Before you spend a fortune on airfares and accommodation, take a few minutes to get online and hunt for the best holiday deals.
You can save upwards of 50 per cent on your overall travel costs if you take advantage of special offers online and then haggle with your travel agent.
Plan well ahead
Last-minute holidays may be romantic in their spontaneity, but they’ll also cost you a package. Book early to take advantage of early bird fares and discounts. And ask for your concession if you’re a senior or pensioner.
Be flexible about flights
If you’re prepared to fly from other terminals and, in some cases, airports, you can get some fabulous deals. But if you’ve booked connecting flights, make sure they arrive and depart from the same airport, or that you leave enough time to get to your new departure point.
Don’t forget to factor in the time it takes to collect your baggage. Download the map of your destination airport and study it before you leave to make reaching your connecting flight/terminal less stressful.
Travel out of season
Flying mid-week is often the cheapest time. If you have a choice, travel off-season and save up to 80 per cent on your air fares.
Free kids’ entertainment
Some airlines now charge for in-flight entertainment, so pack the kids’ hand-held video games, and check websites for free puzzles, games and colouring books to keep the kids amused in the air. Websites such as (www.crayola.com )have great resources.
Check baggage rules
Watch the luggage weight limits, especially if you are flying a budget airline. They often cut fares because they charge for checked baggage weight.
Check to see if you can pre-pay your baggage and save. Alternatively, travel light and use your free carry-on allowance.
Check the internet
The internet is a great tool for finding local offers and discounts to tourists. Look up the tourist sites for where you’re travelling, as well as attractions, and check what offers they have in store for visitors.
Wotif.com is fantastic for accommodation deals, with weekend packages and even mid-week accommodation at a fraction of the regular room rate.
You can even check out what others have to say about your holiday digs by searching on www.tripadvisor.com - you’ll find reviews and ratings from people who have already stayed hotels around the world.
See more of Cath Armstrong's money saving tips at her website, www.cheapskates.com.au