Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Real Girls Don't Pay Full Price on Travel

One time, while shopping with my mom, she stated: “It’s not enough that I find something I like, I also have to get a deal.” This is a philosophy she passed on to me holistically. I love shopping; I love travelling; I love eating out; but I HATE spending money. Getting a great deal just makes me feel like I've EARNED that thing a little more. Does this sound like you? If so, here some tips on how I've scored some great travel deals: 

  • Put in your time: Start your search early. I’m talking about 3-4 months before your planned trip. Experiment with different departure days or weeks to see if you can find a certain sweet spot (I almost always travel on weekdays).
  • Set a goal: Figure out a good price for you based on the recent rates that also fits your budget. When you see rates close to, or under that price you can let loose on booking. You’ll save yourself time trying to guess how low or high the price will go. Stop price checking after you’ve booked, allot that time to daydreaming about your awesome vacation! 
  • Know your brands: Keep in mind not all hotels, airlines, car rental companies, etc. are created equal. I’d rather spend more money on a company I know is going to treat me right then get the lowest price on an unknown with sketchy ratings. If you are looking at booking with an unknown, do a little research before you pull the trigger. 
  • Start with the deal sites: I have scored many a great rate with Priceline, so they are always my go-to for getting a feel for how much something is going to cost. Techy fun-fact: When using deal sites, tracking pixels are not your friend, so always use the private option on your browser. If a deal site knows you keep coming back and running the same dates, they might not show you their rock-bottom rates. Download a few deal apps as well, sometimes you’ll find mobile-exclusive deals.
  • Don’t forget the source: Compare any deal site prices to the rates on the company website, just to make sure a deal is really the best deal.
  • Go coupon hunting: A simple Google search will turn up useful coupon codes for a lot of major companies. Also, look to see if the company you want to book with is running any contests as these can come with coupons. Over Christmas, Air Canada was running a game where you revealed flight discounts, I played over and over and finally, on the last day, scored a 20% off promo coupon. 

Still too expensive?

  • Location, location, location: It’s the good ol’ rules of supply and demand. Depending on your situation, try looking in nearby bigger and smaller markets. For my most recent trip I was looking at rental car rates way higher than I wanted to pay. So, I switched my hunting ground from directly at the airport to the smaller city where I was staying. The price difference was hundreds of dollars.
  • Try talking to a real person. I was about to book that rental car on a deal site, but I had a technical question, so I phoned their reservation line. The representative asked if I had a discount code, and I told him I did not, but I would love it if he had one I could use. He quoted me a lower price than the deal site, PLUS another $20 off just for asking about a discount. This, in my case, is the key to getting good service. ALWAYS be nice to people who are looking after you. Say please and thank you, remember their names. People like to do nice things for people who make them feel good - be a bright spot in their day. 

Get upgraded

  • Show up early, be nice, dress well, travel alone: Be on your best behaviour in line. On my trip to Germany I was carefully winding my way through the empty cue. A family skipped the rope line and cut me off at the agent. I didn't call them out or act annoyed, I just stood and waited for my (their) turn in line. They got a two minute head start on me, but I got a free upgrade to business class. 

Look for savings elsewhere

  • Sometimes, you can throw your best deal-hunter game at a trip, but you still blow your budget on one of the basics: Hit up your destination’s LivingSocial or Groupon page to see if you can save on local attractions, restaurants or activities. Most major chains throw in a coupon (such as a free appetizer with meal purchase) when you sign up for their e-newsletter.
  • Get happy: If you are travelling to the US, see if any of the bars in the area do happy hour. This is usually a period of time before or after (or both!) the dinner rush where you can score cheap drinks and appetizers.  
So there you go, happy money savings and happy travels!

Do you have a great money saving travel tip? Share it in the comments!


  1. Tip: I've also noticed that hotel rooms in London, UK, are heavily discounted on Sunday nights - so if you're going for a couple of days, make Sunday one of them.