Travel Tips | PLANNING
For the last few days, I've been looking at hotels and tickets, trying to book a trip to London for Easter next year. Yes, I hear you; Easter is 10 months away, why the heck would I be planning for this already now?
Many of my friends find it peculiar that I book trips so far ahead, but I grew up with this. Our family usually book tickets about 8 months ahead, because this would usually be the cheapest time. Of course, there are cheap tickets that pop-up on occasions leading up to the travel date, but that almost never happens, or the tickets won't be as cheap.
So here's my planning tips for you.
1. Plan ahead
My family and I have a special place for London in our hearts. For me its a feeling of familiarity. A home away from home. For the adults, it's the practicality. All the good shopping and food in one place, without being a too long flight away.
We've been back several times, and during Easter always seem to be the best time to visit. Therefore, we already knew that planning ahead and buying tickets beforehand would be sensible, thanks to our previous experiences.
If you want to go to a place that you have not visited before, but you know you want to go there, then try to do a little research to find the off-season time to travel or the normal "cheapest" price. Sites like Kayak also lets you know if it's a good time to buy or if you should wait, and if you should wait, you can enable price notification to get notified when the prices change.
2. Check with the locals
Do some research after finding the destination you want to travel to. What are you travelling there for? What would you like to be closest to? How are the public transport?
In order to get most out of a trip, you should know what your plans are. If you go to London to shop, stay near the main shopping streets. If you have no problems taking the public transport, stay a bit further away and get an Oyster card.
Alternatively, check which areas tourists like to stay at and if any of this fits your needs, or check tips from locals on where to stay in order to get the best experience. Nevertheless, always check what have been said before deciding on where to stay and how to manage around. All of this will be relevant to your planning.
3. Cross-check, always
Know where you wanna go and when? Great! Next step is to check the different sites that sell tickets and find the cheapest one. My favourite sites are Kayak and Momondo, in addition to the airline's official sites. What I do is check the dates and preferred time on each site, then see the cheapest offers. Sometimes, the airline's own official sites are cheaper, due to special prices, like "young adult" prices.
Keep in mind, though, some sites that offer the cheaper prices might take additional fees that do not show when the sites show the ticket's price. Be sure to double-check before hitting that pay-button.
HOT TIP: Sometimes package deals could be cheaper than booking separately. Sites like Expedia and Travelbird sometimes have great deals to take advantage of. But, again, double-check if it's actually cheaper to book a package deal than buying the ticket and hotel separately. Some hotels have special prices or coupon codes when you book with them directly.
4. Coupons & special prices
If you're a student, then take advantage of this as much as possible!
For our Paris trip from January, I used a student discount coupon to get 10% off our hotel+flight package from Expedia through a student loyalty site. There's different ones for each country, for instance Studentbeans in the UK, so look for the one for your location and sign up.
In addition, like mentioned above, some airlines has coupon codes so you can get access to cheaper prices. Norwegian.com has a different price for travellers under 26 years old, but you have to insert the code "UNDER26" manually to get access. Do a quick search if the airline you want to travel with have any special prices.
That's all I can think of for now, but don't hesitate to send me any questions if you are wondering about something specific.
I'll be doing a separate post about packing essentials and what to do when travelling, as well, so be sure to stay tuned!