Culture & Lifestyle

Cutting Down On Travel Costs

Even with Skype and Facebook today’s business person still has a lot of travelling to do. Be that as it may, we have to keep our expenses down and business trips are major money guzzlers.

Here are a few ways to keep these costs down.

Social network sites: Most (perhaps all) airlines and road transport companies have a presence on Facebook or twitter, or even both. They use these platforms to market their services and promote their bonanzas; last minute discounts to fill up seats, new routes, and so on. Following them on twitter or liking their Facebook fan pages means that you would get information about their bargains on your mobile phone. That makes a big difference.

Dates: Sometimes airlines have ‘cheap days’ just like the movie cinemas. They do this to boost traffic on their usual ‘low traffic days. Scheduling your trip around these dates would cumulate to huge savings.

Go to the websites of the airlines you want to patronise, scan through the rates for the month and work your trip around the cheaper dates.

Calculate: Sometimes breaking the journey is not cheaper, so make sure that it is before you go for it. Be sure you are well aware of the fares for the connecting bus trips. Remember, bus and cab fares are affected by traffic jams; air fares are not. Sometimes a direct local flight would save you both time and money. In the same vein, it could be cheaper to take nonstop flights that opt to connect flights so take the time to calculate before you pay.

Stopovers: One major reason travellers have stopovers is to connect flights or even buses. With flights you are vulnerable to the hazards of schedule changes, due to flight delays. A delay could mean that you have to seek a hotel for the night – extra cost.

A delay could mean you have to wait around for 3 hours, so you go window shopping and you end up shopping. Most frequently, a flight delay means lunch, drinks, a magazine or even a book. You should bear in mind that the cost of these items at the airports is usually multiples of their actual cost in town.

If you must use connecting flights visit the websites of all the airlines and see how you can connect on the cheaper flights.

Keep an eye open: Airlines slash prices too, so even if you had bought your tickets before the prices were slashed you can get a refund for the difference. Many international flyers offer a refund. Sometimes road transport operators offer free tickets for regular passengers who have bought a certain number of tickets and if you kept your tickets you can claim your prize. So pay attention to the posters and promotions.

Bus travel: Making a full trip by bus is generally cheaper and the bus fares of the bigger companies are generally stable. This option might require you to begin the journey earlier. The down side of this could be that you might arrive so early that you have to check into a hotel for the night. The hotel (and feeding) bill could be so high that it surpasses the difference between the flight cost and the bus fare. Thus the purpose is defeated.

Get online help: For international travellers there are websites that would help you cut costs. Some websites help you find cheaper flights and some help you find cheaper hotel deals. An hour online could yield precious fruits for you.

Rent a crib: If you are going to be in town for a week or more, forget the hotel and rent a small apartment or rent a villa especially if you are with your team or friends. Hotels in most European cities cost approximately $200 a night for basic hotel rooms, while renting an apartment or villa could cost you as low as $1,100 weekly or less, depending on which part of town it is in. There are several rental websites with really nice offers. Simply ‘google them out’ and make enquiries.

Just a bed: where you do not want to have to cater for yourself you can stay with a resident of the area. The resident who serves as your host gets paid only a tiny fraction of what a hotel would cost you and you can eliminate the risks associated with living alone in unfamiliar territory. Your host would provide you precious information on how to get around town and give you advice for car hire services and chauffeurs. There are websites that would connect you with these hosts or locals for a percentage of the booking fee; this is usually from 6% to 12%. The arrangement usually ensures your privacy whilst giving you easy access to the facilities, like the kitchen, the garden and so on.

Code sharing: This means that you can book a flight to Paris from the United States with Delta airlines and end up with Air France because they are code partners. The destinations might be the same but the prices oftentimes differ. Sometimes the differences are quite substantial. As an illustration, have a look at these flight prices from January 2010.

These differences are negligible:

  • Newark Airport to Stockholm: SAS – $609, United – $627
  • New York to Lima: American flight – $817, LAN – $693

These differences would however get your attention:

  • New York to Singapore: Cathay Pacific – $1,319, American – $1,817.
  • New York to Marrakesh: Royal Air Maroc – $1,098, Delta – $3,257 on.
  • New York to Cairo: Egypt Air – $908, United – $4,650.

Information is key when it comes to cutting travel costs. So always keep your ears to the ground and your eyes on the internet. Remember that little expenditures add up especially if you are travelling with your team. Have a great trip.

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