services,” meaning that providers lose revenue as soon as a seat or bed is unoccupied. Before that happens, some come up with a good offer after all.
Scientists can neither confirm nor deny whether there is any truth to the rumor that certain users see higher prices than others, for example because they book their trip using an expensive Apple device. From the companies’ point of view, it would make sense; at the same time, studies so far don’t show that they are already personalizing their prices on a large scale. If you have time and several devices at home, you can observe the changing conditions for a few days and then make your move.
4. Reflect on the “All-Inclusive” Concept
Anyone who has ever been on an all-inclusive vacation knows that there are hardly any hidden costs. Whether it’s breakfast eggs, afternoon ice cream or cocktails in the evening, the term “all inclusive” says it all. So if you just want to laze around and feast on your vacation, you are probably well served with this package – but logically you also have to pay for it. However, if you only eat hot food once a day or are planning several excursions on your trip, you can usually get away cheaper with half board.
We advise you to think carefully beforehand about what you actually need when traveling, and to do so throughout the entire booking process. Travel cancellation insurance, for example, is virtually a must, especially on online booking platforms.
We would not generally advise against such insurance. However, we recommend checking in which cases the insurance actually applies and weighing up whether the price of the trip justifies the additional costs.
Even seemingly small items, such as the free baggage allowance on the plane or the onward journey from the train station to the hotel, can sometimes make the difference between which offer is the cheapest.
5. Consider Means of Transportation Other Than Airplane
Ticket prices can be very different depending on where you are flying from. This is because school vacations can vary greatly depending on the country and region. And that can quickly add up to several hundred euros or dollars when it comes to airfare.
We advise everyone who lives close to another state or neighboring country to enter other departure airports in the search mask and compare prices. You have to get there, but sometimes airlines or tour operators offer favorable deals for rail travel to the airport.
Even if you want to travel by train, it can be worthwhile to look beyond the country’s borders. To compare the cheapest connections with different means of transport on the desired route, apps or websites like Omio can provide help.