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Money-saving travel hacks recommended by our travel experts

Let's face it, travel isn't always cheap, especially now with the ever-increasing cost of living hitting everyone.

However, at HolidayPirates we find crazy deals day in day out. So, we know affordable, quality holidays can be found: all it takes a bit of know-how.

🧐

To help you out, we've chatted to some of our travel deal experts and compiled this list of tips and tricks to help save YOU money on your next holiday!

Published by
C. 'silver-tooth' Sharpe·26/12/2022
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Everyone loves finding a good deal, so we want to help you bag that bargain with a few simple tricks. That way you can travel like a pirate too 🏴‍☠️ ✌️

Flights

  • 🌍 Don't search for a particular place

When looking for a destination, if you haven't got a preference, you can search Skyscanner using the 'Everywhere' option to see the cheapest possible flights from your destination

Once you've filled in your departure airport, you'll get a list like the below:

  • 🧳 Luggage

Sometimes booking the cheapest airline, with no luggage, is actually more expensive than booking an airline with a slightly higher price and luggage included.

However, with cheap cheap airlines, you can get away with taking a very small backback or paying for cabin luggage, which is often the best idea for short breaks, as you can avoid the check in line for luggage and head straight to security when your plane lands.

Or, you could get creative like this passenger 😂

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  • 🚨Set price alerts

If you are gung-ho on a particular place (for us it's the Maldives 😍) then setting up a price alert for that destination can be enormously helpful in getting the best value fare. You'll get a direct email notifying you about price drops, so you don't have to constantly browse each day.

If you are set on a specific destination, airport and time period, set a price alert on many flight comparison sites. This brings the information automatically via email if the price falls and eliminates the need to manually monitor the web. In addition, you can set a travel alert in the HolidayPirates app, where you’ll be automatically notified via push message about suitable offers for your desired destination.

  • ✈️ Get to know your flight search engine

Whatever flight search engine you use, Kayak, Google Flights or Skyscanner, they all have filters and ways to refine search that can help nab those great deals. For example, on Kayak you can add the option to do vary the departure/arrival by +/- 3 days.

This can help you see the price difference around the time you are booking, and if a slightly different date is cheaper!

Google flights also has a date grid that helps you get an overview of the cheapest prices available, this is well worth checking out if you have flexibility on when you travel.

Once you've pressed this button, you can play around with the dates and see what works for you!

  • 🗓 Cheapest day to book

We've seen statistics that show Tuesday is the cheapest day to book a trip and to travel. The next cheapest is Wednesday, with the weekend the most expensive. So if you want to save a few bob, avoiding these peak times will often help you find a bargain.

  • 🙌 Have a layover holiday

If you're booking a long-haul flight, you could have a holiday in two destinations AND save money on air fare. For example, our travel expert Rachel recently found flights to Hawaii for under £600, by booking return flights to San Francisco and then return flights to Hawaii. This way you can have one week in California and one week in Hawaii - or whatever combination you feel like.

Hotel hacks

  • ➡️ Get a great deal direct

Our resident deal expert, Mad Dog Daniel, recommends messaging a hotel directly to see if they can offer a better deal than what is available online. Dan recently did this on a hotel in Santorini, and they offered him rate even better than what was advertised elsewhere - this is because the hotel may keep a greater proportion of the booking than they do if booked via a holiday website.

  • You can often find better rates for hotels on Sundays

According to our travel hacker, Unchartered Waters Danni, on hotels across the world and in the UK, you can find great deals on hotels on Sundays, with some hotels even offering special Sunday offers.

You can see below the price on Sunday is £460 substantially cheaper than any other day, especially Saturday which is £1,100!

  • 🏃‍♂️Be quick with certain travel companies like TUI

Travel deals, especially flights, can fluctuate in price very quickly, so you may see a great deal one day, and the next day it's much more expensive. Our travel expert Rachel says that with TUI in particular, prices very rarely get lower, so if you see a good deal, grab it quickly!

  • ✈️ Travel in shoulder season

Everyone wants to travel in peak summer, and pretty much every family plans their holidays in half-term and other school holidays: so naturally increased demand means higher prices. Travel in the shoulder seasons is almost always cheaper. So this may include May-June, September-October or just after Christmas - an especially good time to travel. If you can handle the cold, January is a great time for cheap city breaks, as all the Christmas crowd has disappeared.

  • 🏴‍☠️ Get email, WhatsApp or App alerts from HolidayPirates 😉

If you want to make sure you don't miss a single deal, you can subscribe to our alerts, and receive them in whatever format you prefer.

- You can subscribe to our newsletter and get deals straight to your inbox

- You can subscribe to our WhatsApp channel to get travel deal alerts

- You can download our App and get notifications on hot deals 🔥

Money hacks

  • 💸 Use a prepaid currency card like Revolut

The days of going to the humble bureau de change are surely over now? There are so many currency cards out there that give you a fantastic exchange rate when spending that beats any Post Office rate. Besides that, if you are not withdrawing cash, you can avoid any tricksy ATM charges that often catch tourists off guard.

  • 📧 Sign up to newsletters to get exclusive discounts

Seasoned travel expert Lola says signing up to newsletters with companies such as hotels.com or buyagift.com gets you discount vouchers and exclusive discount codes. The advantage of this is that you'll get to see sales offers before anyone else, and often you can join free loyalty programmes that allow you to accrue points, get free drinks or even free nights at a hotel, result!

  • 🤙 Split travel expenses with friends, without the headache

If you've just turned that group chat plan into an actual physical trip, chances are you don't want to be constantly saddled with IOUs from your friends or family. One way around this is to use Splitwise. Travel pro Agata uses this app regularly when travelling with friends to make sure expenses are evenly shared.

  • 💳 Check if you have travel insurance on your credit card

Some credit or debit cards, for example American Express, can often have travel insurance as a built-in benefit. Sometimes these additional insurance benefits even include breakdown cover, so you are protected even if you drive in another country. It's well worth checking the terms and conditions of any cards you have to see what you already have, before you book any further insurance.

  • 🚕 Check Rome2rio for the cheapest transfers airport to hotel

Travel expert Caitlin recommends Rome2rio, which is her go-to for airport to hotel transfers. The free-to-use website and app plots out all the travel options from any address worldwide. You'll get a list of the fastest and cheapest travel options, via public transport or taxi: easy peasy!

  • 🤳 Check if you still have free roaming in Europe

Post-Brexit, most networks have reintroduced roaming fees in the EU. So to avoid getting caught out, check with your network provider before you travel. If you want to avoid charges, turn off your roaming, use Wi-Fi whenever you can and download music, films, boarding passes and even sections of Google Maps before you travel. You'll also need to be careful if you are on a cruise!

More info? Check out this guide to data and mobile roaming by Money Saving Expert.

  • 🔢 Use Numbeo to help budget your trip

If you have a trip coming up and want to make sure you don't break the bank, it's always a good idea to have an approximate budget in place. Yes, we are starting to sound like your parents, but seriously, if you put away the money you'll need before you travel, the whole holiday will feel more relaxed as you know you have enough to enjoy yourself. You can check the costs of your destination in Numbeo, which calculates costs of living, so you'll get a price for meals, food, transportation and more.

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