I spend hours and days (really!) researching flights and deals. Just for fun, it actually relaxes me. As my husband says I am a “virtual” travel agency, I know quite a lot of routes, connections, airlines, websites etc.. most of them on top of my head. Sometimes I know more about the trips than the customer service people I speak to. 🙂 So over the years I have so many people asking me how I do it and to teach them what I know. This is one of the reasons why I started this blog to try and teach you. So Muslims can travel and experience Halal and cool holidays. I will share with you my secrets and the steps I follow.
Set a budget:
When you start looking for holidays set yourself a budget. Let’s say if I want a weekend away my budget will be £300-£500 depending on whether I am using Avios, the time of the year, and if I need/want to earn miles etc. If you go above your budget and you can afford to then perfect if not then you should reconsider or change your destination.
Let’s be honest if you want to book a flight during school holidays, then most likely you will not pay £20 for the flight. I am trying to find a flight to Bulgaria during Easter and I really struggle. If you book flights during non-peak times, you are in for a bargain. I sometimes move holidays to fit the availability of tickets and prices. I know many people might not have this flexibility so the earliest you book the better it is.
Look on the web:
If you earning Avios or miles or cashback then it is good to search online for deals. I usually look at 4-5 places before I make up my mind. For example I will open the Avios/ BA flights and check prices, check all the hotels I have loyalty cards with and which one has offers going at the moment. Then I will decide which to book. I always use my Amex card to pay with because I receive double points and I have insurance in case of emergency. Never just go with one quote, always get 3 quotes. When I went to Malta, Hilton rooms where costing 140Euro per night, same was for Booking.com, Travelsupermarket etc. But then Lowcostholidays had this deal on the Hilton hotel I wanted just for £200 for 4 nights. No questions about which one I picked. Also Hilton is known to give you all your status benefits and points even if you don’t book direct with them.
Think about future use:
When I look for holidays I will look at which programmes, airlines will give me more points that I can use for my next trip, this way I always keep the cost down to a minimum. In my Hilton Malta stay I received hotel points enough for a free night stay AND Avios that will take me to Berlin return on BA during Ramadan inshaAllah. Always look at how you can utilise these points to the maximum and never short sell them especially if you don’t collect many a year.
There are websites out there that let you receive cashback on things you buy online. This is a very competitive market and there are offers from all the high street retailers. You can pretty much save yourself hundreds of pounds a year just by going through them. There is nothing wrong with cashback as you all know what you get in return. Companies are happy they get customers and you get something back for your loyalty. Hotels, flights, package holidays, utilities etc .you name it is there.
These are my little secrets. My friends always wondered how I travel so much and where I find the money. Well now you know. 🙂 I almost never pay full price for any of them.