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My five best travel deals

Published On March 30, 2015 | By Matt | Further Afield

Travelling can be an expensive exercise – even if you are consciously trying to be careful with your
money and work to a budget, the costs quickly seem to add up. The flights, the accommodation,
the car hire, the meals – before you know it, your credit card has taken a beating and each time you
hand it over you cross your fingers and hope that it is not declined. This is why when you do
manage to land a good travel deal it somehow feels incredibly sweet, like you have got one up on
the world, that somehow you are going to be able to spread your travel dollar just a little bit further.

Here are five of the best travel deals that I have scored recently.

The first class upgrade

I am a big fan of train travel in the United Kingdom. Sure, they can have their off days, but on the
whole Britain’s rail network is extensive, efficient, and by far the best way to get around the
country. But rail travel in the UK is certainly not cheap so I am always travelling in Economy class
which is pretty crowded and pretty chaotic. However, on weekends, most of the train operators will
offer a first class upgrade for £10. This means that you can escape the football crowds and family
outings that dominate weekend train travel and have a bit of space and comfort for just a small
premium on your otherwise bargain ticket price.

Lunchtime bargains

I was hanging out with friends recently in Manila. Food in Manila is pretty reasonably priced
anyway, but if you’re away from the main business districts the city’s top restaurants offer amazing
lunch deals. We ate at Sugi Japanese restaurant in the Greenbelt neighbourhood. Amazing food.
Amazing price.

Package deals can pay off

Sometimes package deals can be a bit of a disaster, sometimes they are a total winner. An
impulsive weekend away for some beach time in Barcelona – we booked through a last minute booking site
and our package included flights and accommodation in the Barcelo Sants hotel. It all
worked perfectly and all for a fraction of the price that we would have paid if we’d booked it
ourselves.

Sometimes you get lucky

The Book of Mormon was one of the most anticipated musicals to make the move from Broadway
to London’s West End. Tickets were sold out months in advance. If you’re feeling lucky and in to win, you can enter the lottery where you put your name down a few hours before the show and then they randomly draw names of about 20 winners who get great seats for GBP20. They have the same lottery system for some of the big shows in Broadway, New York, including Book of Mormon. I did get lucky and the show was amazing!

If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

I was in New York recently on a work trip, travelling with a photographer. One of our jobs was a
feature on The Out NYC hotel in Manhattan. It was a nice hotel but it was only while we were there
that we realised that it was also the venue for the XL nightclub (one of New York’s hottest nights
out). “Could you put us on the guest-list for tonight?” Not only did we score free entry (the cover
charge was hefty) but we got to see the Hot Mess show featuring the incredible Bianca Del Rio
who then went on to win RuPaul’s Drag Race. XL has since changed its name to BPM.

The experienced traveller is always on the lookout for a bargain. It does not mean that you are
being cheap, it just means that you know how to seize an opportunity when you see one. That is
smart travelling.

photo credit: cristiano_betta Creative Commons.

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