Air Ticket Charges
Making the most of your holiday budget
When you plan a holiday, there is a lot to think about. But whether you have an adequate budget to explore the places youd most like to see has to be one of the prime factors. When youve made your choice, its then just a case of finding out how to get the most for your money. If youre like the majority of todays holidaymakers, youll begin your search via the Internet. The advantage of the Internet is you can shop without leaving your house. The drawback is there are a plethora of travel specials available the world over. This article explores how you can narrow the range of options by finding the sort of travel deal thats right for you.
A lot of first-time international holidaymakers assume their air fare will be the most expensive factor of the holiday. This isnt always the case.
Aggressive competition on air routes to Europe, for example, has seen prices plummet to the situation where return travel, including taxes, can cost much less than a weeks accommodation in a 2-star hotel.
If youre already locked into a specific frequent flyer scheme, the choice of carrier is not an issue. If that isnt the situation, the world is your oyster. Strong competition is seeing fares tumble to extraordinarily low levels, and there are plenty of Internet travel agents plugging special air travel deals worldwide almost every day.
The time of year you wish to fly will also have a big bearing on the fee. Fly during low-peak periods and youll save hundreds of dollars off your fee.
Scout around and you may find that buying your air fare with other parts of your holiday is advantageous. Tour operators, like European coach operators, negotiate considerable volume-buying discounts with airlines and can offer unbeatable fare levels in conjunction with their tours.
Car hire specials
At first glance, it would seem that leasing a car is relatively easy. Private driving certainly offers more options than coach or rail travel, enabling you to stop when and where you like, and make sudden itinerary changes to see attractions you werent originally aware of.
Its often cheaper than holidaying by rail or air. If there are several people travelling together, it will cost less to share a car then to travel the same distance by air, rail or coach.
Some countries, such as France, offer car rental which can help to reduce your costs. Car manufacturers Renault, Citroen and Peugeot operate a tax-free leasing system which allows tourists to drive brand-new cars throughout much of Europe for as little as $30 to $40 a day, with the daily rate falling the longer you keep the car. These specials also include up to a weeks complimentary driving (more for previous customers) and inexpensive pick-up and drop-off fees.
Vehicle rental firms sometimes need to move a large number of vehicles from one end of the country to the other, especially after a period of heavy use so look out for a good buy. Seasonal movements in the US between Florida and the populous northeast states is a good example.
However there are a number of things to consider, particularly if youre a first time renter. If you have several suitcases or if you are large, you need a large car. You wont get any pleasure from your holiday if you are cramped up for hours every day.
If you are travelling in a country that drives on the opposite side of the road to your own country, this can be demanding. Road signs in foreign languages can add to the problem.
Another issue to consider is that although you might be able to hire a car in a particular country, that doesnt necessarily mean that it is safe to drive that car in all areas, for example rural regions.
The only true all-inclusive style of holiday is cruising as it includes transport, lodgings, activities and meals.
Thats not strictly true as tipping is often mandatory and not always included in the fare.
Apart from the extraordinary range of special offers being offered all the time, cruising has at least one other thing going for it. Luggage only has to be packed and unpacked once. And throughout the cruise, the room is serviced so there is no need to clean up.
Cruises are seen as a bargain buy also because oflast-minute offers. Operators would rather lose on the accommodation knowing that there is still money to be made on drinks, souvenirs and the casino.
Head to sea outside busy periods, like summer peak periods, and you could be enjoying a cruise for an incredible $100 a day, especially in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, or on trans-Atlantic relocation voyages, when changes of season force companies to move ships from Europe to the Americas, or vice versa.
Hotel and resort specials
Hotels have two main uses. They can be city or highway short-stay accommodation for business travellers and tourists moving from place to place. Or they can be resort-type establishments catering solely to longer stay holidaymakers.
Pick the wrong one, and you could ruin your trip. Youd be upset if your special deal saw you stuck in a hotel filled with boisterous convention delegates when all you wanted was a peaceful nights sleep. This is becoming more frequent as resorts are promoting midweek specials to businesses looking for seminar facilities.
These days its easy to find last minute deals online and sometimes the prices are even cheaper than buying direct from the establishment. But these sites dont take account of special deals which large hotel chains and even individual properties offer occasionally.
So when youre searching for a special deal online, it is a good idea to visit the major chains sites. Also, most touring businesses have regular hotel deals, especially one-night or two-night stopover packages right before the start of a coach tour, or at the end of a tour.
Booking a package holiday doesnt necessarily mean that it includes the whole thing, as is the case with a cruise. A package will often include transport, accommodation, some air travel and attractions. But you will almost certainly have to pay for some meals. Breakfasts are usually included, but normally only half of all dinners (or fewer) and rarely lunches.
But there are several benefits with packages including the security of touring with a group and local guides.
It removes the time-consuming need to search out and book separate components, such as accommodation and air fares. And because package tour firms get better deals, they can offer cheaper pricing than individuals can get hold of.
Well-constructed packages will include the cost of having the conciergecarry your baggage between your hotel room and your transport, as well asthe cost of necessary visas and even travel insurance.
Most will also include visiting places of interest and admission to attractions, another important benefit. Large tour groups are sometimes given quick access to popular attractions, side-stepping sometimes unbelievably long queues at major sites in Europe, in particular.
And while main meals arent always included in the package price, a knowledgeable tour escort or local guide is able to recommend good value restaurants and souvenir stores.
It was assumed some years ago that expansion of air routes and the beginning oflow cost airlineswould spell the end of train travel in many parts of the world. Quite the contrary. The sector has grown and now includes faster trips and better facilities.
For example in Europe, travelling by rail is both faster and cheaper than air travel. If you take into consideration the time to travel to and from airports and boarding time, it is quicker to travel from London to Paris by rail than by air.
Another example is that it is significantly faster to travel by the high speed TGV train from Paris to Lyon than it is by air.
Rail travel doesnt have the flexibility of motoring. But its seen as an ideal mode of transport for holidaymakers flitting between various centres, particularly for fast overnight journeys where en route sightseeing isnt a must.
Most key tourist locations offer both commuter and tourist trains, the latter in most cases including prestige businesses like South Africas Blue Train.
Affordable prices is another motivation to contemplate rail travel. Exclusive tourist tickets, like Eurail Pass, provide big year-round savings on commuter ticket prices, as well as additional seasonal savings.
This is where it is vital to know which website to trust. Travel Monitor was built to help Australians find all the current travel travel deals. The site is not connected to any travel companies so the deals are trustworthy, up to date and accurate.
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