Nick Gholkar is a student at the University of Missouri who is pursuing a degree in accounting. When he’s not studying, Nick enjoys participating in various forms of athletics. He is particularly passionate about scuba diving, and has earned his advanced NAUI and PADI certifications. Nick has taken scuba diving trips all over the world, including to Bora Bora, Manihi, Yap, and Turks and Caicos. One day he hopes to go diving in Fiji. As an experienced traveler, Nick is offering insight into a new article that offers money-saving tips for those looking to get away during the summer.
Even a short vacation can come with a hefty price tag due to expensive hotel rooms, airfare costs, and meal costs for the duration of the vacation. American Express recently did a survey that discovered that the average individual was planning on spending $1,180 per person on a summer vacation. For a family of four, that means that a getaway might cost $4,720. These astonishing price tags are not always necessary, though.
For travelers looking to enjoy a relaxing escape on a budget, airline consolidators are often an ideal solution. Airline ticket resellers partner with major travel companies to offer tickets at reduced prices. Consolidators are wholesalers who buy in bulk. Travel agents can purchase these tickets from the consolidators, and then sell them to consumers. The deal works because consolidators are able to sell their tickets with little to no fuss, and travel agents then have access to the lowest fares. However, an eager adventurer should note that just because a travel agent is physically able to pass on the deep discounts, does not always mean that this happens.
It is possible to skip the middleman and purchase directly from a consolidator in order to ensure that the airfare is offered at the reduced rate. However, an individual should understand that the best rates are often for international travel, as well as U.S. domestic business and first class trips.
When it comes to getting the lowest rates possible, booking in advance becomes extremely important. In general, an airline will offer lower prices when the desired flight has more seats available. For budget-conscious flyers, booking arrangements at least 21 weeks prior to the date of departure is the most cost-effective strategy. After this time period, airlines tend to increase their fares slowly until the day arrives. The closer to the departure date, the higher the price for a ticket.
Travelers should also note that airlines sometimes offer discounts for last minute flights, so there is some benefit to waiting until a week before in order to book a flight. While these flights provide a bargain, using this strategy during peak flying season can be risky, and may cause complications.
Frequent traveler Nick Gholkar reflects on this advice stating, “Many individuals underestimate the importance of planning ahead when it comes to flying on a budget. For those who know that they will need to take a trip during the holiday season, booking in advance is a wise move. It may seem unnecessary, but could end up saving that person hundreds. This is especially important for an individual who doesn’t want to spend an excessive amount on airfare to get to where they need to go.”
Another lesser-known tip for people trying to book on a budget involves a computer’s web browsing history. Booking sites record a user’s web browsing data, and may actually use this information to raise prices when an individual illustrates interest in a particular flight. Clearing the web browsing history on the machine (called a cache) makes it easier to find reasonably priced flights.
Nick Gholkar notes, “Using browsing history to alter costs is not a new strategy for businesses including airlines, but many users are unaware of it and end up suffering because of this. Clearing the machine’s history is an easy way to ensure fair prices.”
Flexibility is also key when it comes to getting an affordable flight. In general, the least expensive days to fly are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday. For those who lack a strict schedule, focusing in on these days often provides the best airfare prices.
Zeroing in on airline “hubs,” where the majority of flights arrive and depart, is another way for a passenger to cut costs. British Airways uses London Heathrow Airport as a hub, while JetBlue’s hub as located at John F. Kennedy International Airport. In general, flights that go to and from these spots are cheaper, because there is a great selection of flights to choose from.
Nick Gholkar explains that having a layover on the way to a destination from a hub is often worth it since it can save a traveler a significant amount of money.
Nick Gholkar is a college student who is pursuing a degree in accounting. He hopes to work in mergers and acquisitions when his schooling is complete. Nick is passionate about sports, and has golfed since he was young. He also enjoys scuba diving, tennis, and soccer.