Travel Tips Companies Don’t Want You To Know.

Image of Aircraft Wing

Top Secret, do not let out in the wild.

Here’s my top tips for booking a holiday in Lanzarote or anywhere else for that matter.

We all want value for money and the following tips are going to do just that, they are not going to reduce the price dramatically but will ensure value. I would also suggest when you have booked a holiday, stop looking at the prices and accept you have chosen your price point. I hear people everyday talk about how much they paid compared to others, I avoid these people.

Take into account that if you really want to go to a certain place at a certain time the best advice is book as soon as you can otherwise it might sell out and you’ll be disappointed.

Be flexible

The more flexible with your holiday dates you can be, the better price you’ll find. Lanzarote is open 365 days a year and if you can visit on the shoulders of the season you’ll pay less. April, May, June Sept, Oct and Nov.

School Holidays

I know it’s a big subject but we vote for the world we want to live in every time we spend money. It’s very unlikely this would ever happen but if we all didn’t go on holiday for only one school holiday, prices would plummet! or go up the rest of the year, Mmm! we can’t win.

Package Vs Independent

A holiday is made up of hundreds of components, I think of it as a jigsaw. Package holiday companies are very good at putting the jigsaw together, they have done it many times and know what their doing. You are also covered by the travel package regulations.

Independent travel is you putting together the jigsaw, it’s fun, adventurous and hey you may have missed a piece but you can think on your feet, right! I travel a lot and I mainly go the independent route but I have also had to sleep on roundabouts, railway stations and some pretty rough places. I do it because I enjoy adventure and want to travel as cheaply as possible. If you work hard all year for your big holiday, I would recommend a package holiday every time.

Jigsaw Pieces

Travel Agent Vs The Internet

I hear people say, I looked online then went to the travel agent and told them to match the price. A few things could happen:- Soon the travel agent will go out of business and your local economy gets worse. (look at the high street) or and this is more likely, thank you very much the travel agent just charged you more than necessary.

Good Travel Agents have a wealth of knowledge and have access to holidays you won’t get on the internet. The best way to use an agent is tell them how much you want to spend, exactly where you want to go and what you require and ask them to call when it’s available. Take a box of chocolates too, they like chocolate.

Bad Travel Agents will tell you anything to get a sale!

So ask around about your travel agents reputation.

The internet is a mine field , so read on….

There are more ways to search for a holiday than holidays, anyone can set up a website and sell holidays. Knowing which ones are real is the trick.

Here’s a quick story, recently a lot of people lost money because someone set up a website selling skiing holidays. They pinched photos and the write-up from other websites and none of the holidays existed. Once it hit the press, they vanished with about a million pounds.

Agent

Cookie Monster

Use a web browser that does not store cookies, companies use these to determine the popularity of a holiday. You will need cookies when you book though. So research without them, book with them.

Mid week is best

Common sense really, most holidays are booked at the weekend. So look and book mid-week for the best prices.

Here’s the Math

Booking between 12 to 8 weeks out usually gets the best deal, however this goes with being flexible.

Watch the Flight Programme

Most flight numbers are consecutive, if not there can be big savings to be had. Companies call these odd flights empty legs as they send an aircraft to pick up people after a major holiday. They sell a few seats to recover some of the cost but can’t sell lots because there is no returning aircraft, you come home on a different flight number. Ever been on an aircraft with loads of empty seats, that’s an empty leg.

Allocation

Lots of travel companies allocate holidays to websites, even if it’s their own. Therefore if there is only “3 Left” do not panic buy, unless you really want to go at that price. ( yes be prepared that there are only 3 left )

Travelling Together

Most people want to travel together but if it’s not a priority look for different flights, sometimes 1 seat is cheaper (not always) as aircraft have an odd number of seats (again not always)

Group Booking

This is a no brainer, ever met Derby and Joan on holiday every year at the same place on the same week. Well get 10 friends together and book a group holiday. There are some huge benefits to be had, like free places. (of course your going to divide the savings aren’t you). Travel agents do this as a business model.

What Airport

The bigger and busier the airport the more competition a company has, so booking a flight from Gatwick is potentially cheaper than Bristol. However travel, time, parking etc all add up so take the whole cost into account before booking.

Airport

Non – Direct flights

Booking a non direct flight can not only save you some money but if you plan it correctly you could have a day in another country. Flying from the UK to Dublin or Madrid or Barcelona then onto Lanzarote can be better value. Stay overnight and it could save you some air passenger duty too.

Searching

Search on multiple sites for the same holiday can find you a bargain but check the ATOl and ABTA numbers on the site relate to the company selling you the holiday. Always check on the website of the tour operator who supplies your holiday to see their prices before booking.

A little story about pricing…..

Many years ago I worked in the automotive industry and as part of sales training I learnt a valuable lesson. Change the deal not the price!

When selling a second-hand car a potential customer offered me £300 less than my asking price. I agreed to sell the car but would remove the Tax, replace the alloy wheels with steel ones and remove the stereo. He bought the car and I sold those bits for £500.
The moral to this story is to check what you get for the price offered sometimes they’ve changed the deal. No transfer, low luggage allowance etc.

Be a Courier

Always ask if the airline wants something taking to resort, you’ll be surprised, everything from raffle tickets to a guitar. You can get lots of benefits for doing this like extra luggage, preferential seating, free food etc.

Air Passenger Duty

If for any reason you do not fly, you are entitled to this back. Very few people claim it back.

Late Checkout anyone

I solved this problem 5 years ago, I book 1 extra night when booking, then I leave before I check out. No worrying about whether I can get a late check out but confused receptionists.

Extra things to consider.

Booking 2 separate one way flights

Book you outbound flight in the UK and your inbound in Lanzarote (you can do this before you leave home so don’t worry). Your return flight will be in Euros so you benefit from the exchange rate.


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About John Holt

John Holt has worked in the travel industry for over 14 years and comes highly recommended by Trip Advisor for his practical and candid talks on travel destinations. Spending 18 months as a "Local Interest Specialist" for a leading tour operator John has become known as having more practical information than Google.

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