Best Travel Hacks (1st Edition)
The travel industry is a true oxymoron. While some rules are rigid and as old as the industry itself, this market wouldn't be able to rake in billions of dollars annually if it didn't have some flexibility. Luckily, in this field, the familiar idiom is reversed. It's not who you know but what you know. Below are some great travel tips to consider if you're planning a trip. This first edition focuses on what you should know before you book your trip.
BOOK IN ADVANCE
About a decade ago, the best deals could be found in last minute deals. Unfortunately, this is now a myth as suppliers will hike up prices closer to the departure time based on how booked the plane is. It's a simple matter of supply and demand. The psychology behind this is that if they're 80-90% booked for a flight or trip, the trip dates are popular and people will most likely be willing to pay a premium to book the remaining seats. Some exceptions apply of course, however you won't have a big selection to choose from and you'll most likely have to flexible on dates and destinations as well. A good rule of thumb is to book 2 - 3 months before your trip and longer if you're planning a trip to Europe or Asia. Any trip that's national or less than 3-5 hours away, say East Coast to West Coast can be booked 1 - 3 weeks prior to get the best fares.
If you're looking to go to the Caribbean, it's a lot cheaper (and common) to purchase a pre-packaged deal as this greatly reduces the total cost of the trip. Pre-selected air travel and accommodations sold as a package is a good way to save, even if you're not going for an all-inclusive.
SUBSCRIBE TO A LOCAL TRAVEL BLOG
A great way to get the best travel deals is to get them right when they're posted. Blogs that specialize in posting mistake fares, travel deals and special airline discounts and promotions are your best bet to get unmistakable fare prices that drastically cut down your travel expenses. You can save up to 70% sometimes if you're notified of a mistake fare. We once booked a flight from Bali to Thailand for $7. Google "Your city's name travel deals blog" to find a local blog that has deals specific to your departure airport to avoid getting spammed with deals that don't apply to you.
IF YOU MUST CANCEL, DO IT QUICKLY
Piggybacking off the last point, sometimes impulse travel decisions are made that unfortunately don't pan out. Say you saw an incredible deal to go to Costa Rica for a week and purchased it, only to realize a few hours later that there's a scheduling conflict and you actually can't manage to make it. Most flights take 24 hours to be confirmed in the airline's system which means you have 24 full hours to cancel without paying a cancellation fee. A lot of airlines in general will allow you 24 hours to cancel your flight as a courtesy. If you have travel insurance, it may be covered after the 24 hours.
DOUBLE CHECK YOUR PASSPORT INFORMATION
This isn't much of a tip as it is (hopefully) is a reminder. You'd be surprised how many travelers overestimate how much time they have before their passport expiry date or who don't double check whether they need a tourist visa for entry at their destination. Before you book anything (unless you're flying nationally, in which case an ID card is sufficient), make sure you check your passport's expiry date. Most airport security agents will give you a hard time if you're travelling within 3-6 months of your passport expiry date.
If you managed to get through this post without feeling overwhelmed, you're a stud and you can absolutely manage to book, reserve and plan your next adventure. We're also here if you can't be bothered. Booking flights is easier than ever with all the tools currently available to us - we live and breathe GoogleFlights ; Matrix; Skyscanner and a ton of other great sites - however the real inconvenience occurs when dealing with airlines' long customer service lines and rigid policies, handling issues with flight cancellations or rescheduling. We take all that hassle off the table for you so you simply fly.