Ways to cut travel expenses
Travel expenses got you down? Here are 14 ways that you or your business can cut costs without cutting corners.
1. Find the perfect location in less than three seconds
With so many options available, finding the right location for a hotel stay in a new city can be very challenging, expensive and frustrating. If you’re traveling for leisure or business then there’s a pretty amazing tool that will save you a ton of time before and during your trip.
Roomex pulls together 1.2 million business hotel options so that you don’t have to go trawling the internet. It really is that simple.
2. Book cheaper flights online
Ever heard the rumour that using incognito or private mode would cloak your presence on a flight search website and get you the best deal? Something about cookies tracking your behaviour, the flights, dates and destinations you’re tracking – we’ve all heard that one.
As it turns out, it may not be true.
A thread on Reddit by a UI designer for a large online travel agent exposed what some call “Cookiesgate.” Here’s his answer:
“Sure, you’ll “bucket” yourself into different tests by using different browsers and their incognito/private modes. But these buckets are for testing UI changes, technology optimizations, and features request by business owners to increase conversion. Not upping prices, because that would be shooting themselves in the foot if it was ever found out. And it would be, since our research suggests people search 8-10 times on different sites.”
Want to know how to really find cheap flights online? Check out skiplagged.com. They were so effective at exposing hidden city flight discounts that United Airline tried to sue them. The courts sided with skiplagged, so feel free to check it out.
The innovative search engine takes the unusual step of including a search for stopovers rather than just the final destination of flights, potentially saving you in the process.
If you’re looking for a short break or business trip and won’t be checking bags then it’s the perfect opportunity to find cheaper flights.
If you’re always pressed for time, here’s a tip for finding cheap flights quickly:
- Go to Google Flights.
- Type in the search box “Europe” or wherever you’d like to go.
- Choose the month, then the weekend.
This results in a list of places with the most affordable flight rate. The backbone of it is ITA Software. It was developed in the 1990s by a group of MIT computer scientists. The result of their work was a revolutionary airfare pricing and shopping engine called QPX. In 2011, Google acquired ITA Software and Google Flight Search was launched shortly thereafter.
Today, ITA technology continues to be used by some of the world’s most successful travel companies. It might not be as eye catching or user friendly as some other search engines, but it does what you need it to.
3. Use just one credit card for your frequent flyer miles
Nearly every credit card has a miles programme. Check out which of your credit cards has the most convenient one and only use this to book your flights. In no time you’ll have more than enough miles to fly for free. It sounds like an obvious tip, but nowadays most people use more than one card which unnecessarily spreads out their points.
4. Check for alternative airports
So you want to get from A to B? Grand, but have you ever considered C? When you’re travelling to one location always make sure to check nearby airports. It may well be the case that it makes no difference in terms of convenience, time and transport to and from your hotel. But if it does then you might just find a much cheaper flight.
5. Learn to pack like a pro
You know the weight limits and the maximum allowance of your suitcase – yet you’re still left wondering: how are you going to fit all of THAT in THERE? How do you do it without breaking any of the known laws of physics?
Onebag.com is a website dedicated to packing tips.
6. Keep your expenses organised
Stay in control and find an easy way to keep records of your expenses. You can do this using the Google Drive app on your phone and managing them manually, or you can use Expensify.
Expensify makes it easy to keep track of receipts on the go, ensuring you don’t lose out on any invoicing. Furthermore, Expensify integrates seamlessly with Roomex to make the process that much simpler.
7. Don’t get robbed at the ATM by foreign exchange rates
Here’s the thing: when you’re abroad, always choose the local currency option on any card transaction at ATMs, restaurants or wherever else you might go. That way, you can avoid the extra (~3%) foreign exchange fee. Foreign merchants generally charge a higher percentage conversion than your bank.
8. Pick up your rental car at the airport
Some car rental companies offer the option to pick up your car in the airport and it’s a lot cheaper. When booking your car, find companies offering the airport as a collection point. Here’s another tip: if you or your company are renting cars constantly then buy a portable GPS device. You’ll quickly recover the cost of investment.
9. Consider carpooling
Want to save money and help reduce traffic congestion and your carbon footprint? Try carpooling.
Uber, Lyft and other rideshare services allow you to carpool to nearly any destination you want – usually with a cheaper price tag attached to it.
10. Book travel insurance last minute
Some things need plenty of time to plan and organise. Travel insurance, on the other hand, is best left ignored until the last minute.
Many credit card companies provide travel insurance when you book the flight with their credit card. If you don’t have one of those, then sign up to a travel insurance website and provide your flight information in the process. Here’s the catch: hold off on signing up until the last week, when they offer you a discount on the cost.
11. Find personalised city guides
Find a city guide focused on your needs. For example: if you’re travelling with your children, most likely there will be a guide for travellers with family members. In case you’re travelling for business go to our blog and check out the business travellers’ guides on Roomex.com.
Written by natives of the cities in question and jam-packed with insights and city secrets on what business travellers should look for when new to a city.
12. Flight search tracker tools
There’s a wide array of flight search tracker tools – for example Google Flights – that help you find the cheapest flight. Take your time to go through all the mobile apps and websites available until you settle on the perfect one.
13. Know more beforehand
A website called thebasetrip.com is a hidden gem. Beside prices, you can find all the information you need while traveling including visa requirements, currency, electricity, communication info and more.
14. Schedule your flights wisely
We’ve all heard that the sooner you book your tickets, the better price you’ll get them. That’s just not true. Research from the Airlines Reporting Coalition found that the most affordable tickets are purchased just six week before the flight.
A report by Kayak also found that booking domestic flights six months before leaving came with a 19 percent increase over the same low fare that could be had just 21 days out.
Every airline loads fares at different times of the day, every day, so it’s hard to say if there’s one time that’s better than the other. Fares fluctuate based on the market conditions and the actual number of passengers who are booked on a specific flight. However, many airlines tend to announce sales on Monday which can push some airlines to match them on Tuesday – bear in mind that this isn’t a fact backed by statistical analysis.
Overall, a good rule of thumb is to book tickets between four and eight weeks in advance to try and get the best deals.