Ask the Agents: Insider Tips on Booking Cheap Holidays
No one knows the travel scene quite like our agents, who suss out the best travel deals for all who seek to wander. But even our agents need a break as well, and their expertise happens to make them one of the best bargain hunters when searching for a cheap getaway.
We asked some of them to divulge their well-guarded travel secrets, and they duly delivered. Take all the notes you can - you might find yourself shaving off a good few dollars as you take off towards your next holiday destination!
What’s your first step to planning a cheap and good vacation?
Nattiya Hothong, Acquisition: The first step is definitely deciding where to go. I usually take my time to look around and explore all my options. The next step is verifying if my potential destination has special visa requirements - this could complicate things if not addressed first! Once visa needs have been checked, I usually begin hunting for direct flight options.
MJ Lai, Online Marketing Manager: Before I travel, I usually have a time and place in mind. Unfortunately, these two may clash - a destination that’s popular at a certain time will definitely cost more. If tickets are pricey, I’ll switch my timings up. An alternate period may turn up a better rate!
Harumi Kitano, Pricing Analyst: Plan ahead - very much ahead! Starting your planning early gets you up to speed to where to go and how to get there, and you’ll be more alert to relevant deals when they appear.
How do you keep flight ticket costs down?
Lou Min, Commercial Manager: It’s important to plan your flights early, but don’t rush into booking them six months before the trip! The airline industry is a competitive one and promotions regularly pop up, so bide your time and grab the good deals when they come.
Kelly Tran, E-travel Expert: Keep your eyes and options open, as different airlines have varying prices. There’s no need to lock yourself into a return journey with just one airline - it may cost far less to book your trip back with another carrier that serves the route more regularly or efficiently!
Gertjan van der Toorn, Air Expert: I tend to keep both my dates and destinations flexible, as that really opens up possibilities for undiscovered flight deals. You never know when a carrier may be looking to clear out their empty seats for cheap - widening your search parameters may land you that travel pot of gold!
What’s your ideal travel group size, and why?
GT: There’s no preference, really - it depends on the trip and my mood! I like to travel alone sometimes, but there’s something special about going in a group as well.
NH: 1 to 4 people! Having a smaller group means a smaller pool of opinions and a far quicker consensus. No one wants to waste precious holiday time deciding where to go! Also, having a smaller group is more versatile - in the event of a hiccup, the entire group can change tack and head somewhere else with minimal trouble.
KT: I’m comfortable with 2 people, or even 10 - it all depends on the context! A family trip with many members does liven things up, while a trip for two with a good friend can be a quiet escape from the everyday bustle.
How do you save money while on holiday?
MJ: I'd scrimp on food! Since I'm a small eater, I'd usually order antipasti/appetizers instead of the main portion, or share a serving with my travel mate. But, I will make sure to savour the must-eat local delicacies - even if it's just one bite! Pro tip - cup noodles are lifesavers when you’re hungry at night and don’t wish to splurge on room service food!
Transport is an area where you can save as well. Try to plan itineraries that allow for walking - you’ll get the explore your destination like a local, and save lots of cab fares as well.
HK: Don't! Spending to try new experiences is not something to cut back on, especially if your travel destination is famous for it. That being said, don't spend unnecessarily on things you can easily get elsewhere.
LM: Resist the temptation to buy things you don’t need. It’s a holiday, not a shopping spree (unless if you’re travelling for some retail therapy!)
What’s the one thing you cannot travel without, and why?
NH: I can’t travel without my mobile phone! I rely heavily on Google Maps to get around - their offline capabilities can make a big difference when signals are poor. It also holds my translator app for communicating with locals, my saved travel information, and serves up the Internet when I’m lost or looking for something in a hurry!
LM: I can’t live without mobile data when travelling. Pre-trip planning can only get you so far, and a quick online search when you’re lost in the middle of nowhere can save you precious time and money! Remember - don’t just search for where to go, explore the various options you have to get there as well.
MJ: My partner! Just kidding - I've no qualms travelling solo. However, I can't travel without my make up pouch - or at least my lippie! I've got to make sure I'm camera ready for the photos.
Any last travel hacks for the good people out there?
GT: Put liquids and small electronics together in a small plastic bag so you can pull them all out your bag together at the security. Having to look for them one by one is frustrating for you and the people queuing behind you!
On long flights, bring another pair of socks to keep your feet warm. Don’t forget your noise cancelling headphones in case flights get noisy!
MJ: Before you plan a trip, be sure to stay tuned to the news - any political unrest or natural disasters could scupper your plans. Also, try to use credit cards with good rewards for spending, as you’ll be doing plenty of that while booking your flights and accommodations.
HK: Roll up your clothes and vacuum pack your down layers, especially if you’re headed to a cold country! This can save lots of luggage space, making it easier to move around. Also, Internet connectivity may not be as strong as it is here in Singapore - download an offline mapping app so you’ll always have your route handy!
Feeling inspired to test these tips and tricks out? We can help with pre-emptive flight bookings, while throwing in a couple of discounts. Check out our wide array of destination deals and start planning your getaway with us today!