Planning for a trip, whether it’s a quick weekend getaway or an extended stay abroad, is one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking parts of travel. From booking flights, finding the right accommodations, and deciding which activities to do, there’s a lot of work that goes into curating the perfect vacation. With so many details to consider, we’ve compiled the top 11 pre-booking travel tips from a popular online forum.
1. Let Flights Dictate Your Travel Plans
This tip is a big one. Flights are almost always the most expensive aspect of your trip, so let the flight details be the ones that dictate your overall plan. You could save over a thousand dollars if you travel based on flight deals instead of wanting to go to a specific place at a particular time.
2. Choose a Long Layover
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If you are booking flights with a long travel time, think ten or more hours, then choose the flight with the most extended layover possible. This might seem detrimental to your plans; however, you will be happy to have the time if there is a delay with your first flight.
Bonus if you arrive in the stopover country late in the afternoon! Take the time to sleep in a hotel and get good rest. You can even explore places on your bucket list before you have to jump on your next flight to get to your final destination. Longer layovers are almost always the cheapest option, so save on money and go on a side adventure. What more could you ask for?
3. Use a Credit Card
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Almost all credit cards offer some kind of reward system. It could be cash back or airline points. If you hold onto the points, you could save hundreds of dollars using them to book your flight. In addition, many credit cards offer a free first year, bonus sign-up points, and even include travel insurance.
4. Fly on Holiday Mornings
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If you can plan around it, flying on Christmas or New Year’s in the early morning are some of the cheapest flights. No one wants to wake up early on a holiday and rush to the airport, so take advantage of the cheaper fares. If you are flying to countries that don’t celebrate the same holidays as yours, you can save even more.
This way, you still get a holiday aligned with your work break but don’t pay through the nose for it. Examples: Do Easter in China or Australia Day in New Zealand. Try to travel when your local state has public holidays because this reduces the leave you need to take.
5. Buy Discounted Flight Vouchers
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Many online marketplaces have people selling flight vouchers and credits at discounted rates. They know they will not use them, so they hope to earn a percentage back rather than letting it go to waste.
6. Check the Weather
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This travel tip might seem obvious, but it is important to always check the average weather at your destination for the time of year you are planning to travel. You don’t want to be trapped on a tropical island in monsoon season. Your trip could be ruined. Visit places where they have their best weather so that you can experience it to the fullest.
7. Skip the Middle Seat
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Book the window and the aisle if you are traveling with just one other person and hope to get a row to yourself. The middle seat between you will be one of the last to get filled, as many will try to avoid it. Swapping them for the window or aisle is usually easy if someone takes it. If not, then one of you gets the floor, and the other gets the row of seats — have a nice sleep!
8. Book the Best Seat
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The far right seat at the back center of the plane (where it decreases from four seats to three) has the most space and doesn’t cost that much extra. You can stretch your legs out, and they won’t get bumped by other travelers passing by.
9. Watch Flight Prices
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It is best to look at flight options way ahead of time to get an idea of the cost. Purchasing sites such as Kayak will tell you if it is a good time to buy or wait. The algorithm lets you know if your flights will statistically get cheaper or if they will only go up from here.
10. Don’t Bring a Checked Bag
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If you don’t need it, don’t bring it. The ideal way to travel is with a carry-on bag for several reasons. You don’t have to arrive as early at the airport, it is likely cheaper, and there is no chance your bag will be lost if you keep it with you.
11. Take Advantage of Fare Drops
As early as possible, book a flight that allows you to change the date or cancel without additional fees. Then, as you come closer to your trip, track the prices of similar flights. If you see a price drop, rebook your flight and you’ll receive a voucher for the difference. You can then use that voucher to save on future flights!
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