How To Use The HolidayPirates Search & Book Feature
Here at HolidayPirates we are trying to redesign the way you travel, it has been a number of years whereby holidays have been booked in the traditional manner which consisted of you sitting with the travel agent for a few hours trying to find the best package. But you always tended to leave with the feeling have you actually got the best deal. The birth of the internet has truly opened up numerous channels when it comes to travel. You can cross compare prices with various vendors in seconds with just a few clicks, whether it is on your laptop or your smart phone the wealth of opportunity for discounts has never been greater for bagging a real bargain. The question on everyones mind is how can we access the best prices? We all want a super cheap deal. Well if the truth be told there is no super secret to finding a cheap deal, its a mixture of perseverance, cross comparing and evaluating what you truly want from your holiday.
- 1. Click on the 'Search & Book' button
- 2. You will now see 5 'search options' - Packages, Flights, Hotels, Flight + Hotel & Car Hire
- 3. Searching for a cheap 'Package' holiday
- 4. Searching for cheap 'Flights' - Return, Open-Jaw & Multi-Stop
- 5. Searching for cheap 'hotels' - Various star rating from budget to luxury
- 6. Searching for cheap 'flight + hotel' - Various package options & duration
- 7. Searching for cheap 'car hire' - same & different location drop off
Whilst in theory this sounds really simple the pressures of life and the time constraints we all have, often make it rather taxing to find a really good deal. However, you need not worry, we have now just launched an amazing addition to our site, it is the 'Search & Book' feature. We are one of the first blogs to have a fully integrated cross comparison search tool, so now you will be able to check the best deals for 'Packages', 'Flights', 'Hotels', 'Flight + Hotel' & 'Car Hire' with just a few clicks. Furthermore, this feature combined with all the manually searched offers we post on our blog daily, you can really have the all in one service to finding awesome deals on a budget. So, If you are looking for a city break, a luxury honeymoon, a family dayout or a deal to suit your own requirements we have it all at HolidayPirates.
Once you have clicked on the 'Search & Book' tab, the 'Packages' search tool will appear, you will have the option to search directly of this page if you would like to search for 'Flights', 'Hotels', 'Flight + Hotel' or 'Car Hire' you will also have the option to do so by by clicking on the respective tabs, this is visible in the above screenshot in the white highlighted area.
Package Holiday Search Tool
If you are searching for a package holiday you will need to click on the 'Packages' tab, which will allow you to fill in your desired travel date, departure airport/region, destination/region, duration of stay, board basis of package, minimum star rating of the accommodation you would like and the number of passengers that will be travelling.
A good tip is to be as flexible as possible to ensure you get the best deal on your package holiday. If you expand the region of your search you are more likely to get a much better discount. For example if you search for London Gatwick you will have less flight options to select from compared to London which ultimately results in you filtering out potential bargains from nearby airports.
The same applies to the destination, if you search for Mexico you will have less results compared to if you were to search for 'any destination with 5 hours of flying time'. Having more potential options when doing a basic scan is the best way to see what bargains can be found, you will have the option to refine your search once the results have been displayed.
Refine Your Results & Identify Cheap Package Deal
Once you have filled in the basic search details, the results will be displayed on the 'Packages' tool, the results will be listed in accordance to the detail you have applied. Towards the top of the page you will see a slider with the dates you can fly out and if marked with a red symbol 'Best Price' this signifies this is the cheapest deal for your search, sometimes the best deal might be a few days either side of your inputted date and you will have the option to click on the date to see what is on offer.
Slightly above the date slider you will two two tabs marked with 'Week' the left tab will let you scroll to the previous week and the right hand tab will let you scroll to the following week, if you are flexible you may find a package might be cheaper on an alternative date.
The left hand panel will allow you to customise your results further, you might want to widen your search to include, full board, half board and bed & breakfast options, you can can tick these options and the tool will search for these additional options. You might decide you would only like to search a few higher/lower rated hotels or you would like to visit a specific place, you can amend your searches here and click update, this will refine your results.
Once you have found a package which you like you can click on the 'View Details' button in green and this will show you the full details of the offer, it will have a full description of the hotel and its reviews, you will also find a photo gallery of images so you can see what the hotel looks like.
Summery Of Package & Details
Once you have found the package holiday you are interest in you will have the outline of the hotel and its facilities furthermore, you will have the option to amend your search results, if you click on the 'Change My Holiday Details' this will give you the option to see if the deal is cheaper on an alternative date. If you are happy with the hotel and package selection you can click on the 'Continue To Travel Options' button.
Search For Cheaper & Alternative Dates & Departure Airports
If you are looking for the cheapest dates to fly to a specific hotel or resort when you select the 'Change My Holiday Details' button you will see a grid view of the cheapest dates this package is available, you can toggle to see results for other months by clicking on the month tabs which is situated just below 'Select Preferred Date'. If you want to check other airports a package is flying from, on the left hand panel you can click on 'departure airport' and a drop down list of results will be shown specifically for this hotel/resort.
If you wanted to check if the specific hotel/resort can be booked with a different board option or you want to amend your travelling party size this can also be done from the grid view. This is the easiest and quickest way your desired hotel can be booked for a cheaper rate, it is often the case if the tour operator has low occupancy on a specific date they will offer a greater discount, so its always worth checking if those dates suit you.
Purchasing The Offer & Basic Summary
Once you have selected the package you would like to purchase you will see a summery of the flights and hotel, this is particularly handy because you can double check to see the package you have selected is exactly what you wanted.
Room Type & Upgrade
There is also an option to upgrade your room type, you might be wanting something a little more luxurious, or you might have decided you want to book in another room. You can click on the 'Add/Change Room' tab which will allow you to make any adjustment you may wish to make.
You will have the option to add on additional luggage if required, the majority of packages will have luggage included however, if you do require some more you can pay for it on this page. It is cheaper to add on any extra luggage allowances at the time of booking compared to doing this at the airport so its worth paying for extra if you know you will go over.
Some of the package holidays will have transfers included in the price of the package however, some providers do not include this and you will have to pay extra for this, you will have the option to do so here. It is always best to cross compare the price of the transfers with Hoppa.com as we often have exclusive discount codes which can knock off up 20%.
Seat Upgrade Option
If you are looking for an upgrade on your seat you will have the option to pay the difference for seat selection and to upgrade to a premium seat, this will be from extra legroom seats to premium cabins.
Meal Option & Special Meal Request
Some package holidays will include in-flight meals and you will have the option to select a meal to suit your specific dietary requirements (special meal request). If the package does not include meals you will have the option to pay for them on this page. This depends on the tour operator and route you are flying.
Travel Insurance Option
When booking a 'Package' holiday it is highly recommended that you book travel insurance to cover the costs of any medical treatment required, the cost that might be incurred for missed or delayed flights and lost, damaged or stolen luggage. You will be able to book travel insurance for your package on the package comparison tool. However, we generally recommend to our readers to search for a single or annual insurance policy via comparison sites as they can often be significantly cheaper.
Note 1: When booking a 'Package' via our comparison tool it will be booked via a ABTA bonded agent and you will be covered by ATOL Protection as you have booked your holiday with one supplier furthermore, you will be provided with a ATOL Certificate with your purchase. It must be noted that ATOL Protection is NOT a substitute for travel insurance. ATOL Protection will only ever cover you if the airline or hotel company ceases trading, for full comprehensive cover for your holiday you are ALWAYS required to take our private insurance regardless of who you book with.
Note 2: When travelling in Europe you can receive discounted or free medical treatment in certain European countries by applying for an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card). You need to apply for this scheme in advance of travelling and it is completely free. If you would like more information on this read our comprehensive 'Guide: How To Apply For European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)'.
Final Price Breakdown
You will see the final price of the package including any optional extras you may have selected, even if you have not selected any optional extras you should always check the final price matches the banner price when you did you search. The main reason for this is sometimes the 'Package Comparison Tool' might be displaying some data which has not updated, the final package price breakdown is a real time price up of the holiday and is the final price before purchase.
Payment Page (Final Summary)
Once you have selected all your optional extras and are ready to pay for your 'Package' holiday you will then have to fill in your personal details, this will include the travelling passengers names, email address, contact number and address. This will not require you to include any passport information nor Advance Passenger Information (API), this will need to done on the tour operators site once booked.
If you are booking a Thomson/First Choice package you will be able to obtain flexible payment options which must be cleared 12 weeks in advance of departure, if you are booking with Thomas Cook you will also receive flexible payment options however, you will need to clear your balance 14 weeks before departure. If you would like to read more about payments you can view the terms and conditions page.
You MUST read the terms and conditions of the package you are booking (this may very from deal to deal), this is the final and most critical part of booking a package holiday, it contains very useful information of the contract between you and the supplier of the deal you are booking. Additionally if there is any notes which maybe affect your travel you will find this information here.
The final stage of the booking is to input your payment details, when paying with a debit card this is no additional charges incurred however, when paying with a credit card additional charge of 1.5% will be added. You can pay with Delta, Switch/Maestro, Mastercard and Visa (American Express is not accepted). If you would like to read more about payments you can view the terms and conditions page.
Telephone Bookings & After Sales
If you find booking your 'Package' holiday complicated you can contact the customer call centre and they will be more than happy to assist you, there might be a fee incurred for telephone bookings. If you have any questions regarding a recent purchase you have made you can contact the customer service team and they will be happy to assist you with your order.
Important: The dedicated phone line is only for 'Package' holiday bookings made via the the package comparison tool, they are unable to handle any of the deals which have been posted on the blog unless they have been marked with the customer service contact badge (same as above).
Return Flight Search:
If you are searching for a return flight you will need to start by clicking on the 'Flights' tab and by default it will show you return flights (if this screen is not displayed, you can click on the 'Return' tab for it to appear). You will see the following option where you can fill in your desired departure airport, destination, number of travellers, cabin class, departure and return dates for you flights.
If you allow ± 3 days on your search it will display results in a calendar view to either 3 days before and/or after your desired travel period. This flexibility not only opens up options for a wider range of carriers and flights but also allows you to check if the flights are cheaper on a particular date around your desired travel period. You will also have the option to select your cabin class, this is always set by default to economy however, if you wish to fly in a higher cabin class you must change your fare class.
Open-Jaw Flight Search:
If you are searching for a Open-Jaw flight you will need to start by clicking on the 'Flights' tab followed by the 'Multi-City' tab, which allows you to customise individual flight segments. As Open-Jaw flights have two legs with different departure/arrival points you will now have the option to customise any given leg of your flight.
In the example above you can see the flight is departing from Oslo onto New York, the return leg of the flight is departing from New York back to London. You will also have the option to select your cabin class, this is always set by default to economy however, if you wish to fly in a higher cabin class you must change your fare class.
Open-Jaw Flight Example 1:
- Leg 1 - Oslo > New York
- Leg 2 - New York > London
Open-Jaw Flight Example 2:
- Leg 1 - London > Orlando
- Leg 2 - Miami > London
Double Open-Jaw Example:
- Leg 1 - Oslo > Orlando
- Leg 2 - Miami > London
Multi-Stop Flight Search:
If you are searching for a Multi-Stop flight you will need to start by clicking on the 'Flights' tab followed by the 'Multi-City' tab, which allows you to customise individual flight segments. As Multi-Stop flights are a combination of more than two flights you will need to input each segment individually into the search.
In the example above you can see the flight is departing from Dublin on to New York, the second segment will then depart from New York on to Las Vegas and will return back to London this is an example of a Multi-Stop Open-Jaw. if you are going to have more than three segments you will have the option of adding three more segments by clicking on 'Add another flight (up to 6)'.
You will also have the option to select your cabin class, this is always set by default to economy however, if you wish to fly in a higher cabin class you must change your fare class.
Multi-Stop Flight Example:
- London > New York
- New York > Las Vegas
- Las Vegas - London
Of course Multi-Stop flights can also be combined with Open-Jaw flights to form Multi-Stop Open-Jaw flights - this is often a great way to create very cheap trips to multiple destinations.
Multi-Stop Open-Jaw Flight Example:
- Dublin > New York
- New York > Las Vegas
- Las Vegas - London
If you are searching for hotels you will need to start by clicking on the 'Hotels' tab which will allow you to input your desired destination, arrival and departure date, number of rooms and guests. You will also have the option to add three filters to your results, with are your desired minimum star rating, price range and guest ratings, these filters will save you having to trawl through hundreds of results as the search will only display results which suit your search criteria.
Tip: Sometimes hotels are not listed with some vendors under the correct star rating, so it is always worthwhile cross checking the star rating display in a search result to TripAdvisor. Additionally if you set a 4* + filter for hotels some vendors who accidentally listed the 4* hotel under a lower category may not display correctly, so once you have identified your desired hotel it is worthwhile inputting the hotel name into the search without any star rating filters to see if you can find a cheaper vendor offering this hotel.
If you are searching for flight + hotel you will need to start by clicking on the 'Flight + Hotel' tab which will allow you to input your desired departure airport, destination, departure date, duration and number of travellers. You will also have the option to widen your search by allowing a flexibility of ± 3 day either side of your desired travel period.
This will widen the number of search results and ultimately will give you a wider range of results and cheaper prices. If you would like to apply a star rating filter for your hotels this will also be possible once your search results are displayed. On the left hand panel you will have the option to apply filters to suit your personal requirements.
Note 1: The 'Flight + Hotel' function currently allows you to search a maximum of 4 adults using this feature so if you are considering booking for a larger party you will have to opt for booking flights and hotels individually. It is possible in the coming months a wider search field will be launched allowing users to search for a larger travelling party.
Note 2: When booking a 'Flight + Hotel' you will be covered by ATOL Protection as you have made two of your bookings with one supplier - the main purpose of using this function is to benefit from low cost carriers pairing with hotels or exclusive discounts offered by OTA's (Online Ticketing Agents) for booking a 'Flight + Hotel' in one booking.
Note 3: When using the 'Flight + Hotel' comparison tool it must be noted sometimes booking a DIY package (booking flights with one vendor and hotels with another) can be significantly cheaper, so its always worth checking DIY solutions. You can check the flight prices for your desired dates and match up hotel searches to your flight selection, this can often save you hundreds of pounds. You should ALWAYS book comprehensive travel insurance which will cover you in the eventuality of something going wrong (in particular it must cover all aspects of your booking) however, this is a common practice many traveller apply daily.
If you are searching for car hire you will need to start by clicking on the 'Car Hire' tab which will allow you to input your desired collection point, collection and drop off date plus collection and drop off times. If you are considering doing a road trip and require different collection and drop off points for your car hire this will also be possible. You will need to select the 'Different drop-off' option. This car hire comparison tool is a great way to cross compare car hire brokers with booking directly with the rental company. It is often the case by booking via specialist brokers you can shave off a considerable sum of your car hire, so be sure to check which deal is giving you the best value for money.
Note: When hiring a car abroad as you can now no longer user your counterpart to prove you have no convictions on your licence you maybe required to obtain a unique code from the DVLA to verify any convictions you may have or not have on your licence. If you would like to know how to apply for the unique code and how the changes to the UK driving licence may affect you check out our our guide 'Car Hire: How will the driving licences changes affect you!'.