I have never been the best at bargaining. I remember on my first visit to Thailand, many years ago, the stall holders in the market would get frustrated with me when I didn’t know how to haggle with them – punching numbers in to their calculators and then passing it over so I could punch in my counter offer. A very different approach to how I was used to shopping. But finding bargains and deals when you are travelling is a bit of a necessity – if you are not careful the costs and expenses of your trip can quickly spiral out of control. Any savings you can make will ultimately help your travel dollar go further and that is worth making a bit of an effort for. In this article we take a look at some some of the travel deal opportunities that are out there.
Think about off-season
Wherever you are in the world, if you are wanting to visit during peak season then you are going to be paying full price. School holidays? Hotels, airlines, attractions – everyone can charge full price because the demand is there. However if you have a bit of flexibility and can travel during low or “shoulder” seasons then there is going to be a lot more flexibility in pricing – think about cruise ships or hiking tours, or adventure experiences, these operators are going to want to fill their seats to cover their operating costs. Discounts will be available.
Even during a peak season, if you have flexibility in your travel plans then it is surprising the deals that you can secure. I remember a great skiing holiday in France – we’d booked through a charter operator, flights and accommodation. It wasn’t crazy expensive but it was peak season so we paid full price. We were sharing the chalet with a friendly young couple – it turned out they had paid about half of what we had paid. They got a last-minute deal because they didn’t really care where they went or where they stayed and were a bit flexible on the dates, so they just kept looking out for a great last minute deal. We were pretty envious.
Play hard to get
You will note that travel websites are getting smarter. If you look seriously at a package, a flight, or some accommodation, but don’t actually proceed to book it, don’t be surprised if within a day or two you get an email or some form of contact following up to see if you are still interested in booking your holiday. Play a little bit hard to get and they will soon start offering you discounts and deals to try and secure the sale.
If there is one thing that I have learned from travelling is that sometimes it doesn’t pay to be too polite. You have to be a bit cheeky, you have to be a bit forward and a bit bold. Don’t be embarrassed about asking someone for their best price or their best deal – like the market traders of Thailand, they are probably expecting you to.