Last year was a complete bust, to say the least — but especially when it came to travel plans. Many special occasions were interrupted due to Covid-19 — from postponed holiday plans, weddings, concerts and other major international events. But hopeful adventure seekers see the light at the end of the tunnel as coronavirus vaccination plans are underway in countries worldwide.
Regardless, while it may still be too early to expect travel to get right back to normal anytime soon, many travellers are optimistic with talk of vaccination passports and lockdown exit plans.
So if you’re planning on getting back out there this year, we’ve rounded up a list of some of the best money-saving advice and other travel tips for organising your next getaway, whenever that may be. ✈️
Booking airline tickets
If you’re feeling ready and comfortable enough to get back on a plane (and you’re doing so safely), look out for flexible deals and policies being offered by many airlines. Both low-cost and major carriers are offering vouchers should your travel dates change last-minute, or even zero cancellation fees well into late 2021 bookings.
For example, with British Airways, you have the option to change the destination, dates or even cancel fee-free for bookings until the end of August 2021. Spanish low-cost airline Vueling provides passengers with maximum flexibility by allowing them to change dates, destinations, and ticket holders for free. If you've always wanted to travel far and wide but are on a limited budget, these may be the bargains and policies to take advantage of.
If you’re looking to save a few bucks on your airline tickets this year, check out these top money travel tips below that’ll help you save when booking your next flight:
- If you have a flexible itinerary, departing on a Tuesday or Wednesday is often the cheapest in the week
- Red-eye flights usually cost much less, so look for flights departing late at night or early in the morning
- Adding a layover can drastically reduce the price of your ticket compared to flying direct, so it’s something to consider if you aren’t in a hurry – but take note of any Covid-related restrictions in the country you’re connecting through
Likewise, hotels and online travel agents are currently offering flexible booking policies in response to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, so shop around to see what’ll work best for you. For a list of places offering accommodating reservations, visit Google’s Hotel Center Help.
When booking places to stay, here are some general rules to follow to guarantee you the best experience and even save you money:
- Join hotel loyalty programs — this can save you money in the long run by getting you free hotel stays and extra perks reserved strictly for members
- Link Monese and your British Airways Executive Club account to collect Avios points when you book accommodation on sites like Booking.com, Hotels.com and more
Renting a car
If you’re still feeling uneasy about using public transport, you may want to opt for renting a car once at your travel destination instead of relying on the local metro, bus or train system. The car rental business is another sector of the tourism industry that was hit hard due to the coronavirus outbreak. Therefore, it’d be wise to compare costs at a few different sites to see which companies have slashed prices. With a bit of effort and research, you may snag yourself an excellent deal for your transport while on holiday!
Things to keep in mind when browsing for your next car rental include the following:
- Avoid super low, cheap prices with stiff cancellation policies — with the ever-changing travel restrictions, better to opt for a flexible cancellation policy even if it means paying a little more
- Steer clear of deals that only apply for small cars (i.e., impractical cars you can’t take with you if you plan on going camping, exploring rougher landscapes and terrains, beaches, etc.)
- Booking your car as part of an airplane and hotel package can save you money, so explore and test out different options before proceeding with a reservation
Travel by train
Don’t feel as put off by the idea of enjoying a scenic trip by train? Well, this is your moment because rail tours and train holidays have also drastically dropped fare prices and are offering travellers maximum flexibility. For instance, Railbookers has a new cancellation and rescheduling policy. They'll allow passengers who book through 31 March 2021 to change their travel dates or cancel their rail holiday up to 5 days before departure without incurring any change or cancellation fees.
When booking trains and railway holidays, don’t forget to check for the following which could make your getaway more cost-effective:
- Don’t pay the full price before checking for any discounts you may be eligible for (youth, student, senior, child, family, group, veteran, military members, etc.)
- Check if the train company you’re booking with offers multi-ride tickets — this will allow you to stop and explore different areas and cities and hop back on the train over a certain period
- While most railway companies allow for free baggage check and hand luggage, it’s not always the case — remember to review the baggage policy before booking, so you aren’t surprised by any extra costs later
Some general do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when booking or planning a getaway:
- Don’t travel without doing your research on your destination’s quarantine rules or Covid-19 testing requirements
- Do read the fine print and understand the terms and conditions and cancellation policies before booking
- Don’t fall for any booking scams, and make sure you’re reserving from the official website of the hotel, airline, train or rental car agency
- Do know your consumer rights and remember they may not apply if you’re travelling in a foreign country
- Don’t pay unnecessary foreign exchange or bank charges while abroad
- Do pay in the local currency or travel with your Monese card instead for better exchange rates and worldwide ATM withdrawals with fee-free allowances
For more tips, check out our Travel do’s and don’ts from Monesers on our blog.
If you’re finally fulfilling all (or at least some of) the travel plans you had to put off in 2020, please remember to do so safely. Wear a mask when travelling, wash and sanitise your hands frequently, keep a safe distance from fellow passengers and follow all the rules in place.
Bon voyage! 🧳