Travel Insiders - how to get more from your holiday
Ever wondered how cabin crew avoid jet lag? Or when travel agents book their flights to get the best deal?
Look no further. We've worked with a panel of travel industry experts to share their tips when it comes to getting more from your holiday.
Here are some of the secrets that the travel industry doesn’t want holidaymakers to know...
1. Booking flights: 11 is the magic number
“Flights go on sale about 11 months in advance, which is definitely the best time to buy them” says one travel consultant with 20 years of experience with companies including Thomas Cook.
“They only get more expensive nearer to the departure date and by booking early you get the choice of dates and times, so you have a lot more control and don’t get stuck with what’s left.”
2. Book a holiday on a Monday to get a better deal
“Booking a holiday on a Monday can sometimes help you get a better deal, as prices are sometimes dropped to try and entice customers who’ve had quotes at the weekend but not completed a booking” says a former travel adviser for Thomas Cook.
“When it comes to flights, Tuesday or Wednesday is usually the cheapest day for scheduled flights and as a general rule, you’ll usually get a better price on mid-week options as prices are hiked for weekends.”
3. When is a deal not a deal?
A former travel adviser at Going Places says despite the January sales, it’s not necessarily the cheapest time to book a holiday. “I’ve noticed that the prices generally go up in January, but you get a better discount off them which makes people think it’s a better time to book and get a deal, but that’s not always the case.”
One current cabin crew member for British Airways says when it comes to getting a good deal onboard a flight, it’s good to do your research beforehand: “Some things are cheaper on board, but not everything. Go online and check prices before you pay for anything on the flight. It also depends on the airport you’re flying to or flying from on how good the deal is on board.”
4. Are package holidays or travel agents worth it?
“I would always book my holidays through an agent as a package so that I have 100% financial protection and 24/7 care.” says a former Thomas Cook travel agent.
A former travel adviser for Going Places adds: “Travel agents can price match online sometimes; they give great advice and can help give personal tips to make your holiday more enjoyable.”
What about a ski holiday? A membership manager for Ski Club Great Britain says: “If you’re looking for a budget option for your ski holiday or are new to skiing, then a package holiday is often the best choice. Companies that purchase thousands of rooms and lift passes at the same time can offer you a package deal that can work out a lot cheaper than if you booked individually because they’ve bought in bulk.”
5. Don’t forget your manners
“Manners go a long way” says a former sales adviser at a bureau de change desk at Heathrow Airport, adding: “In the airport it’s not just cabin crew who can get you kicked off a flight, it’s also people who work in the shops. I’ve had many people kicked off a flight for inappropriate behaviour. I would wait until they’ve left the shop and then speak to the airline.”
One Cabin Crew member from British Airways added: “Being polite is the best way to get our attention. Pressing the call button five times just to ask for a diet coke is not an emergency and will annoy us. Just press it once and we’ll come as soon as we can.”
6. How to avoid jet lag
“Try to get on your destination time zone a few days in advance, by changing your sleeping pattern” says one cabin crew member for Virgin. “Try and enjoy your flight, lie back, get a drink and stick a movie on!”
A member of cabin crew for Air France adds: “Try not to eat too much before the flight, especially with long-haul journeys because of the pressure of the aircraft you can feel sick.”
“As a flight attendant the medical staff tell us we have to drink 1L of water for every 4 hours of flying, so I would definitely tell passengers to drink lots of water.”
7. Don’t get your travel money at the airport
“I would never get my holiday money from the airport, and I’d never tell friends or family to buy at the airport, ever” says a former sales adviser for a bureau de change desk at Heathrow Airport.
“We were told to tell the customer we were offering the best rate they would get in London. We were always told to do as much as we could do, and if we had to fudge the truth a little bit it was ‘all well’ because it came out in our commission.”
“If you order your currency online to pick up at the airport, there’s usually a minimum two hour wait. You’ll get a better deal online but it’s still better to shop around.”
There are so many different ways to book holidays now that you need to be more savvy than ever to ensure you get the best deal available.
Taking time to do the necessary research and knowing when, how and who to book through can go a long way to saving you a lot of money and helping you get more from your time away.
Order or top-up your FairFX card before your travels, wherever you're going. Lock in a great rate every time you load and manage your card on the go through our mobile app.