The vast heat of the UAE summer is fast-approaching, meaning that you’re likely planning a holiday to escape for a week or so over the next few months.
But no matter where you go, there’s no doubting that travel is an expensive business. From flight tickets and hotel rooms to spending money and rental cars, it’s all too easy to rack up a large bill when you’re on holiday.
To help prevent you from spending too much while travelling, we’ve come up with a list of travel hacks that can help you save little bits of cash here and there. Over the course of a two-week holiday, every little helps, and following some of these tips should mean that you won’t come home with an empty bank account.
We’ll start with an easy one. Booking early is a cliché, but it’s a cliché for a reason. When it comes to air travel, the earlier you book, the better. If you can, try to book your flights at least three months before your departure date (and even earlier is better) – you’ll see much more attractive fares than if you were booking, say, three weeks before your departure date.
Get a good traveller credit card
There are plenty of great credit cards that come with travel benefits, and our pick of the bunch right now is the ADCB Traveller card. It’s an elite card, requiring a minimum salary of AED 35,000 per month, but if you can afford it, it’ll offer loads of savings on travel. For example, if you use the card to pay for flight bookings on Cleartrip, you’ll get 20%, and the same saving applies if you use it to pay for bookings on Hotels.com. You can also get up to six complimentary nights at select hotels around the world, and complimentary access to partner golf courses. Plus, you’ll earn ADCB TouchPoints (which can be redeemed for rewards) on every purchase, and you get unlimited complimentary lounge access at hundreds of airports around the world.
Keep an eye on airlines’ deals pages
Both Emirates and Etihad Airways have deals pages that feature discounted fares to various destinations around the world. Keep an eye on these pages to see if a destination you want to fly to comes up – you might get lucky with a special offer.
Don’t be afraid of stopovers
Yes, we know, stopovers add an extra step to your journey that you’d rather not take. But if you’re looking to save money, it might be a hassle worth bearing. In general, if you’re prepared to take a flight that stops in another country on the way to your final destination, you’ll save big on your air fare. Flying out of the UAE, for example, Qatar Airways tends to offer lower fares than Emirates or Etihad Airways – you’ll just have to change planes in Doha. And it’s the same story with airlines like Gulf Air and Turkish Airlines. You’ll have to stop over at the airline’s home airport, but you’ll save as a result.
Take stopping over to the extreme
If you’re really fine with stopping over, you can play around with your itinerary quite a bit in order to save money. You see, some routes cost more than others, so all you need to do is get yourself to a city in which air fares are cheap, and take advantage of those prices. For example, if you want to fly from Dubai to New York direct, you’re looking at a pretty hefty air fare. But if you fly from Sri Lanka to New York (with a stopover in Dubai), your fare can be slashed by 30% to 50%. How do you take advantage of that? Well, simply book a cheap flight from Dubai to Sri Lanka with a low-cost airline like FlyDubai, and then take advantage of the lower fare from Sri Lanka to New York. It’s a little extreme, but it’s definitely a money-saver.
Use a comparison site
There are comparison sites for everything these days, but if you’re travelling, the ones you most want to look at are flight comparison sites and hotel comparison sites. Not only do they allow you to compare options and find the best price, but they often have special sales and deals that are exclusive to them. So, for example, Booking.com may have special rates on a particular hotel chain, or Cleartrip.ae may have preferential rates on certain package holidays. Keep an eye out for those rates and put these fabulous comparison sites to good use.
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