8 ways that WILL save you money for travel
Ever wondered how some people are able to travel regularly and some keep planning and reach nowhere. I am the latter kind and if you are like me then you need to find ways to save money. The money that you can use to travel and travel a lot. On that note, let me share some tested and tried ways that will help you save money for travel.
Visit 2 destinations instead of 1:
Benefit is, that your cost will be half and it will give you double the pleasure. Let me show you an itinerary to know this strategy.
During my last visit to San Francisco, we wanted to enjoy some casinos. In California, you can visit casinos, however we got greedy and wanted to go to a casino near a lake. We got more greedy and wanted to go to casino close to a lake called Lake Tahoe. You ever heard about Lake Tahoe? Sounds too far as Lake Tahoe is in Nevada (border with California), however it is not too far because Lake Tahoe is only 200 miles from San Francisco. So we took a day trip to Lake Tahoe and really enjoyed. The benefit was we visited more than 1 destination during our trip. We started in SF, went to Berkeley, on to Sacramento and on ward to Lake Tahoe. We enjoyed other destinations on our day long road trip.
If we had stayed overnight in either Sacramento or Lake Tahoe, we could have covered some other destination also. How awesome it is to enjoy more than 1 destination and save ton of money with a lot of pleasure which otherwise could have cost us a lot of money.
Get a reward credit card:
Having a credit card for day-to-day is good. When you add some rewards with it, then the card becomes better. When you add a lot of travel rewards, the credit card becomes great and so on. Some people think having a great credit card is good, however paying fees is bad. Since I am in banking, I say if the credit card gives you solid returns and benefits that credit card is already free. My credit card covers me and my dependents for trip medical insurance up to 25 days. If I bought trip insurance on the side, it would cost me about $150 for 4 of us easily. And if we go to Asia, the trip insurance will be more expensive. My credit card eats $129 in the form of annual fee and gets me solid returns. Am I worried about the fee? Absolutely not, since I earn almost $600 worth of points that I can use towards any of my trips. I strongly recommend you do the same.
A beneficial Tip;
If you negotiate with your bank, they will definitely waive your 1st years fee to test the card out. I was able to negotiate for the 1st year and saved on annual fee. I used my credit card to purchase flight ticket and trip insurance was automatically included in the price because I used the credit card to pay for the tickets. This saving covered the cost of my annual fee for next year. In addition, 1 trip where insurance is included will cover your annual fee because of savings.
Become loyal to one airlines:
This is a good for occasional travelers and excellent for regular travelers. Even if you travel once a year be loyal to a specific airlines of your choice. A lot of times you may have to fly a different airlines, but remember you can call the airlines to ask them who their partner airlines are? If you book on those airlines you are still able to use your favorite airlines frequent flyer number to earn miles. For example Air Canada and Lufthansa are flying partners and you can use one’s flyer number on other airlines. This makes earning miles easy and many times you can transfer miles back and forth.
A beneficial tip:
If your airlines offers a credit card that gets you extra miles, use that credit card to see your benefits growing faster than not having the airlines credit card. Good example is Aeroplan and TD Canada Trust VISA. You get Aeroplan miles every time you use the VISA.
Getting bumped from a flight:
You ever traveled during busy season? The plane has 231 economy seats and they book 265 seats assuming some no shows? All 265 passengers show up and the airline is in trouble because they can’t have 34 passengers standing like in a bus. What do they do? They offer some significant benefits to those who are willing to give their seat. The process is they announce to see who can stay to give their seat to others for a price? I say, when they announce, you should volunteer. Some of the benefits include, you get free hotel and food until next flight, you get a voucher (sometimes up to $800) that you can use for that airlines for future travel. It is a good way to stay locally wherever you are on the cost of the airline. I love this because it saves me a lot of money (hotel, food, visa and get paid for next trip).
A beneficial tip:
Don’t volunteer during their 1st announcement. Chances are you will only receive like $100. If you wait it out and volunteer during their 4th or 8th call, then volunteer. Just like the auction, the price goes up with every announcement. This time you can negotiate other benefits also. I have seen passengers getting paid, hotel stay, food covered, transit or tourist visa paid by the airline besides other benefits. The biggest benefit I have seen in the past is that you can ask for a business class seat on next flight. Worst come to worst they can say no, but you tried.
Another beneficial trip:
When I travel during high season, I book my return on Sat. In case if I get bumped on a Sat, I don’t have to worry about work because I don’t return to work until Monday. This way I can enjoy another day of vacation for free, courtesy of the airlines.
You can hit a jackpot if you are traveling with family. For my family it is a jackpot. I will never say no if ever given an option to be bumped. Because 4 of us can make a lot of money and enjoy our trip more than what we bargained for?
Upgrading to business class just before the flight:
When I travel long distance I always book economy class for 2 reasons. Here is my itinerary looks like.
Calgary – Europe (depending upon which flight I am taking) – Generally flights to Europe leave around 3 to 6 PM.
Europe – Delhi
Delhi – Europe (depending upon which flight I took on my outbound journey)
Europe – Calgary (Generally Air Canada because of their code share with Lufthansa and other airlines or KLM)
Just about boarding time, a lot of airlines offer cheaper upgrades for higher class of travel for cheaper price because they wish to fill unsold premium economy and business class seats. A lot of times, KLM offers seats for like $300 (Premium Economy) to $600 (Business class) just before the take off. I have seen a lot of passengers simply jump on those announcements right away. In my opinion it is a bad strategy.
A beneficial tip:
Wait until a few announcements. Early announcements mean high price. Once they can’t fill, some airlines allow you to name your price. I have upgraded in the past for 50% of their announced price. Just that I waited until after the boarding. Chances are if at boarding time the airlines can’t fill the seats, they will accept whatever price they can get? So wait and win is the strategy. Chances of not getting what you want is low however you can sometimes be late too. So depending upon your boarding situation, take your next step to get upgraded. Lufthansa has a program where you can actually bid for your price on a flight before departure. Have you hear about www.seatfrog.com? Make sure to read about them here. You can easily benefit with them for an upgrade.
Remember my article about climate change? That is another reason I travel on Economy class tickets. Now I would like to share the strategy I use if I want to upgrade to a higher class.
Calgary – Europe – Generally flights leave in the evening. I stay up late in any case. Which means I don’t need an upgrade because I can watch TV, play games, listen to music or read my books on-board.
Europe – Delhi – This flight leaves early morning Europe time and reaches Delhi like 2 AM in the morning. My 1st flight would’ve made me tired so getting an upgrade makes sense. I would try to get an upgrade here without any doubt.
Delhi – Europe – This flights leave like 3 AM. Which means I have been up for almost 18 hours. Am I tired? Yes, probably very tired. Do I need an upgrade? Yes, I do. So I will gladly upgrade so that I can sleep until my stopping point.
Europe – Calgary – Flight leaves in the afternoon from Europe. Which means I will be traveling against time during day light. Now this is the flight where I don’t want to sleep. You know why? Because I will reach Calgary in the afternoon around 2 PM to 4 PM. If I sleep, then I can’t turn my biological clock right away which can cause jet lag for a few days to weeks. Therefore I would not try to get an upgrade on this flight.
Benefit to you as a traveler:
Let me use my itinerary as an example. If I travel business class all the way on Air Canada, KLM, British Airways or Lufthansa, my ticket price would be around CAD$4800+. If I booked on economy class on the same flight, I will pay around CAD$1000 to $1500 depending upon when I travel (excluding Xmas time when same flight can cost me upwards of CAD$2500). My last trip to Delhi cost me $1180. So if I add another $1000 to $1400 for a business class upgrade only on 2 segments, my total cost of the travel would be about $2280 to $2580. Which is still much cheaper than flying business class all the way. I am using business class upgrade. Sometimes, upgrading to business class can happen even with the premium economy price. Who is the winner? You guessed it right.
Have you ever heard about flight passes? If not, check Air Canada flight passes here. These flight passes are a way to save a lot of money. Let me know if I could help you with one of these? There are some restrictions and such, however they are very useful if you travel a lot and to the same destination. I have used them in the past and really liked them because of significant savings in travel expenses.
Traveling regular/low season
I love traveling low season. Benefit includes but not limited to cheaper flights, short lines and less crowded areas. If you are traveling with family the savings increase by the number of travelers.
Subscribe to email newsletters of Airlines and hotels etc.:
Signing up for an email newsletter with the Airlines of your choice can help you save money. How? Anytime there is a special fare, a new route or destination, Airlines will email their newsletter subscribers before publishing any specials. This can be a big saving strategy because instead of you decide the destination, the new route of the airlines offer can bring savings automatically.
Above are the 8 ways that will save you money for travel. I am sure you may have used some in the past and some might be new for you. These are tried and tested ways to save money. If you have any other ways that you have used in the past to save money, please share with us by leaving a comment.
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